Nginx As a Forward Proxy

March 16, 2013
Tools HTTP Nginx

Everyone wants to do SaaS these days and that includes Infrastructure Monitoring software. That’s a problem when half of your servers do not have internet connectivity and you’d like it to stay that way.

Microsoft’s Routing and Remote Access Service is supposed to provide Forward Proxy functionality, but I couldn’t get it to work. I think because it wants an IP specifically for RRAS that isn’t used for normal server communication.

I’ve read about using Nginx as a Reverse Proxy and of course it’s popularity as a web server is rising quickly.

It turns out it is fairly simple to use Nginx to set up a Forward Proxy on a Windows box. I was surprised to find they offer Official Win32 binaries.

It only takes a few small changes to the default config’s server section to spin up a proxy. The usual port for an HTTP proxy is 8080. The resolver should be a DNS server that the host running Nginx can reach.

listen       8080;
server_name  localhost;

location / {
    proxy_pass http://$http_host$uri$is_args$args;

Simple to install and setup and it only consumes about 1.5MB of memory—at least under light use. This is my first time using Nginx so I have no knowledge of it’s performance or reliability on the Win32 platform.

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