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nginx module "mostly" developed in Go
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This is a work in progress. The goal is to develop a nginx plugin in Go (by making mandatory C code call Go code). This module will mimic what github made with nginx as described in this article.

location / {
  set_backend $backend;
  proxy_pass http://$backend$request_uri;


rest api

The container should be started with a defined DOMAIN environment variable. You can then access the api by using this URL api.$DOMAIN.

  • Create/Update: curl -H api.$DOMAIN/entries.json -X POST -d '{ "host": "", "backend": "localhost:3000" }'
  • Index: curl -H api.$DOMAIN/entries.json
  • Delete: curl -H api.$DOMAIN/entries/<url_encoded_host>.json

Note: you can use -H 'Host:' if you don't want to setup DNS.


nginx worker processes use the ngx_http_set_backend module every time it gets a http request in a location that has the set_bakckend directive. ngx_http_set_backend call a Go c-shared library (using dlopen and dlsym, see why in "Issues encountered"). This library asks to the backend process through a unix socket which backend to use according to the given host.

The backend process uses a key value store (boltdb) to map a host to a backend. This key value store will later be manageable through a simple API that will be served directly by nginx using the host

This implies that both nginx and the backend processes run.


  • make a release build (container as small as possible, without go curl git ..., optimized for nginx + nginx built with releases options)
  • unix socket should be accessible by the nobody user
  • logs: backend logs + nginx log on stdout / stderr so everything is handled by docker
  • REST api to add backend / delete a backend / list backend / update backend (using gorilla mux as the router)
  • start implementing the database (boltdb) that will, from a Host header, find the corresponding IP address
  • integration tests
  • github pages for errors
  • possible to set the domaine name $DOMAIN and respond to api.$DOMAIN
  • make / route document the API
  • unikernel ?


docker must be installed and running

  1. make - compile the module
  2. make test - run integration tests


Issues encountered

When calling a function from my shared library (written in Go), I sometime get locked forever on a futex during my request. To solve this I experimented a lot:

I finally found this issue on the Go github repository, that basically taught me that the Go runtime is loaded when the module is loaded by nginx and that Go library built with buildmode=c-shared should never get loaded before a fork (if the forked process intend to use the shared library). nginx workers are forked by the master process and they use the library. That was my problem. To solve it, and make the library calls work consistently I used dlfcn (dlopen, dlsym). This allow me to load dynamically the library in the workers (so after the fork). This probably has a performance impact, but I don't really care for now :)

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