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    3.2.0 • Public • Published

    Forwarder HTTP


    forwarder-http is a HTTP/HTTPS forwarder. On each request it :

    • Replies to the sender immediately with a 200 (unless you configure it otherwise)
    • Forwards the request to all configured target servers
    • Can be configured to retry requests to specific targets, on error or 5xx response

    It is meant to be simple, pluggable via Events, and totally configurable.

    It currently supports only node >=6.x.x.

    Our use case at @RadioFrance

    We built this library because we needed a tiny-footprint tool to dispatch incomming production data to different development environments. As with any distributed system, requests sometimes fail so the forwarder should retry all requests on the production env, at least.


    An example is worth a thousand words:

    const Forwarder = require('forwarder-http')
    const server = new Forwarder({
      // The servers to forward the request to
      targets: [
        'http://target-nb-1.com', // use default target configs
        {                         // Overwrite some of the default configs
          url: 'http://target-nb-2.com',
          headers: {
            'my-nb1-header': 'my-nb1-val'
          retry: {
            maxRetries: 3
      // Add a header to the request before forwarding
      targetHeaders: {'token': 'some-complicated-hash'},
      // Define the forwarder response statusCode (default: 200)
      responseStatusCode: 204

    You'll more detailed examples in the Examples directory


    The Forwarder constructor supports a few options, meant to give the user total control on how each request and response is handler:

    • https: bool. Create a HTTPS Forwarder server (Default false)
    • https: object. Options to pass to the https.createServer constructor. Required when using https.
    • timeout: int. Timeout on requests to targets. (Default: null)
    • targets: array. A list of target URLs or target objects to forward requests to. See the examples.
    • targetHeaders: object. Headers to add to the forwarded request (Default: empty).
    • targetOpts: object. Options to pass to the http/https request constructor. See the example and all the options
    • targetRetry object. Retry options for all targets, with one or more of the following properties:
      • maxRetries: int, default 0. Maximum number or retries the forwarder will perform.
      • delay: int, default 300 (ms). Time slot for exponential backoff retry intervals (cf. Wikipedia Exponential Backoff)
      • retryOnInternalError: bool, default false. Should the forwarder also retry if the targets respond with a 5xx status code ?
    • responseStatusCode: int. Status code the forward server will use when responding to requests (Default: 200)
    • responseBody: string. Body the forward server will use when responding to requests (Default: 'OK')
    • responseHeaders: object. Headers the forward server will use when responding to requests (Default: empty)

    Target configuration objects

    The forwarder options accept the targets array to contain many items in one the following forms :

    • string in the form http://somehost:12345

    • an object like:

        url: 'https://somehost:12345',
        opts: {
            key: 'mykey',
            cert: 'my cert',
            rejectUnauthorized: false
        headers: {
            someHeader: 'someVal'
        retry: {
            maxRetries: 2

    The options passed in the object will overwrite the default forwarder options.


    The forwarder-http library allows you to hook into most of the lifecycle to the forwarding process, and change all the requests and responses along the way.

    • request (incommingMessage, response): The request event from the http/https forward server. If you call response.end() in a callback, the request will not be forwarded.

    • requestContents ```(incommingMessage, payload): the body of the request, as a Buffer object.

    • response (incommingMessage, response): Called just before the forwarder responds to the client.

    • requestError (error, incommingMessage): error when handling the request in the forwarder

    • forwardRequest (options, incommingMessage): allows you to change the forwarded request before it is sent. The first argument is the options array passed on to the http.request and https.request constructors, after all the config headers and options avec been applied. If you set options.cancel = true it will cancel the forwarding of the current request to the current target. Check out the examples for ... well ... examples on this.

    • forwardResponse (request, incommingMessage, willRetry): allows you to act on individual target responses. The willRetry option indicates if a retry will be performed by the forwarder (in the case of 5xx responses).

    • forwardRequestError (error, request, willRetry): error when forwarding a request to specific targets.

    See the example on how to use the events.


    • node-http-proxy: our library started as a forked and simplified version of this library. node-http-proxy also does proxying, which we do not, also supports versions of node older that 6.0.0, which we do not. But only handles a single forward target server, which didn't solve our problem. We ended up re-writing the whole thing. Anyway, many thanks to the folks at nodejitsu for this great pice of code.


    npm i forwarder-http

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