Go secure image proxy server
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Current Release TravisCI License



Go version of Camo server.

Camo is a special type of image proxy that proxies non-secure images over SSL/TLS. This prevents mixed content warnings on secure pages.

It works in conjunction with back-end code that rewrites image URLs and signs them with an HMAC.

How it works

The general steps are as follows:

  1. A client requests a page from the web app.
  2. The original URL in the content is parsed.
  3. An HMAC signature of the url is generated.
  4. The url and hmac are encoded.
  5. The encoded url and hmac are placed into the expected format, creating the signed url.
  6. The signed url replaces the original image URL.
  7. The web app returns the content to the client.
  8. The client requets the signed url from Go-Camo.
  9. Go-Camo validates the HMAC, decodes the URL, then requests the content from the origin server and streams it to the client.
   +----------+           request            +-------------+
   |          |----------------------------->|             |
   |          |                              |             |
   |          |                              |   web-app   |
   |          | img src=https://go-camo/url  |             |
   |          |<-----------------------------|             |
   |          |                              +-------------+
   |  client  |
   |          |     https://go-camo/url      +-------------+ http://some/img
   |          |----------------------------->|             |--------------->
   |          |                              |             |
   |          |                              |   go-camo   |
   |          |           img data           |             |    img data
   |          |<-----------------------------|             |<---------------
   |          |                              +-------------+

Go-Camo supports both hex and base64 encoded urls at the same time.

encoding tradeoffs
hex longer, case insensitive, slightly faster
base64 shorter, case sensitive, slightly slower

Benchmark results with go1.8:

BenchmarkHexEncoder-2                 500000          2505 ns/op
BenchmarkB64Encoder-2                 500000          2576 ns/op
BenchmarkHexDecoder-2                 500000          2542 ns/op
BenchmarkB64Decoder-2                 500000          2687 ns/op

For examples of url generation, see the examples directory.

While Go-Camo will support proxying HTTPS images as well, for performance reasons you may choose to filter HTTPS requests out from proxying, and let the client simply fetch those as they are. The linked code examples do this.

Note that it is recommended to front Go-Camo with a CDN when possible.

Differences from Camo

  • Go-Camo supports 'Path Format' url format only. Camo's "Query String Format" is not supported.
  • Go-Camo supports "allow regex host filters".
  • Go-Camo supports client http keep-alives.
  • Go-Camo provides native SSL support.
  • Go-Camo provides native HTTP/2 support (if built using >=go1.6).
  • Go-Camo supports using more than one os thread (via GOMAXPROCS) without the need of multiple instances or additional proxying.
  • Go-Camo builds to a static binary. This makes deploying to large numbers of servers a snap.
  • Go-Camo supports both Hex and Base64 urls. Base64 urls are smaller, but case sensitive.
  • Go-Camo supports HTTP HEAD requests.
  • Go-Camo allows custom default headers to be added -- useful for things like adding HSTS headers.

Installing pre-built binaries

Download the tarball appropriate for your OS/ARCH from releases. Extract, and copy files to desired locations.


Building requires:

  • make
  • git
  • go (latest version recommended. At least version >= 1.11 for go mod support)

Additionally required, if cross compiling:


# first clone the repo
$ git clone git@github.com:cactus/go-camo
$ cd go-camo

# show make targets
$ make
Available targets:
  help                this help
  clean               clean up
  all                 build binaries and man pages
  test                run tests
  cover               run tests with cover output
  build               build all
  man                 build all man pages
  tar                 build release tarball
  cross-tar           cross compile and build release tarballs

# build all binaries (into ./bin/) and man pages (into ./man/)
# strips debug symbols by default
$ make all

# do not strip debug symbols
$ make all GOBUILD_LDFLAGS=""


$ go-camo -k "somekey"

Go-Camo does not daemonize on its own. For production usage, it is recommended to launch in a process supervisor, and drop privileges as appropriate.

Examples of supervisors include: daemontools, runit, upstart, launchd, systemd, and many more.

For the reasoning behind lack of daemonization, see daemontools/why. In addition, the code is much simpler because of it.

Running on Heroku

In order to use this on Heroku with the provided Procfile, you need to:

  1. Create an app specifying the https://github.com/kr/heroku-buildpack-go buildpack
  2. Set GOCAMO_HMAC to the key you are using

Securing an installation

go-camo will generally do what you tell it to with regard to fetching signed urls. There is some limited support for trying to prevent dns rebinding attacks.

go-camo will attempt to reject any address matching an rfc1918 network block, or a private scope ipv6 address, be it in the url or via resulting hostname resolution. Do note, however, that this does not provide protecton for a network that uses public address space (ipv4 or ipv6), or some of the more exotic ipv6 addresses.

The list of networks rejected include...

Network Description loopback ipv4 link local rfc1918 rfc1918 rfc1918
::1/128 ipv6 loopback
fe80::/10 ipv6 link local
fec0::/10 deprecated ipv6 site-local
fc00::/7 ipv6 ULA
::ffff:0:0/96 IPv4-mapped IPv6 address

More generally, it is recommended to either:

  • Run go-camo on an isolated instance (physical, vlans, firewall rules, etc).
  • Run a local resolver for go-camo that returns NXDOMAIN responses for addresses in blacklisted ranges (for example unbound's private-address functionality). This is also useful to help prevent dns rebinding in general.


Environment Vars

  • GOCAMO_HMAC - HMAC key to use.

Command line flags

$ go-camo -h
  go-camo [OPTIONS]

Application Options:
  -V, --version                Print version and exit; specify twice to show license
  -H, --header=                Extra header to return for each response. This option can
                               be used multiple times to add multiple headers
  -k, --key=                   HMAC key
      --ssl-key=               ssl private key (key.pem) path
      --ssl-cert=              ssl cert (cert.pem) path
      --allow-list=            Text file of hostname allow regexes (one per line)
      --listen=                Address:Port to bind to for HTTP (default:
      --ssl-listen=            Address:Port to bind to for HTTPS/SSL/TLS
      --max-size=              Max allowed response size (KB) (default: 5120)
      --timeout=               Upstream request timeout (default: 4s)
      --max-redirects=         Maximum number of redirects to follow (default: 3)
      --stats                  Enable Stats
      --no-log-ts              Do not add a timestamp to logging
      --no-fk                  Disable frontend http keep-alive support
      --no-bk                  Disable backend http keep-alive support
      --allow-content-video    Additionally allow 'video/*' content
  -v, --verbose                Show verbose (debug) log level output
      --server-name=           Value to use for the HTTP server field (default: go-camo)
      --expose-server-version  Include the server version in the HTTP server response

Help Options:
  -h, --help                   Show this help message

If an allow-list file is defined, that file is read and each line converted into a hostname regex. If a request does not match one of the listed host regex, then the request is denied.

If stats flag is provided, then the service will track bytes and clients served, and offer them up at an http endpoint /status via HTTP GET request.

If the HMAC key is provided on the command line, it will override (if present), an HMAC key set in the environment var.

Additional default headers (sent on every response) can also be set. The -H, --header argument may be specified many times.

The list of default headers sent are:

X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Content-Security-Policy: default-src 'none'; img-src data:; style-src 'unsafe-inline'

As an example, if you wanted to return a Strict-Transport-Security header by default, you could add this to the command line:

-H "Strict-Transport-Security:  max-age=16070400"

Additional tools

Go-Camo includes a couple of additional tools.


The url-tool utility provides a simple way to generate signed URLs from the command line.

$ url-tool -h
  url-tool [OPTIONS] <decode | encode>

Application Options:
  -k, --key=    HMAC key
  -p, --prefix= Optional url prefix used by encode output

Help Options:
  -h, --help    Show this help message

Available commands:
  decode  Decode a url and print result
  encode  Encode a url and print result

Example usage:

# hex
$ url-tool -k "test" encode -p "https://img.example.org" "http://golang.org/doc/gopher/frontpage.png"

$ url-tool -k "test" decode "https://img.example.org/0f6def1cb147b0e84f39cbddc5ea10c80253a6f3/687474703a2f2f676f6c616e672e6f72672f646f632f676f706865722f66726f6e74706167652e706e67"

# base64
$ url-tool -k "test" encode -b base64 -p "https://img.example.org" "http://golang.org/doc/gopher/frontpage.png"

$ url-tool -k "test" decode "https://img.example.org/D23vHLFHsOhPOcvdxeoQyAJTpvM/aHR0cDovL2dvbGFuZy5vcmcvZG9jL2dvcGhlci9mcm9udHBhZ2UucG5n"


The simple-server utility has moved to its own repo.

Alternative Implementations

  • MrSaints' go-camo fork - supports proxying additional content types (fonts/css).




Released under the MIT license. See LICENSE.md file for details.