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Custom Reverse Proxy

danger

Using a custom reverse proxy is an advanced configuration. The default bundled Nginx proxy (Omnibus-based deployments) and Caddy (Docker-based deployments) is suitable for the vast majority of use cases and is recommended for most users. There are important security risks if the reverse proxy is not set up correctly.

For help deploying Firezone with a custom reverse proxy, consider contacting us for support.

Introduction

Firezone comes with bundled Nginx (Omnibus-based deployments) or uses Caddy (Docker-based deployments) by default. However, in some cases you might want to deploy your own server such as when using your own load balancer.

Prerequisites

Below you will find the requirements in order to setup Firezone with a custom reverse proxy.

Firezone configuration requirements

  • Disable the bundled Nginx by setting default['firezone']['nginx']['enabled'] to false in the config file.
  • If you have any immediate proxies between your primary reverse proxy and the Firezone web app, add their IPs to default['firezone']['phoenix']['external_trusted_proxies']. Because of the way the X-Forwarded-For header works, this is needed to parse the actual client's IP address to prevent IP spoofing.
note

The external_trusted_proxies list automatically implicitly includes the following private CIDR ranges, even if they're not specified in the configuration file:

  • 127.0.0.0/8
  • 10.0.0.0/8
  • 172.16.0.0/12
  • 192.168.0.0/16
  • ::1/128
  • fc00::/7

This means any web requests originating from these IPs are automatically ignored from the X-Forwarded-For headers. If you're accessing Firezone from any IPs in this range (as seen by the Firezone web app), be sure to add them to the default['firezone']['phoenix']['clients'] configuration option instead.

Read more about the configuration options here.

Proxy requirements

  • All your proxies need to configure the X-Forwarded-For header as explained here
  • Your proxy should also set the X-Forwarded-Proto to https.
  • Your proxy (or another downstream proxy) must terminate SSL since we enforce secure cookies.
  • Firezone requires the use of WebSockets to establish realtime connections. We recommend following your proxy's specific documentation for supporting WebSockets as each proxy varies. In general, your proxy needs to be able to proxy HTTP 1.1 connections, and the Firezone web app expects the following headers to be set:
    • Connection: upgrade
    • Upgrade: websocket

Security considerations

In addition to the headers above, we recommend adding the following headers for security purposes:

  • X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
  • X-Content-Type-Options nosniff
  • Referrer-Policy no-referrer-when-downgrade
  • Content-Security-Policy: default-src 'self' ws: wss: http: https: data: blob: 'unsafe-inline'; frame-ancestors 'self';
  • Permissions-Policy: interest-cohort=()

Since the upstream Firezone web app expects plain HTTP traffic, any requests the proxy forwards is sent over HTTP and thus is not encrypted. In most cases, the reverse proxy is installed in a trusted network, and this is not an issue. But the connection between your trusted proxy and the Firezone web app spans an untrusted network (such as the Internet), you may want to leave the bundled nginx proxy enabled for SSL termination, and set up your custom reverse proxy to proxy to that instead.

Example configurations

These configurations are written to be as simple as possible. They're designed to function as a simple template which you can customize further to suit your needs.

If you have a working configuration for a different reverse proxy or a different version of an existing one we appreciate any contribution to expand the examples for the community.