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I wish to set up a new website that will be accessed by users using HTTPS. I think it is good practise to put the "real" web server in a seperate subnet, and then install an Apache Reverse Proxy in a DMZ.

My question is, where should I put the SSL cert(s)? Should I

a) Use a self-signed cert on the "real" web server, and a proper cert on the reverse proxy?

b) Use 2 real certs on both the "real" web server and the reverse proxy?

c) Don't use any cert on the "real" web server, and use a proper cert on the reverse proxy?

I'd like to use a) or c), if possible. I also don't want anyone's browser complaining of a self-signed cert.

Thanks

2 Answers 2

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have look this link ssl

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  • Thanks, but I already know how to set up a standalone SSL Apache server. What I'm asking is the layout of the infrastructure, and where to encrypt connections
    – jtnire
    Aug 3, 2010 at 15:55
  • host-to-host IPsec connection
    – Rajat
    Aug 4, 2010 at 16:35
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Typically, Web servers would go in the DMZ unless for an unusual reason they contain restricted or confidential information. Databases typically contain that data, which go in a more restricted subnet.

Often, modern DMZs are an internally reserved subnet. You would have a firewall on the edge network, which would provide NATing to that subnet. What I describe is a dual firewall configuration.

SSL certificates would be acceptable on the network segment where the Web servers live. I typically lean towards encryption whenever reasonably possible unless there's another consideration at the time. I would use a CA signed SSL certificate in all cases that you describe.

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  • So what should I do? Forego the Apache reverse proxy and just have a single Apache SSL web server in my DMZ, and put my DB server in a seperate subnet, and only allow the MYSQL port from webserver to DB server subnet?
    – jtnire
    Aug 3, 2010 at 15:54
  • I'd recommend that over your existing proposal. You could still use the reverse proxy but the main benefits would be caching and abstracting, which enables URL re-writing. Potentially load balancing depending on the proxy but I consider that outside of the reverse proxy role.
    – Warner
    Aug 3, 2010 at 16:02
  • Warner, can you please explain the benefit of placing the DB in a seperate subnet? As if the DMZ Webserver was compramised, woudn't the MYSQL credentials be available to the attacker? Thanks
    – jtnire
    Aug 3, 2010 at 16:04
  • Also, a benefit of using a reverse proxy would be so that I could install ModSecurity (WAF). My current train of though is to put reverse proxy in the DMZ, and to put the "real" webserver and DB server in a sepereate subnet. However, since this whole setup will be on Xen, I can use iptable to filter between webserver and db server, even though they are on same subnet. How does that sound?
    – jtnire
    Aug 3, 2010 at 16:11
  • Separating the db reduces the footprint, as you can substantially lessen accessibility. It is an additional step that would be necessary for a complete compromise.
    – Warner
    Aug 3, 2010 at 19:30

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