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an SSO and OAuth login solution for Nginx using the auth_request module
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Vouch Proxy

an SSO solution for Nginx using the auth_request module.

Vouch Proxy supports many OAuth login providers and can enforce authentication to...

Please do let us know when you have deployed Vouch Proxy with your preffered IdP or library so we can update the list.

If Vouch is running on the same host as the Nginx reverse proxy the response time from the /validate endpoint to Nginx should be less than 1ms


  • cp ./config/config.yml_example ./config/config.yml
  • create OAuth credentials for Vouch Proxy at google or github
    • be sure to direct the callback URL to the /auth endpoint
  • configure Nginx...

The following nginx config assumes..

  • nginx, and are running on the same server
  • you are running both domains behind https and have valid certs for both (if not, change to listen 80)
server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    root /var/www/html/;

    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/;

    # send all requests to the `/validate` endpoint for authorization
    auth_request /validate;

    location = /validate {
      # forward the /validate request to Vouch Proxy
      # be sure to pass the original host header
      proxy_set_header Host $http_host;

      # Vouch Proxy only acts on the request headers
      proxy_pass_request_body off;
      proxy_set_header Content-Length "";

      # optionally add X-Vouch-User as returned by Vouch Proxy along with the request
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_user $upstream_http_x_vouch_user;

      # optionally add X-Vouch-IdP-Claims-* custom claims you are tracking
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_claims_groups $upstream_http_x_vouch_idp_claims_groups;
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_claims_given_name $upstream_http_x_vouch_idp_claims_given_name;
      # optinally add X-Vouch-IdP-AccessToken or X-Vouch-IdP-IdToken
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_accesstoken $upstream_http_x_vouch_idp_accesstoken;
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_idtoken $upstream_http_x_vouch_idp_idtoken;

      # these return values are used by the @error401 call
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_jwt $upstream_http_x_vouch_jwt;
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_err $upstream_http_x_vouch_err;
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_failcount $upstream_http_x_vouch_failcount;

      # Vouch Proxy can run behind the same Nginx reverse proxy
      # may need to comply to "upstream" server naming
      # proxy_pass;
      # proxy_set_header Host $http_host;

    # if validate returns `401 not authorized` then forward the request to the error401block
    error_page 401 = @error401;

    location @error401 {
        # redirect to Vouch Proxy for login
        return 302$scheme://$http_host$request_uri&vouch-failcount=$auth_resp_failcount&X-Vouch-Token=$auth_resp_jwt&error=$auth_resp_err;
        # you usually *want* to redirect to Vouch running behind the same Nginx config proteced by https  
        # but to get started you can just forward the end user to the port that vouch is running on
        # return 302$scheme://$http_host$request_uri&vouch-failcount=$auth_resp_failcount&X-Vouch-Token=$auth_resp_jwt&error=$auth_resp_err;

    location / {
      # forward authorized requests to your service
      # you may need to set these variables in this block as per
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_user $upstream_http_x_vouch_user
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_claims_groups $upstream_http_x_vouch_idp_claims_groups;
      #    auth_request_set $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_claims_given_name $upstream_http_x_vouch_idp_claims_given_name;

      # set user header (usually an email)
      proxy_set_header X-Vouch-User $auth_resp_x_vouch_user;
      # optionally pass any custom claims you are tracking
      #     proxy_set_header X-Vouch-IdP-Claims-Groups $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_claims_groups;
      #     proxy_set_header X-Vouch-IdP-Claims-Given_Name $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_claims_given_name;
      # optionally pass the accesstoken or idtoken
      #     proxy_set_header X-Vouch-IdP-AccessToken $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_accesstoken;
      #     proxy_set_header X-Vouch-IdP-IdToken $auth_resp_x_vouch_idp_idtoken;

If Vouch is configured behind the same Nginx reverse proxy (perhaps so you can configure ssl) be sure to pass the Host header properly, otherwise the JWT cookie cannot be set into the domain

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/;

    location / {
      # be sure to pass the original host header
      proxy_set_header Host $http_host;

An example of using Vouch Proxy with Nginx cacheing of the proxied validation request is available in issue #76.

Running from Docker

docker run -d \
    -p 9090:9090 \
    --name vouch-proxy \
    -v ${PWD}/config:/config \
    -v ${PWD}/data:/data \

The voucher/vouch-proxy Docker image is an automated build on Docker Hub. In addition to voucher/vouch-proxy:latest which is based on scratch there is an alpine based voucher/vouch-proxy:alpine as well as versioned images as voucher/vouch-proxy:x.y.z and voucher/vouch-proxy:x.y.z_alpine.

Kubernetes Nginx Ingress

If you are using kubernetes with nginx-ingress, you can configure your ingress with the following annotations (note quoting the auth-signin annotation): "$scheme://$http_host$request_uri&vouch-failcount=$auth_resp_failcount&X-Vouch-Token=$auth_resp_jwt&error=$auth_resp_err" X-Vouch-User |
      # these return values are used by the @error401 call
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_jwt $upstream_http_x_vouch_jwt;
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_err $upstream_http_x_vouch_err;
      auth_request_set $auth_resp_failcount $upstream_http_x_vouch_failcount;

Helm Charts are maintained by halkeye and are available at /

Compiling from source and running the binary

  ./ goget
  ./ build

Troubleshooting, Support and Feature Requests

Getting the stars to align between Nginx, Vouch Proxy and your IdP can be tricky. We want to help you get up and running as quickly as possible. The most common problem is..

I'm getting an infinite redirect loop which returns me to my IdP (Google/Okta/GitHub/...)

  • first turn on vouch.testing: true and set vouch.logLevel: debug. This will slow down the loop.

  • the Host: header in the http request, the oauth.callback_url and the configured must all align so that the cookie that carries the JWT can be placed properly into the browser and then returned on each request

  • it helps to think like a cookie.

    • a cookie is set into a domain. If you have and protected by Vouch Proxy, you want the Vouch Proxy cookie to be set into
    • if you authenticate to the cookie will not be able to be seen by
    • unless you are using https, you should set false
    • cookies are available to all ports of a domain
  • please see the issues which have been closed that mention redirect

Okay, I looked at the issues and have tried some things with my configs but I still can't figure it out

  • okay, please file an issue in this manner..
  • run ./ bug_report [] which will create a redacted version of your config and logs
    • and follow the instructions at the end to redact your Nginx config
  • paste those into, and save it
  • then open a new issue in this repository
  • or visit our IRC channel #vouch on freenode

I really love Vouch Proxy! I wish it did XXXX

Thanks for the love, please open an issue describing your feature or idea before submitting a PR.

Please know that Vouch Proxy is not sponsored and is developed and supported on a volunteer basis.

Project renamed to Vouch Proxy in January 2019

In January the project was renamed to vouch/vouch-proxy from LassoProject/lasso. This is to avoid a naming conflict with another project.

Other namespaces have been changed including the docker hub repo lassoproject/lasso which has become voucher/vouch-proxy

you should change your config to the new name as of v0.4.0

Existing configs for both Nginx and Vouch Proxy (lasso) should work fine. However it would be prudent to make these minor adjustments:

in config/config.yml

  • change "lasso:" to "vouch:"

and in your Nginx config

  • change variable names "http_x_lasso_" to "http_x_vouch_"
  • change the headers "X-Lasso-" to "X-Vouch-"

The examples below have been updated accordingly

Sorry for the inconvenience but we wanted to make this change at this relatively early stage of the project.

This notice will remain in the README through June 2019

the flow of login and authentication using Google Oauth

  • Bob visits

  • the Nginx reverse proxy...

    • recieves the request for from Bob
    • uses the auth_request module configured for the /validate path
    • /validate is configured to proxy_pass requests to the authentication service at
      • if /validate returns...
        • 200 OK then SUCCESS allow Bob through
        • 401 NotAuthorized then
          • respond to Bob with a 302 redirect to
  • vouch

    • recieves the request for from Bob via Nginx proxy_pass
    • it looks for a cookie named "oursitesSSO" that contains a JWT
    • if the cookie is found, and the JWT is valid
      • returns 200 to Nginx, which will allow access (bob notices nothing)
    • if the cookie is NOT found, or the JWT is NOT valid
      • return 401 NotAuthorized to Nginx (which forwards the request on to login)
  • Bob is first forwarded briefly to

    • clears out the cookie named "oursitesSSO" if it exists
    • generates a nonce and stores it in session variable $STATE
    • stores the url from the query string in session variable $requestedURL
    • respond to Bob with a 302 redirect to Google's OAuth Login form, including the $STATE nonce
  • Bob logs into his Google account using Oauth

    • after successful login
    • Google responds to Bob with a 302 redirect to$STATE
  • Bob is forwarded to$STATE

    • if the $STATE nonce from the url matches the session variable "state"
    • make a "third leg" request of google (server to server) to exchange the OAuth code for Bob's user info including email address
    • if the email address matches the domain (it does)
      • create a user in our database with key
      • issue bob a JWT in the form of a cookie named "oursitesSSO"
      • retrieve the session variable $requestedURL and 302 redirect bob back to $requestedURL

Note that outside of some innocuos redirection, Bob only ever sees and the Google Login screen in his browser. While Vouch does interact with Bob's browser several times, it is just to set cookies, and if the 302 redirects work properly Bob will log in quickly.

Once the JWT is set, Bob will be authorized for all other sites which are configured to use from the auth_request Nginx module.

The next time Bob is forwarded to google for login, since he has already authorized the Vouch OAuth app, Google immediately forwards him back and sets the cookie and sends him on his merry way. Bob may not even notice that he logged in via Vouch.

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