Write a Reverse Proxy Server in Python: Part 2 (Server Pool)

4 minute read

In the previous post, we have coded the reverse proxy server in python. In this post, I will cover the server code for the servers in a pool waiting to process user data.

Required Modules

As usual, we need the similar modules that we required to build a reverse proxy server. I only add a new module here: hashlib. This module is used for hashing a particular data. In our setup, we will use sha1 hashing algorithm to hash user payload and return the digest back to the user via reverse proxy.

# Import required modules
import socket
import _thread
import threading
import hashlib
import json
import sys


Each server in the pool has the following functionalities

  • Connect to the Reverse Proxy by sending a particular type (type: 1) of packet
  • Receive user data (type: 2) via reverse proxy and returns processed data back to the reverse proxy server

Packet used to Connect to a Reverse Proxy

 "type": 1 // 1 is a connection setup message from a server
 "id": 999, // id of the server
 "privPolyId": 999, // privacy policy of the server
 "listenport": 999 // port on which the server is listening

User data packets

 "type": 2, // 2 is an ACK from a server to a client
 "srcid": 999, // source (server) id
 "destid": 999, // destination (client) id
 "payloadsize": 999, // payload size
 "payload": "xyz" // payload

Coding in Python

Option Set up

The following function checks for available options and receives each input arguments that will help us to run the servers. Here, we have to input four arguments

  • id $\rightarrow$ server ID
  • pp $\rightarrow$ privacy policy (indicates a particular type of service)
  • listen $\rightarrow$ listening port
  • revproc $\rightarrow$ reverse proxy port

It will give user the usage message if the user does not run the script based on our need.

def option_check():
    global args

    # all available argument options
    avail_options = ["-id", "-pp", "-listen", "-revproc"]

    # receive user given options
    options = [opt for opt in sys.argv[1:] if opt.startswith("-")]

    # receive user given arguments
    args = [arg for arg in sys.argv[1:] if not arg.startswith("-")]

    # raise error if user given option is wrong
    for i in options:
        if i not in avail_options:
            raise SystemExit(f"Usage: {sys.argv[0]} (-id & -pp & -listen & -revproc) <argument>...")

    # raise error if not all options or arguments are available
    if len(options) != 4 or len(args) != 4:
        raise SystemExit(f"Usage: {sys.argv[0]} (-id & -pp & -listen & -revproc) <argument>...")

Receiving Packets from the Reverse Proxy Server

In our setup, any message coming from the reverse proxy has to be a user packet data. After receiving the data, the server extracts the payload and generates a hash. Then creates a new type-2 packet with changed source and destination address, payload length, and new payload (hash digest). Now, it returns the packet back to the reverse proxy.

# after receiving each connection from reverse proxy/client
def on_new_client(clientsocket,addr):
    while True:

        msg = clientsocket.recv(2048)
        if not msg:
            # lock released on exit

        json_msg = json.loads(msg.decode())
        print("Received a message from client", json_msg["srcid"], "payload", json_msg["payload"])
        payload = json_msg["payload"]
        new_msg = hashlib.sha1()
        hashed_payload = new_msg.hexdigest()
        new_json_msg = {"type":"2", "srcid": str(args[0]), "destid": json_msg["srcid"],\
                        "payloadsize": len(hashed_payload), "payload": hashed_payload}
        print("Sending a message to the client", new_json_msg["destid"], "payload", new_json_msg["payload"])

Connect to the Reverse Proxy

We need a function that connects to a reverse proxy when the server script is initiated. This function binds the reverse proxy name/IP with the reverse proxy port (last argument revproc) and establishes a communication with the proxy server. The function also sends additional data so that the reverse proxy can record the server privacy policy, listening port, and ID.

# Connect to the Reverse Proxy
def connect_reverse_proxy():
    new_json_msg = {"type":"1", "id": str(args[0]), "privPolyId": str(args[1]),\
                        "listenport": str(args[2])}
    # rev_proxy_name = 'reverseproxy.ddns.net'
    rev_proxy_name = ''
    rev_proxy_port = int(args[3])

    rev_proxy_socket = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
    rev_proxy_socket.connect((rev_proxy_name, rev_proxy_port))


Main Function

Now, let’s create our main program where we follow the mandatory socket communication steps (binding host and port, listening for clients, etc.). Here, we start thread for each new socket communication.

if __name__ == "__main__":
    s = socket.socket()         # Create a socket object
    host = '' # Get local machine name
    port = int(args[2])              # Reserve a port for your service.

    print ("Server running with id", args[0])
    print ("Server serving privacy policy", args[1])
    print ("Listening on port", args[2])
    # Broadcast "Alive" status to the Reverse Proxy first
    print ("Connecting to the reverse proxy on port", args[3])

    # Binds to the port
    s.bind((host, port))     
    # Allow 10 clients to connect

    # Receive/Process each client connection in a seperate thread
    while True:
        c, addr = s.accept()     # Establish connection with client.
        # lock acquired by client
        print ('Received a message from client', addr, "payload")

The entire code is available in Github.

In the next tutorial, we will code the client-side script. Stay Tuned!

The whole tutorial series is listed here:

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