Reverse Proxy on Windows Azure using Nginx

A reverse proxy is a way to expose an internal webserver to the outside world without actually. I do a lot of web development or run test webservers which use a hostname of “localhost” or “127.0.0.1”. Sites and services using those hostnames are not accessible from other computers on the network. Sometimes, I need to run something locally but share it publicly. For example, I may need to demo or test a product on another computer. This article documents how to setup a reverse proxy on Windows Azure using Nginx.

I’m using the following for this example:

  • Azure virtual machine running Windows Server
  • Nginx for Windows (download)
  • A website running locally
    • I use the following example: http://127.0.0.1:11235

Step 1 : Open the port in Azure Portal

  • Log in to your Azure portal and select your virtual machine
  • Create a new stand-alone endpoint
    • Endpoints -> Add
  • For this example we’re not using a cluster of servers, so leave it as a stand-alone endpoint.

EndpointsAdd

  • Next, add your endpoint details
    • Name
      • Use some easy to remember name
    • Protocol
      • Leave this as TCP
    • Public Port
      • The external port you’ll connect to
        • e.g. http://<Your VM Name>.cloudapp.net:<External Port>
    • Private Port
      • For most cases, this will be same as the public port

EndpointsDetailStep 2: Setup Nginx

  • Copy the Nginx zip file to the VM (download)
  • Unzip the file
  • Go to the “conf” folder
  • Create a new file named “proxy.conf” with the following content:
      • You may or may not need line #2 from above. Some internal servers will choke if you pass the host header around.
  • Update the nginx.conf  with the following
    • server {
      listen       81;
      server_name  <You VM Name>.cloudapp.net localhost;location / {
      proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:11235/;
      include proxy.conf;
      }}

      • This instructs Nginx to listen on port 81 and serve up content from 127.0.0.1:11235

Step 3: Start and test the proxy

  • Run nginx.exe from the command-line
  • Open a browser and navigate to http:<You VM Name>.cloudapp.net:<External Port>
  • You should see your local content published but with the new hostname and port
  • Check the Nginx logs if you have any errors.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or need help.

 

 

 

 

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