Webserver farm behind Load Balancer Proxy or how to preserve incoming internet IP to local net IP Apache webservers by adding additional haproxy header with remoteip

Monday, 18th April 2022

logo-haproxy-apache-remoteip-configure-and-check-to-have-logged-real-ip-address-inside-apache-forwarded-from-load-balancer

Having a Proxy server for Load Balancing is a common solutions to assure High Availability of Web Application service behind a proxy.
You can have for example 1 Apache HTTPD webservers serving traffic Actively on one Location (i.e. one city or Country) and 3 configured in the F5 LB or haproxy to silently keep up and wait for incoming connections as an (Active Failure) Backup solution

Lets say the Webservers usually are set to have local class C IPs as 192.168.0.XXX or 10.10.10.XXX and living in isolated DMZed well firewalled LAN network and Haproxy is configured to receive traffic via a Internet IP 109.104.212.13 address and send the traffic in mode tcp via a NATTed connection (e.g. due to the network address translation the source IP of the incoming connections from Intenet clients appears as the NATTed IP 192.168.1.50.

The result is that all incoming connections from haproxy -> webservers will be logged in Webservers /var/log/apache2/access.log wrongly as incoming from source IP: 192.168.1.50, meaning all the information on the source Internet Real IP gets lost.

load-balancer-high-availailibility-haproxy-apache
 

How to pass Real (Internet) Source IPs from Haproxy "mode tcp" to Local LAN Webservers  ?
 

Usually the normal way to work around this with Apache Reverse Proxies configured is to use HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR variable in haproxy when using HTTP traffic application that is proxied (.e.g haproxy.cfg has mode http configured), you have to add to listen listener_name directive or frontend Frontend_of_proxy

option forwardfor
option http-server-close

However unfortunately, IP Header preservation with X_FORWADED_FOR  HTTP-Header is not possible when haproxy is configured to forward traffic using mode tcp.

Thus when you're forced to use mode tcp to completely pass any traffic incoming to Haproxy from itself to End side, the solution is to
 

  • Use mod_remoteip infamous module that is part of standard Apache installs both on apache2 installed from (.deb) package  or httpd rpm (on redhats / centos).

 

1. Configure Haproxies to send received connects as send-proxy traffic

 

The idea is very simple all the received requests from outside clients to Haproxy are to be send via the haproxy to the webserver in a PROXY protocol string, this is done via send-proxy

             send-proxy  – send a PROXY protocol string

Rawly my current /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg looks like this:
 

global
        log /dev/log    local0
        log /dev/log    local1 notice
        chroot /var/lib/haproxy
        user haproxy
        group haproxy
        daemon
        maxconn 99999
        nbproc          1
        nbthread 2
        cpu-map         1 0
        cpu-map         2 1


defaults
        log     global
       mode    tcp


        timeout connect 5000
        timeout connect 30s
        timeout server 10s

    timeout queue 5s
    timeout tunnel 2m
    timeout client-fin 1s
    timeout server-fin 1s

                option forwardfor

    retries                 15

 

 

frontend http-in
                mode tcp

                option tcplog
        log global

                option logasap
                option forwardfor
                bind 109.104.212.130:80
    fullconn 20000
default_backend http-websrv
backend http-websrv
        balance source
                maxconn 3000

stick match src
    stick-table type ip size 200k expire 30m
        stick on src


        server ha1server-1 192.168.0.205:80 check send-proxy weight 254 backup
        server ha1server-2 192.168.1.15:80 check send-proxy weight 255
        server ha1server-3 192.168.2.30:80 check send-proxy weight 252 backup
        server ha1server-4 192.168.1.198:80 check send-proxy weight 253 backup
                server ha1server-5 192.168.0.1:80 maxconn 3000 check send-proxy weight 251 backup

 

 

frontend https-in
                mode tcp

                option tcplog
                log global

                option logasap
                option forwardfor
        maxconn 99999
           bind 109.104.212.130:443
        default_backend https-websrv
                backend https-websrv
        balance source
                maxconn 3000
        stick on src
    stick-table type ip size 200k expire 30m


                server ha1server-1 192.168.0.205:443 maxconn 8000 check send-proxy weight 254 backup
                server ha1server-2 192.168.1.15:443 maxconn 10000 check send-proxy weight 255
        server ha1server-3 192.168.2.30:443 maxconn 8000 check send-proxy weight 252 backup
        server ha1server-4 192.168.1.198:443 maxconn 10000 check send-proxy weight 253 backup
                server ha1server-5 192.168.0.1:443 maxconn 3000 check send-proxy weight 251 backup

listen stats
    mode http
    option httplog
    option http-server-close
    maxconn 10
    stats enable
    stats show-legends
    stats refresh 5s
    stats realm Haproxy Statistics
    stats admin if TRUE

 

After preparing your haproxy.cfg and reloading haproxy in /var/log/haproxy.log you should have the Real Source IPs logged in:
 

root@webserver:~# tail -n 10 /var/log/haproxy.log
Apr 15 22:47:34 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 159.223.65.16:58735 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:34.586] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 7/7/7/7/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:34 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 20.113.133.8:56405 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:34.744] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 7/7/7/7/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:35 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 54.36.148.248:15653 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:35.057] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 7/7/7/7/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:35 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 185.191.171.35:26564 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:35.071] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 8/8/8/8/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:35 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 213.183.53.58:42984 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:35.669] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 6/6/6/6/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:35 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 159.223.65.16:54006 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:35.703] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 7/7/7/7/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:36 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 192.241.113.203:30877 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:36.651] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 4/4/4/4/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:36 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 185.191.171.9:6776 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:36.683] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 5/5/5/5/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:36 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 159.223.65.16:64310 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:36.797] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/0/+0 +0 — 6/6/6/6/0 0/0
Apr 15 22:47:36 pcfr_hware_local_ip haproxy[2914]: 185.191.171.3:23364 [15/Apr/2022:22:47:36.834] https-in https-websrv/ha1server-2 1/1/+1 +0 — 7/7/7/7/0 0/0

 

2. Enable remoteip proxy protocol on Webservers

Login to each Apache HTTPD and to enable remoteip module run:
 

# a2enmod remoteip


On Debians, the command should produce a right symlink to mods-enabled/ directory
 

# ls -al /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/*remote*
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 31 Mar 30  2021 /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/remoteip.load -> ../mods-available/remoteip.load

 

3. Modify remoteip.conf file and allow IPs of haproxies or F5s

 

Configure RemoteIPTrustedProxy for every Source IP of haproxy to allow it to send X-Forwarded-For header to Apache,

Here are few examples, from my apache working config on Debian 11.2 (Bullseye):
 

webserver:~# cat remoteip.conf
RemoteIPHeader X-Forwarded-For
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.0.1
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.0.205
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.1.15
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.0.198
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.2.33
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.2.30
RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.0.215
#RemoteIPTrustedProxy 51.89.232.41

On RedHat / Fedora other RPM based Linux distrubutions, you can do the same by including inside httpd.conf or virtualhost configuration something like:
 

<IfModule remoteip_module>
      RemoteIPHeader X-Forwarded-For
      RemoteIPInternalProxy 192.168.0.0/16
      RemoteIPTrustedProxy 192.168.0.215/32
</IfModule>


4. Enable RemoteIP Proxy Protocol in apache2.conf / httpd.conf or Virtualhost custom config
 

Modify both haproxy / haproxies config as well as enable the RemoteIP module on Apache webservers (VirtualHosts if such used) and either in <VirtualHost> block or in main http config include:

RemoteIPProxyProtocol On


5. Change default configured Apache LogFormat

In Domain Vhost or apache2.conf / httpd.conf

Default logging Format will be something like:
 

LogFormat "%h %l %u %t "%r" %>s %O "%{Referer}i" "%{User-Agent}i"" combined


or
 

LogFormat "%v:%p %h %l %u %t "%r" %>s %O "%{Referer}i" "%{User-Agent}i"" combined

 

Once you find it in /etc/apache2/apache2.conf / httpd.conf or Vhost, you have to comment out this by adding shebang infont of sentence make it look as follows:
 

LogFormat "%v:%p %a %l %u %t "%r" %>s %O "%{Referer}i" "%{User-Agent}i"" vhost_combined
LogFormat "%a %l %u %t "%r" %>s %O "%{Referer}i" "%{User-Agent}i"" combined
LogFormat "%a %l %u %t "%r" %>s %O" common
LogFormat "%{Referer}i -> %U" referer
LogFormat "%{User-agent}i" agent


The Changed LogFormat instructs Apache to log the client IP as recorded by mod_remoteip (%a) rather than hostname (%h). For a full explanation of all the options check the official HTTP Server documentation page apache_mod_config on Custom Log Formats.

and reload each Apache server.

on Debian:

# apache2ctl -k reload

On CentOS

# systemctl restart httpd


6. Check proxy protocol is properly enabled on Apaches

 

remoteip module will enable Apache to expect a proxy connect header passed to it otherwise it will respond with Bad Request, because it will detect a plain HTML request instead of Proxy Protocol CONNECT, here is the usual telnet test to fetch the index.htm page.

root@webserver:~# telnet localhost 80
Trying 127.0.0.1…
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
GET / HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 19:04:51 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.51 (Debian)
Content-Length: 312
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">
<html><head>
<title>400 Bad Request</title>
</head><body>
<h1>Bad Request</h1>
<p>Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.<br />
</p>
<hr>
<address>Apache/2.4.51 (Debian) Server at grafana.pc-freak.net Port 80</address>
</body></html>
Connection closed by foreign host.

 

root@webserver:~# telnet localhost 80
Trying 127.0.0.1…
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
HEAD / HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 19:05:07 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.51 (Debian)
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

Connection closed by foreign host.


To test it with telnet you can follow the Proxy CONNECT syntax and simulate you're connecting from a proxy server, like that:
 

root@webserver:~# telnet localhost 80
Trying 127.0.0.1…
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
CONNECT localhost:80 HTTP/1.0

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 19:13:38 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.51 (Debian)
Location: https://zabbix.pc-freak.net
Cache-Control: max-age=900
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 19:28:38 GMT
Content-Length: 310
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">
<html><head>
<title>301 Moved Permanently</title>
</head><body>
<h1>Moved Permanently</h1>
<p>The document has moved <a href="https://zabbix.pc-freak.net">here</a>.</p>
<hr>
<address>Apache/2.4.51 (Debian) Server at localhost Port 80</address>
</body></html>
Connection closed by foreign host.

You can test with curl simulating the proxy protocol CONNECT with:

root@webserver:~# curl –insecure –haproxy-protocol https://192.168.2.30

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
"http://w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<html>
<head>
<meta name="generator" content="pc-freak.net tidy">
<script src="https://ssl.google-analytics.com/urchin.js" type="text/javascript">
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
_uacct = "UA-2102595-3";
urchinTracker();
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-2102595-6");
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}
</script>

 

      –haproxy-protocol
              (HTTP) Send a HAProxy PROXY protocol v1 header at the beginning of the connection. This is used by some load balancers and reverse proxies
              to indicate the client's true IP address and port.

              This option is primarily useful when sending test requests to a service that expects this header.

              Added in 7.60.0.


7. Check apache log if remote Real Internet Source IPs are properly logged
 

root@webserver:~# tail -n 10 /var/log/apache2/access.log

213.183.53.58 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:18:59 +0300] "GET /proxy/browse.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsteamcommunity.com%2Fmarket%2Fitemordershistogram%3Fcountry HTTP/1.1" 200 12701 "https://www.pc-freak.net" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:98.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/98.0"
88.198.48.184 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:18:58 +0300] "GET /blog/iq-world-rank-country-smartest-nations/?cid=1330192 HTTP/1.1" 200 29574 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; DataForSeoBot/1.0; +https://dataforseo.com/dataforseo-bot)"
213.183.53.58 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:00 +0300] "GET /proxy/browse.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsteamcommunity.com%2Fmarket%2Fitemordershistogram%3Fcountry
HTTP/1.1" 200 9080 "https://www.pc-freak.net" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:98.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/98.0"
159.223.65.16 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:01 +0300] "POST //blog//xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.1" 200 5477 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/89.0.4389.114 Safari/537.36"
159.223.65.16 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:02 +0300] "POST //blog//xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.1" 200 5477 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/89.0.4389.114 Safari/537.36"
213.91.190.233 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:02 +0300] "POST /blog/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php HTTP/1.1" 200 1243 "https://www.pc-freak.net/blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=16754&action=edit" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:89.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/89.0"
46.10.215.119 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:02 +0300] "GET /images/saint-Paul-and-Peter-holy-icon.jpg HTTP/1.1" 200 134501 "https://www.google.com/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/100.0.4896.75 Safari/537.36 Edg/100.0.1185.39"
185.191.171.42 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:03 +0300] "GET /index.html.latest/tutorials/tutorials/penguins/vestnik/penguins/faith/vestnik/ HTTP/1.1" 200 11684 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; SemrushBot/7~bl; +http://www.semrush.com/bot.html)"

116.179.37.243 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:50 +0300] "GET /blog/wp-content/cookieconsent.min.js HTTP/1.1" 200 7625 "https://www.pc-freak.net/blog/how-to-disable-nginx-static-requests-access-log-logging/" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Baiduspider-render/2.0; +http://www.baidu.com/search/spider.html)"
116.179.37.237 – – [15/Apr/2022:22:19:50 +0300] "GET /blog/wp-content/plugins/google-analytics-dashboard-for-wp/assets/js/frontend-gtag.min.js?ver=7.5.0 HTTP/1.1" 200 8898 "https://www.pc-freak.net/blog/how-to-disable-nginx-static-requests-access-log-logging/" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Baiduspider-render/2.0; +http://www.baidu.com/search/spider.html)"

 

You see from above output remote Source IPs in green are properly logged, so haproxy Cluster is correctly forwarding connections passing on in the Haproxy generated Initial header the Real IP of its remote connect IPs.


Sum it up, What was done?


HTTP_X_FORWARD_FOR is impossible to set, when haproxy is used on mode tcp and all traffic is sent as received from TCP IPv4 / IPv6 Network stack, e.g. modifying any HTTP sent traffic inside the headers is not possible as this might break up the data.

Thus Haproxy was configured to send all its received data by sending initial proxy header with the X_FORWARDED usual Source IP data, then remoteip Apache module was used to make Apache receive and understand haproxy sent Header which contains the original Source IP via the send-proxy functionality and example was given on how to test the remoteip on Webserver is working correctly.

Finally you've seen how to check configured haproxy and webserver are able to send and receive the End Client data with the originator real source IP correctly and those Internet IP is properly logged inside both haproxy and apaches.

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