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An nginx module to resolve domain names inside upstreams and keep them up to date.
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README.md

nginx-upstream-dynamic-servers

An nginx module to resolve domain names inside upstreams and keep them up to date.

By default, servers defined in nginx upstreams are only resolved when nginx starts. This module provides an additional resolve parameter for server definitions that can be used to asynchronously resolve upstream domain names. This keeps the upstream definition up to date according to the DNS TTL of each domain names. This can be useful if you want to use upstreams for dynamic types of domain names that may frequently change IP addresses.

This module also allows nginx to start if an upstream contains a defunct domain name that no longer resolves. By default, nginx will fail to start if an upstream server contains an unresolvable domain name. With this module, nginx is still allowed to start with invalid domain names, but an error will be logged and the unresolvable domain names will be marked as down.

Installation

./configure --add-module=/path/to/nginx-upstream-dynamic-servers
make && make install

Usage

Use the server definition inside your upstreams and specify the resolve parameter.

Note: A resolver must be defined at the http level of nginx's config for resolve to work.

http {
  resolver 8.8.8.8;

  upstream example {
    server example.com resolve;
  }
}

Directives

server

Syntax: server address [parameters];
Context upstream

Defines a server for an upstream. The module adds the ability to specify a resolve parameter. When specified:

  • Domain names will be resolved on an ongoing basis and kept up to date according to the TTL of each domain name.
  • Unresolvable domain names are considered non-fatal errors (but logged). nginx is allowed to startup if a domain name can't be resolved, but the server is marked as down.

The following parameters can be used (see nginx's server documentation for details):

weight=number
max_fails=number
fail_timeout=time
backup
down
resolve

Compatibility

Tested with nginx 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9.

Alternatives

  • proxy_pass + resolver: If you only need to proxy to 1 domain and don't need the additional capabilities of upstreams, nginx's proxy_pass can perform resolving at run-time.
  • ngx_upstream_jdomain: An nginx module that asyncronously resolves domain names. The primary differences between jdomain and this module is that this module keeps domain names up to date even if no server traffic is being generated (jdomain requires traffic to each upstream in order to keep it up to date). This module also allows nginx to startup if unresolvable domain names are given.
  • tengine's dynamic_resolve: If you're using tengine (an nginx fork), there's a new feature (currently unreleased) to support resolving domain names in upstreams at run-time.
  • NGINX Plus

License

nginx-upstream-dynamic-servers is open sourced under the MIT license.

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