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Secure sessions with Node.js, Express.js, and NginX as an SSL Proxy
Secure sessions are easy, but not very well documented.
Here's a recipe for secure sessions in Node.js when NginX is used as an SSL proxy:
The desired configuration for using NginX as an SSL proxy is to offload SSL processing
and to put a hardened web server in front of your Node.js application, like:
[NODE.JS APP] <- HTTP -> [NginX] <- HTTPS -> [PUBLIC INTERNET] <-> [CLIENT]
Edit for express 4.X and >: Express no longer uses Connect as its middleware framework, it implements its own now.
To do this, here's what you need to do:
// 1. In your main App, setup up sessions:
app.enable('trust proxy');
app.use(express.bodyParser());
app.use(express.cookieParser());
app.use(express.session({
secret: 'Super Secret Password',
proxy: true,
key: 'session.sid',
cookie: {secure: true},
//NEVER use in-memory store for production - I'm using mongoose/mongodb here
store: new sessionStore()
}));
# 2. Configure nginx to do SSL and forward all the required headers that COnnect needs to do secure sessions:
server {
listen 443;
server_name localhost;
ssl on;
ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/nodeapp.crt;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/nodeapp.key;
ssl_session_timeout 5m;
ssl_protocols SSLv2 SSLv3 TLSv1;
ssl_ciphers HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
location / {
# THESE ARE IMPORTANT
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
# This is what tells Connect that your session can be considered secure,
# even though the protocol node.js sees is only HTTP:
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
proxy_set_header X-NginX-Proxy true;
proxy_read_timeout 5m;
proxy_connect_timeout 5m;
proxy_pass http://nodeserver;
proxy_redirect off;
}
}
@chinmay185
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chinmay185 commented Dec 11, 2014

You're a life saver!

@th3o6a1d
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th3o6a1d commented Apr 14, 2015

This just made my day!

@winduptoy
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winduptoy commented May 13, 2015

👍

@tiblu
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tiblu commented Jun 3, 2015

Thanks for sharing!

@twogood
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twogood commented Feb 23, 2016

Thanks a bunch! I had everything correct except proxy_redirect off; (I had proxy_redirect default) and that didn't work for my Google OAuth2 login!

@tsabolov
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tsabolov commented Mar 29, 2016

Thank you for this recipe! In my case proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme; was absent.

@stlyz3
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stlyz3 commented May 3, 2016

An absolute godsend! Thanks very much!

@albacoretuna
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albacoretuna commented Jul 31, 2016

I was bitten by lack of this as well: proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;

@ralphv
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ralphv commented Dec 2, 2016

for AWS elastic load balancer offloading the SSL, I had to change the $scheme to explicitly say 'https', because even at the nginx level, the scheme was still http.

@swapnil001
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swapnil001 commented Jan 15, 2017

I have followed the same above method still getting "failed: Error during WebSocket handshake: Unexpected response code: 301". Also using socket io redis for multi processors. Any idea how to fix this issue?

@darksiderlm18
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darksiderlm18 commented May 18, 2017

Hi Guys!

Good morning/evening/night for all.

First, thank you, you have assisted to me to make a correct configuration to attend https request. But seeing this, me a small doubt arises, where is the nginx-ssl.conf configuration file?

Thx for all!

@mouradhamoud
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mouradhamoud commented Jul 24, 2017

Thanks!!

@pawelrychlik
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pawelrychlik commented Aug 26, 2017

Thanks a million! 🙏

@tonyamos
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tonyamos commented Sep 30, 2017

Let me add another THANK YOU!!

@labmorales
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labmorales commented Jan 30, 2018

👍 Thanks!

@robba86
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robba86 commented Feb 1, 2018

Awesome, thanks!

@anandve
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anandve commented Sep 25, 2018

Thanks!

@jay915
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jay915 commented Nov 6, 2018

Thanks

@tsq
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tsq commented Apr 23, 2019

Thanks! from 2019

@sbadri2001
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sbadri2001 commented Aug 9, 2020

This worked like a charm, after two days of fruitless research. Thanks a lot.

@Ujoy7851
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Ujoy7851 commented Sep 2, 2020

Thanks! 🙏

@nonsensetwice
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nonsensetwice commented Sep 18, 2020

This gist was written 7 years ago, and this solution is STILL not well-documented, nor is it easy to find. I went as far as reading two books on Nginx, thinking I was simply misunderstanding how the damn thing worked, both of which still did not provide me with the right information. I even went to the extent of setting up my app directly with HTTPS, which defeated much of the benefit in using Nginx as a reverse proxy. After implementing this solution, I was able to set my app back to HTTP.

All of that to say THANK YOU. Thank you a million times over.

@frames75
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frames75 commented Oct 7, 2020

Wooow! Two days looking for this configuration. Thank you very much!

@sim-17
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sim-17 commented Oct 12, 2020

you are simply the best!

@tichel
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tichel commented Feb 5, 2021

It 's indeed not well documentated. In my first Nginx-set up I had no idea. For me the 'app.enable('trust proxy');' was the life-changer. Thank you for sharing!

@ThiagoWenemy
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ThiagoWenemy commented Jun 15, 2022

Hello, I came from 2022 to thank you and say that if you happen to spend a weekend in Brazil, in the region of São Paulo, send me an email and I will take you to the best steakhouse in the region as a thank you

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