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Simple HTTP Reverse Proxy with ASP.NET and IIS

, 22 May 2004
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Learn how easy it is to create HTTP Reverse Proxy in .NET using IIS.


Sample Image - reverse-proxy.png

A reverse proxy is the same as a proxy except instead of delivering pages for internal users, it delivers them for external users. It can be used to take some load off web servers and provide an additional layer of protection. If you have a content server that has sensitive information that must remain secure, you can set up a proxy outside the firewall as a stand-in for your content server. When outside clients try to access the content server, they are sent to the proxy server instead. The real content resides on your content server, safely inside the firewall. The proxy server resides outside the firewall, and appears to the client to be the content server.

Where to use?

If you have an intranet with IP filtered security, you can offer the functionality of external consultation. You must just add the authentication system of your choice.


This reverse proxy can run in two modes:

  • Mode 0: all web sites can be requested by clients with an URL like http://RevrseProxyURL/http//
  • Mode 1: only one web site can be requested. When the user requests the web application address, the proxy returns the content of this web site.

You can setup this mode in the web configuration file of you web application:

    <!-- PROXY Mode
  0 : all web site can be requested by a client with 
      an url like <A href="http://reverseproxyurl/http//">http://ReverseProxyURL/http//</A>
  1 : Only on web site can be resuested by clients, \
      In this case Web Application uses RemoteWebSite variable 
      to deliver the content of the web site.
   <add key="ProxyMode" value="1" />
   <add key="RemoteWebSite" value="<A href=""></A>" />

The code

Create an HttpHandler to intercept all requests:

using System;
using System.Configuration;
using System.Web;
using System.Net;
using System.Text;
using System.IO; 
namespace ReverseProxy
  /// <summary>
  /// Handler that intercept Client's request and deliver the web site
  /// </summary>

  public class ReverseProxy: IHttpHandler
    /// <summary>
    /// Method calls when client request the server
    /// </summary>
    /// &;lt;param name="context">HTTP context for client</param>

    public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)
      //read values from configuration 
      fileint proxyMode = 
      string remoteWebSite = 
      string remoteUrl;
      if (proxyMode==0)
        remoteUrl= ParseURL(context.Request.Url.AbsoluteUri);
      //all site 
      //only one site accepted
      //create the web request to get the remote stream
      HttpWebRequest request = 
      //TODO : you can add your own credentials system
      //request.Credentials = CredentialCache.DefaultCredentials;
      HttpWebResponse response;
        response = (HttpWebResponse)request.GetResponse ();
      catch(System.Net.WebException we)
        //remote url not found, send 404 to client 
        context.Response.StatusCode = 404;
        context.Response.StatusDescription = "Not Found";
        context.Response.Write("<h2>Page not found</h2>");
      Stream receiveStream = response.GetResponseStream();

      if ((response.ContentType.ToLower().IndexOf("html")>=0) 
        //this response is HTML Content, so we must parse it
        StreamReader readStream = 
          new StreamReader (receiveStream, Encoding.Default);
        Uri test = new Uri(remoteUrl);
        string content;
        if (proxyMode==0)
          content= ParseHtmlResponse(readStream.ReadToEnd(), 
          content= ParseHtmlResponse(readStream.ReadToEnd(),
        //write the updated HTML to the client
        //close streamsreadStream.Close();
        //the response is not HTML 
        Contentbyte[] buff = new byte[1024];
        int bytes = 0;
        while( ( bytes = receiveStream.Read( buff, 0, 1024 ) ) > 0 )
          //Write the stream directly to the client 
          context.Response.OutputStream.Write (buff, 0, bytes );
        //close streams

    /// <summary>
    /// Get the remote URL to call
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="url">URL get by client</param>
    /// <returns>Remote URL to return to the client</returns>

    public string ParseURL(string url)
      if (url.IndexOf("http/")>=0)
        string externalUrl=url.Substring(url.IndexOf("http/"));
        return externalUrl.Replace("http/","http://") ;
        return url;

    /// <summary>
    /// Parse HTML response for update links and images sources
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="html">HTML response</param>
    /// <param name="appPath">Path of application for replacement</param>
    /// <returns>HTML updated</returns>
    public string ParseHtmlResponse(string html,string appPath)
      return html;
    /// Specifies whether this instance is reusable by other Http requests
    public bool IsReusable
        return true;

Configure the handler in web.config

You must add these lines in web.config file to redirect all user queries to the HTTPHandler:

   <add verb="*" path="*" type="ReverseProxy.ReverseProxy, ReverseProxy" />

Configure IIS

If you want to process a request with any file extension, then you need to change IIS to pass all requests through to the ASP.NET ISAPI extension. Add the HEAD, GET and POST verbs to all files with .* file extension and map those to the ASP.NET ISAPI extension - aspnet_isapi.dll (in your .NET framework directory). The complete range of mappings, includes the new .* mapping.


Now, you can develop your own security system, based on form, Windows or passport authentication.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Vincent Brossier
Web Developer
France France
Vincent Brossier is a software engineer from Paris, FRANCE, specializing in .Net.
Vincent is in charge of development of the Parisian university's Intranet, I take part in a nationnal project of numerical campus.
His role is to seek best technicals solutions to satisfy the 35000 users of this Intranet. Specialized in the development of distributed applications, vincent work primarily with technologies microsoft .NET (C#, ASP.NET, Webservices, SQLServer) even if he have also work with java technologies (Peer-to-peer sharing documents tool).
Vincent have also set up Open-Source solutions such as SPIP in nursery schools.
When he's not programming, he enjoys playing Guitar.

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Comments and Discussions

Questionimage path doesnt work Pin
nolovelust5-Apr-07 11:45
membernolovelust5-Apr-07 11:45 
AnswerRe: image path doesnt work Pin
MySuperName11-Jan-09 22:51
memberMySuperName11-Jan-09 22:51 
GeneralBisuits Pin
safari7501223-Mar-07 5:52
membersafari7501223-Mar-07 5:52 
GeneralHTTPS support Pin
Deason21-Nov-06 19:11
memberDeason21-Nov-06 19:11 
GeneralReverse proxy apache and IIS Pin
harinath28-Oct-06 3:29
memberharinath28-Oct-06 3:29 
General401 error Pin
mredlon14-Sep-06 3:18
membermredlon14-Sep-06 3:18 
GeneralReverse proxy with .css and .aspx files. Pin
yashchawhan3-Aug-06 20:40
memberyashchawhan3-Aug-06 20:40 
GeneralRe: Reverse proxy with .css and .aspx files. Pin
MunirS30-Aug-09 2:39
memberMunirS30-Aug-09 2:39 
Did anyone manage to answer this?

I guess my answer would be to make sure that the css files + js files are pointing to the correct location and to a location that is accessible from the client. Therefore url mapping on the response content maybe necessary. Please anyone?
Thanks for an execllent article!

Those who try and those who fry!

GeneralRe: Reverse proxy with .css and .aspx files. Pin
Stimphy21-Dec-09 16:06
memberStimphy21-Dec-09 16:06 
QuestionReverse Proxy Pin
yashchawhan24-Jul-06 3:45
memberyashchawhan24-Jul-06 3:45 
GeneralTrailing slash Pin
eggsovereasy17-Apr-06 4:49
membereggsovereasy17-Apr-06 4:49 
GeneralRe: Trailing slash Pin
Ritchie Carroll13-Jun-06 11:11
memberRitchie Carroll13-Jun-06 11:11 
AnswerRe: Trailing slash Pin
UL-Tomten16-Jan-08 8:54
memberUL-Tomten16-Jan-08 8:54 
Generaljavascript and postback Pin
tomanyquestions20-Mar-06 0:30
membertomanyquestions20-Mar-06 0:30 
GeneralCaching images Pin
pratz1722-Feb-06 20:03
memberpratz1722-Feb-06 20:03 
Question..what about conversion to VS 2005?? Pin
nikolair16-Nov-05 5:27
membernikolair16-Nov-05 5:27 
GeneralPass values from .aspx page to remote URL that contains an asp page Pin
Anonymous18-Oct-05 21:10
sussAnonymous18-Oct-05 21:10 
GeneralW2k3 / IIS 6 Pin
David Llamas15-Jul-05 18:44
memberDavid Llamas15-Jul-05 18:44 
AnswerRe: W2k3 / IIS 6 Pin
tarak4v9-Sep-07 23:10
membertarak4v9-Sep-07 23:10 
GeneralAccess Denied... Pin
Ritchie Carroll28-Jun-05 5:03
memberRitchie Carroll28-Jun-05 5:03 
GeneralRe: Access Denied... Pin
Ritchie Carroll29-Jun-05 11:59
memberRitchie Carroll29-Jun-05 11:59 
GeneralUnit Testing ReverseProxy Pin
btakita25-May-05 12:49
memberbtakita25-May-05 12:49 
GeneralCant see images Pin
pratz1728-Apr-05 4:08
memberpratz1728-Apr-05 4:08 
GeneralRe: Cant see images Pin
Ritchie Carroll28-Jun-05 4:57
memberRitchie Carroll28-Jun-05 4:57 
JokeRe: Cant see images Pin
UL-Tomten16-Jan-08 8:56
memberUL-Tomten16-Jan-08 8:56 

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