Configuring Apache Reverse Proxy Using the AJP Protocol

Atlassian applications allow the use of reverse-proxies within our products, however Atlassian Support does not provide assistance for configuring them. Consequently, Atlassian can not guarantee providing any support for them.

If assistance with configuration is required, please raise a question on Atlassian Answers.

This page describes how to integrate Apache HTTP Server (also referred to as httpd) with JIRA, utilizing mod_proxy_ajp so that Apache operates as a reverse-proxy. AJP is a wire protocol and is an optimized version of the HTTP protocol to allow a standalone web server such as Apache to talk to Tomcat.

This protocol can be used in favor of HTTP/1.1 as in either of the following Apache configurations:

On this page:

Step 1: Configure Tomcat

  1. Stop JIRA.
  2. Enable the AJP Connector on the Tomcat container hosting JIRA by uncommenting the following element in $JIRA_INSTALL/conf/server.xml:

    <Connector port="8009" URIEncoding="UTF-8" enableLookups="false" protocol="AJP/1.3" />
  3. Start JIRA.
  4. Test that JIRA is accessible on the standard HTTP connector, for example http://jiraserver:8080. This is to ensure that Tomcat has successfully restarted.

Step 2: Configure Apache HTTP Server

The installation of Apache and configuration of a DNS is not covered in this documentation. Additionally, it is assumed that Apache 2.2 has been installed and DNS entries have been configured for the JIRA domain. As Apache's configuration is specific to the operation system that is used, only some distributions and their configurations are currently documented.

2.1 Enable the Proxy Modules

Debian/Ubuntu
  Expand to see Debian/Ubuntu instructions
  1. Enable the module with the following:

    $ sudo a2enmod proxy_ajp
    Considering dependency proxy for proxy_ajp:
    Module proxy already enabled
    Enabling module proxy_ajp.
    To activate the new configuration, you need to run:
      service apache2 restart
  2. Restart Apache.
Windows/Other OS
  Expand to see Windows/Other OS instructions
  1. Locate and edit the httpd.conf file, adding the below lines:

    LoadModule proxy_module modules/mod_proxy.so
    LoadModule proxy_ajp_module modules/mod_proxy_ajp.so
  2. Restart Apache.

2.2. Configure Apache to use those Modules

Debian/Ubuntu
  Expand to see Debian/Ubuntu instructions
  1. Switch into user root.
  2. Backup the existing site or create a new one. Creating a new site is not covered within this documentation (copying the default should be sufficient).
  3. Modify the existing site within $APACHE_INSTALL/sites-available, for example default (HTTP) or default-ssl (HTTPS).
  4. Add the following inside the VirtualHost, replacing jiraserver with the hostname of the JIRA server and also modifying the port if required.

    # JIRA AJP Proxy Configuration:
    <Proxy *>
            Order deny,allow
            Allow from all
    </Proxy>
    
    ProxyRequests           Off
    ProxyPass               /       ajp://jiraserver:8009/
    ProxyPassReverse        /       ajp://jiraserver:8009/

    (info) Missing a forward slash at the end of the URL will cause proxy errors - ensure this is in place!

  5. (Optional): Enable the site with the following:

    # a2ensite jira
    Enabling site jira.
    To activate the new configuration, you need to run:
      service apache2 reload

    (info) This is only required if a new site has been created in favor of using the default.

  6. If using HTTP, skip to step 8. For HTTPS, the certificates need to be installed by copying the certificate and private key to the appropriate directories and the following will also need to be added to the site:

    SSLProxyEngine          On
  7. Include them in the Apache configuration, within the VirtualHost as below:

    SSLCertificateFile    /etc/ssl/certs/jira.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/jira.key
  8. Reload the Apache configuration.
  9. Test by accessing JIRA through Apache, for example http://jira.com or http://atlassian.com/jira.
Windows/Other OS
  Expand to see Windows/Other OS instructions
  1. Locate and edit the httpd.conf file.
  2. Add the following inside the VirtualHost, replacing jiraserver with the hostname of the JIRA server and also modifying the port if required.

    # JIRA AJP Proxy Configuration:
    <Proxy *>
            Order deny,allow
            Allow from all
    </Proxy>
    
    ProxyRequests           Off
    ProxyPass               /       ajp://jiraserver:8009/
    ProxyPassReverse        /       ajp://jiraserver:8009/

    (info) Missing a forward slash at the end of the URL will cause proxy errors - ensure this is in place!

  3. If using HTTP, skip to step 5. For HTTPS, the certificates need to be installed by copying the certificate and private key to the appropriate directories and the following will also need to be added to the site:

    SSLProxyEngine          On
  4. Include them in the Apache configuration, within the VirtualHost as below:

    SSLCertificateFile    /etc/ssl/certs/jira.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/jira.key
  5. Restart Apache.
  6. Test by accessing JIRA through Apache, for example http://jira.com or http://atlassian.com/jira.

2.3 Redirect HTTP to HTTPS

This is an optional step and is only required if using HTTPS. It can be done by using mod_rewrite (this module may require enabling), add the following to the HTTP VirtualHost:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

Step 3: Configure JIRA

  1. Set Use gzip compression to OFF as in Configuring JIRA options. GZIP compression is known to cause performance issues using a reverse-proxy, especially if the proxy is also compressing the traffic.
  2. Set the Base URL to be the FQDN that JIRA will be accessed on, for example http://jira.atlassian.com. This is also located in Configuring JIRA options.
    (warning) JIRA can only be configured to respond to a single URL and the Base URL (as in Configuring JIRA options) must match the URL end-users are accessing. Misconfiguration of this may cause significant problems within JIRA such as the Activity Stream and Dashboard Gadgets failing to function correctly.
  3. Test by accessing JIRA on the FQDN (e.g.: http://jira.atlassian.com), ensuring that JIRA is accessible and all dashboard gadgets correctly display.

Troubleshooting

  • Hijacked Sessions: Some users have reported problems with user sessions being hijacked when the mod_cache module is enabled. If these problems are encountered, try disabling the mod_cache module. 
    (info) This module is enabled by default in some Apache HTTP Server version 2 distributions.
  • Permission Denied Errors enabling mod_proxy (and mod_jk) on Linux distros that use SELinux: Users have reported 'permission denied' errors when trying to get mod_proxy (and mod_jk) working. Disabling SELinux (/etc/selinux/config) apparently fixes this.
  • Running Mac OS X: Disable webperfcache, which proxies port 80 by default. A user reported this as the likely cause of JIRA session problems, in the form of users' identities becoming mixed up, as below.
    (warning) Additionally we do not recommend using Max OS X as it is not supported, as in our Supported platforms.

The OSX Servers enable webperfcache by default for Virtual Hosts, which for static content would be great, but for dynamic instances (which ALL of ours are) it is Evil and causes many issues. 
Of note recently was the jira session issue. Also see :-
http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man8/webperfcache.8.html
Unfortunately even if you disable webperfcache for a instance, if there is a single instance enabled then all instances will still proxy through webperfcache with resulting session problems.

  • Too many redirects: Both Tomcat & Apache are redirecting, when only one should be. Disable redirection in Tomcat (revert any changes as in Running JIRA over SSL or HTTPS) and check that there is only one redirection in Apache.
  • General Problems:
    1. Clear the browser cache and try again.
    2. Ensure that JIRA works as expected when running directly from Tomcat and bypassing Apache. For example, accessing http://jiraserver:8080 instead of http://jira.atlassian.com.
    3. Increase the LogLevel for Apache to debug and restart it.
    4. Attempt to access JIRA and check the Apache Log Files for any errors.
    5. Raise a question on Atlassian Answers for assistance.
  • 403 Forbidden error: 
    • Add the RequestHeader unset Authorization line to the apache configuration page to disable authorization headers.

      <Location /jira>
        RequestHeader unset Authorization
        ProxyPreserveHost On
        ProxyPass http://jiraserver/jira
        ProxyPassReverse http://jiraserver/jira
      </Location>

See also

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