I'm trying to setup a reverse proxy in lighttpd, such that all requests (and only those requests) under /mobile/video is redirected to the / directory of a secondary web server. This is pretty easy in apache, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to do so in lighttpd.

$HTTP["url"] =~ "^/wsmobile/video/" {
       url.rewrite-once = ( "^/wsmobile/video/(.+)" => "/$1" )
       proxy.server = ( "" => ( ( "host" =>  "", "port" => 9091 ) ) )

I've tried using the http["url"] directive, but lighttpd simply ignore those requests and continue to pass the full url to the secondary server, which of course chokes and throws 404s. However, if I do a global rewrite then everything gets forwarded to the secondary server, which is also not what I want.

How do I go about this task?


url rewrites won't work in $HTTP["url"]. However, you should be able to rewrite it globally in this manner:

url.rewrite-once = ( "^/wsmobile/video/(.*)" => "/test/" )

and then catch it with:

$HTTP["url"] =~ "^/test/" {

   # do proxy here



Please see here: Lighttpd bug #164. Specifically, proxy-core.rewrite-request should be what you're looking for.

  • I could do that, but the proxy server accepts only urls without any directories, and I cannot rewrite everything to /<something> because then everything gets redirected to the proxy server. – futureelite7 Apr 26 '10 at 9:49
  • OK, now it's more clear. I've updated the answer a bit. – Karol J. Piczak Apr 26 '10 at 10:23
  • I did read about mod_proxy_core. However it seems to work only with lighttpd 1.5, which is still in pre-release status after 3 years with no updates. Should I go and download 1.5 prerelease and give it a shot? – futureelite7 Apr 27 '10 at 8:50
  • It probably depends on how badly you need this kind of functionality, and how much production stable your setup needs to be. I'm using 1.4.26, so I can't tell you how it behaves. And now thinking, maybe the best way out of this would be to rewrite this part on the proxy (secondary) server itself? If that's feasible. – Karol J. Piczak Apr 27 '10 at 10:54
  • And another thought - if you really need this kind of functionality without touching the second server, you can add another layer in the backend. Make a second instance of lighttpd listening on localhost (first server) and proxy your desired urls through this middle proxy, which rewrites everything for the destination proxy. I know it's not elegant (and may be too bloated), but I don't think you can achieve your goal with lighttpd 1.4.x. Rewrites take place before mod_proxy, and the request is handled from the beginning, so you can't really discern it later on. – Karol J. Piczak Apr 27 '10 at 11:15

This can be done with proxy.header since lighttpd v 1.4.46. See:


Example for above would be:

$HTTP["url"] =~ "^/wsmobile/video/" {
proxy.header = ("map-urlpath" => ( "/wsmobile/video" => "/" ))
proxy.server = ( "" => ( ( "host" =>  "", "port" => 9091 ) ) )

One thing I have found though is if you post something on the proxied server (say"), that doesn't get translated properly back to the proxy as it throws a 404 because it's looking for a http://$PROXY/post-a-link not on the server with port 9091.

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