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Reverse proxy

A reverse proxy (proxy) is a server that sits between the end-user requesting information from a site and the VIP application serving the content. VIP only recommends using a proxy if application or policy requirements make one necessary.

There are technical requirements and considerations to take into account before beginning the process of setting up a reverse proxy.

A system administrator on the customer’s side should be involved early on, and the settings for a proxy should be tested on a child environment prior to a site launch. A sufficient amount of time—typically at least two weeks—should be allocated for thorough testing.

Considerations

  • Some reverse proxy configurations can restrict VIP’s ability to provide support and troubleshooting when needed. Documenting the details of a reverse proxy architecture and configuration in the /docs directory can help VIP Support to respond and help more quickly.
  • Depending on the reverse proxy configuration, some VIP Platform security features may no longer work as expected for sites with reverse proxies in front of them.
  • If the use case of the reverse proxy is to add further caching and CDN capabilities to a site, consider using the VIP CDN exclusively as it already provides these features.

Caching and content delivery networks (CDNs)

If a proxy is performing a caching function, or a CDN other than VIP’s is being used, consideration will need to be made to coordinate cache purges on the proxy when caches are purged on the VIP Platform edge. VIP recommends that reverse proxy purges have low TTLs to avoid creating a cache juggling situation where the reverse proxy’s cache clears before VIP’s and re-caches the older content.

How a reverse proxy works

The most common use case for a reverse proxy is to enable more than one application to be served from the same domain. For example, if a non-WordPress application is served at example.com on a non-VIP host, and there is a need for a blog powered by WordPress, that blog application can be hosted on VIP and a reverse proxy can forward example.com/blog/ traffic to the VIP application.

  1. A request comes to https://www.example.com for the path /blog/2019/hello-world/.
  2. The proxy server forwards the request to the VIP application’s convenience domain, along with the host header and request URI from the end-user’s browser. This sets the host header to https://www.example.com and request URI to /blog/2019/hello-world/.
  3. The VIP application returns the post as https://www.example.com/blog/2019/hello-world/.
  4. The user’s browser displays the VIP-powered content as https://www.example.com/blog/2019/hello-world/.

Last updated: October 27, 2022