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From "David P. Caldwell" <>
Subject Re: Can Tomcat act as an HTTPS proxy?
Date Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:21:49 GMT

Good questions, I'll try to clarify.

1. The backend server serves files via HTTPS. (I control this, and may
switch it to HTTP; see below.)

2. The proxy server has an HTTPS connector like this (but under my
initial solution I wasn't thinking I should use it).

var _https = new;
var hport = (p.https.port) ? p.https.port : getOpenPort();
_https.setAttribute("keyAlias", "tomcat");
_https.setAttribute("keystorePass", "inonit");
_https.setAttribute("keystoreFile", file.toString());
_https.setAttribute("clientAuth", "false");
_https.setAttribute("sslProtocol", "TLS");
_https.setAttribute("SSLEnabled", "true");

I can connect to this HTTPS connector with my client (as long as I
disable the various SSL security checks, given that this is a
self-signed certficate).

3. The proxy server also has an HTTP connector, the one that is the
default when using the embedded API. It changes the port number on it
to an open ephemeral port, changes the base directory to a temporary
directory, adds a context and configures servlets and so forth (it's
part of a framework, so it's generalized; in the case I'm working on,
it's adding a single servlet that basically forwards requests to the

4. The purpose of all this rigamarole is mocking. The production
third-party environment uses HTTPS, and I do not control it. I've
built a fine HTTP mock of the production environment. But as you can
imagine, when developing my production code (clients that use the
production server), a bunch of parameterization creeps in. Basically
"protocol" gets passed all over the place, lots of configuration files
get pre-processed, and so forth, so that the code works in the mocked
HTTP-only environment as well as in real life. I'd like to get rid of
some or all of that parameterization, to simplify my production code,
so I decided to see whether I could build an HTTPS mock of the
environment. The purpose of the middle proxy server is essentially to
remove the need to also parameterize server names and stuff. (The
client code requests real production URLs, but because they are
proxied through the middle tier, the middle tier can forward the
requests to the mock server.)

So I think what I want to do is have that middle tier's HTTP connector
pass HTTPS requests from the client through to the backend HTTPS

For what it's worth, with some additional research, it looks like
what's happening is that the various mechanisms I am attempting to use
to "proxy" (tunnel) these requests are using a CONNECT request to
Tomcat, which is returning a 400. I think. I haven't been able to
catch it in the act.

However, for my situation, explaining it to you suggests a different
solution -- since I have my Tomcat "middle" server with an HTTPS
connector, and that is working, I am also going to experiment with
using HTTPS to communicate with the middle, and then switch the back
end to HTTP. I'm not sure that'll help (because I'm not sure how I can
implement the "direct all HTTPS requests to this host/port" without
the Java client attempting to establish a tunnel) but I'll explore it.

-- David.

On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 11:42 AM, Christopher Schultz
<> wrote:
> Hash: SHA256
> David,
> On 1/19/17 10:38 AM, David P. Caldwell wrote:
>> I'm trying to forward HTTPS requests through a Tomcat HTTP (or
>> HTTPS) server to a backend HTTPS server.
>> The requests are initiated by a Java HTTP client
>> (
>> So I have:
>> backend HTTPS server (which works) Tomcat server running HTTP and
>> HTTPS connectors Java HTTPUrlConnection, using Tomcat HTTP
>> connector as a proxy
>> The Java client can successfully:
>> * use the backend HTTPS server directly * use the Tomcat HTTP
>> connector * use the Tomcat HTTPS connector
>> For my scenario, I think using the HTTP connector to proxy is
>> correct, though I've also tried using the HTTPS connector.
>> I'm not an expert on SSL or HTTPS. The HTTPS connector doesn't
>> work, but my understanding is that using it doesn't make sense; the
>> trust relationship is end-to-end, so you'd use ordinary HTTP to
>> proxy in between. It ends up with an unexpected EOF from server or
>> something.
>> Assuming the HTTP connector is the right one to use, here's my
>> problem: Tomcat returns a 400 Bad Request when I attempt to request
>> an https: URL via an ordinary HTTP request to the HTTP connector.
>> Conceptually, it seems like this ought to be fine, to me, but as I
>> said, my understanding of the concepts is a bit murky, so I might
>> be wrong.
>> Am I on the right track? If so, is there something configurable
>> that will allow those requests to be forwarded rather than
>> rejected?
> So you've got this?
> client -- HTTP --> Tomcat proxy -- HTTPS --> backend server
> ?
> Or this?
> client -- HTTPS --> Tomcat proxy -- HTTP --> backend server
> ?
> Please post as much of your configuration (<Connector>, proxy) as you ca
> n.
> Also, what is the purpose of the HTTPS wherever it is being used? It
> is for privacy or for authentication (or both)?
> - -chris
> Comment: GPGTools -
> Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird -
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> EPPtfY44QI4Jq3SwTLCr
> =938w
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