How to use vhosts alongside node-http-proxy?


I'm running Nodejs and Apache alongside each other.

node-http-proxy is listening on port 80 and then forwarding requests to either Apache(:9000) or to Express(:8000).

My virtual hosts on Apache look like:

    DocumentRoot "/localhost/myVhost"
    ServerName myVhost

My question is, what is the "correct" way to have vhost like functionality on the Express/Nodejs side? I would prefer to not have to place each Nodejs app on its own port as is suggested here: (Section titled "Proxy requests using a 'Hostname Only' ProxyTable")

I noticed Connect (which as I understand it, gets bundled in Express) has some vhosts functionality. Should I be using that? If so, what would be the correct way to run it alongside node-http-proxy?

I also noticed this other module called "Cluster", it seems to be related but I'm not sure how:

While not wanting to overwhelm, I also came across one called, "Haibu" it seems to be related but I'm not sure if it would just be an all out replacement for using vhosts:

Note: I'm a front-end guy, so I'm not very familiar with a lot of server terminology

Problem courtesy of: uglymunky


I never figured out Haibu or Cluster. But I did find a good solution that addressed my issue. To my surprise, it was actually quite simple. However, I don't know much about servers, so while this works, it may not be optimal.

I set up virtual hosts like normal on Apache (

I installed the following on Node

  • Express (
  • node-http-proxy (

Then, as a matter of personal style, I placed all my virtual hosts in a common directory (/localhost)

I then switched Apache to listen on a port other than port 80. I just happened to choose port 9000 because I had seen that used somewhere. (In httpd.conf, changed "Listen 80" to "Listen 9000"). I also had to make sure that all my virtual hosts, as defined in extra/httpd-vhosts.conf were set to an IP based nameVirtualHost ( instead of using a port (*:80).

On the Node side, I created my app/server (aka node virtual host) that listened on port 8000 (somewhat arbitrarily choice of port number) See this link on creating a server with express:

In my /localhost directory I then created a file called "nodeHttpProxy.js"

Using node-http-proxy, in nodeHttpProxy.js I then created a proxy server that listens on port 80. Using express, which wraps connect ( I created my virtual hosts.

The nodeHttpProxy.js file looks like this:

// Module dependancies
var httpProxy = require('/usr/local/lib/node_modules/http-proxy/lib/node-http-proxy')
, express = require('/usr/local/lib/node_modules/express/lib/express');

// Http proxy-server
httpProxy.createServer(function (req, res, proxy) {

    // Array of node host names
    var nodeVhosts = [
        , 'vhost2'
    , host = req.header('host')
    , port = nodeVhosts.indexOf(host) > -1
        ? 8000
        : 9000;

    // Now proxy the request
    proxy.proxyRequest(req, res, {
        host: host
        , port: port

// Vhosts server
.use(express.vhost('vhost1', require('./vhost1/app')))
.use(express.vhost('vhost2', require('./vhost2/app')))

As you can see, I will have to do two things each time I create a new Node virtual host:

  1. add the virtual host name to my "nodeVhosts" array
  2. define a new express virtual host using the .set method

Of course, I will also have to create the actual host path/files in my /localhost directory.

Once all this is done I just need to run nodeHttpProxy.js:

node nodeHttpProxy.js

You might get some weird "EACCESS" error, in which case, just run as sudo.

It will listen on port 80, and if the host matches one of the names in the nodeVhosts array it will forward the request to that host on port 8000, otherwise it will forward the the request onto that host on port 9000.

Solution courtesy of: uglymunky


I took some inspiration from @uglymunky and wrote a chef script to do this on Ubuntu.

With this script you can install express and apache with vhost support on a single server using 1 line after you pull down my chef project from github

If you have git installed and you pull it down you can kick it off like so ...

sudo ./ configuration.json

This does require Ubuntu 12.04 or greater as I took advantage of an upstart script to start node when you reboot the machine

When the script is finished you will have a working ubuntu web server with express to run any node apps you configured, along side apache to run any wsgi apps you configured

Discussion courtesy of: Toran Billups

I'm working on an extremely minimal and to the point library that can be totally segregated from your projects. Basically the idea would be run this independently on your servers and don't ever worry about having to bundle this in your projects how you would with connect.

Take a look at the config.json file to see how simple it actually is to setup.

I was looking for this and I did find a few things but they didn't support everything I needed which specifically is HTTPS, WS and WSS!

Right now the library I wrote only works for HTTP. But in the next few days I hope to have it finished and working for HTTPS, WS and WSS as well.

Discussion courtesy of: sgarbesi

I've been giving this some thought lately as I'm tackling the same problems on my personal test environment. You are not going to be able to get around having each node application running on it's own port, but you can abstract away the pain of that process. Here is what I am using now, but I hope to build an npm package around this to simplify things in the future.

Each of my node.js applications has a map file that contains the port that the application is listening on as well as a map that indicates the expected path which the application is being served on. The contents of the file look like this:

{"path": "", "port": 3001}

When I start my application, it will read the port from the map.json file and listen on the specified port.

var map = fs.readFileSync('map.json', 'ascii');

Then in my proxy setup, I iterate over each of my node.js application directories, and check for a map.json file which indicates port 80 traffic should be proxied to this application.

I use almost the exact same method to setup the proxy for our apache hosted applications as well. We use a folder based convention on the PHP websites that we are serving and it uses the following configuration:

VirtualDocumentRoot /var/www/%-2.0.%-1/%-3+/
VirtualScriptAlias /var/www/%-2.0.%-1/%-3+/cgi-bin/

This essentially allows us to map domains to folders using the following structure. = /var/www/

There is no additional configuration needed to add or remove sites. This is very close to what I am currently using to proxy both apache and node sites. I am able to add new node and new apache sites without modifying this proxy application.


var fs = require('fs');
var httpProxy = require('http-proxy');

var proxyTable = [];

// Map apache proxies
fs.readdirSync('/var/www/').forEach(function(domain) {
    fs.readdirSync('/var/www/' + domain).forEach(function(path) {
        var fqd = domain + '/' + path;
        var port = fs.readFileSync('port', 'ascii');
        proxyTable[fqd] = fqd + ':' + 8080;

// Map node proxies
fs.readdirSync('/var/www-node/').forEach(function(domain) {
        var map = fs.readFileSync('map.json', 'ascii');
        proxyTable.[map.path] = '' + map.port;

var options = {
    router: proxyTable

var proxyServer = httpProxy.createServer(options);

In the future, I will probably decouple the path from the port that the application is listening on, but this configuration allows me to build the proxy map automatically with very little work. Hopefully this helps.

Discussion courtesy of: Timothy Strimple

This recipe can be found in it's original form on Stack Over Flow.