HTTP -> HTTPS Redirection

Most modern websites that force HTTPS will also automatically redirect any requests that come into it over HTTP.

Client                    Ambassador
|                             |
| http://<hostname>/api       |
| --------------------------> |
| 301: https://<hostname>/api |
| <-------------------------- |
| https://<hostname>/api      |
| --------------------------> |
|                             |

Ambassador exposes configuration for this in two ways:

  • Redirecting based off the incoming port
  • Redirecting based off the incoming protocol (via the x-forwarded-proto header)

Typically, port-based redirection is the preferred method since it is simpler to manage and will work with all use cases. Redirecting based off the x-forwarded-proto header requires an L7 load-balancer or proxy in front of Ambassador to set that header.

Port-based Redirection

Port-based redirection opens up Ambassador to listen on a defined port and issue a 301 redirect to HTTPS for all traffic that comes in on that port.

In the example at the top of the page;

  • The client sends a standard http request (port 80) to Ambassador.
  • The request hits Ambassador's redirect listener and Ambassador returns a 301 redirect to https.
  • The client resends the request as a standard https request (port 443) to Ambassador.

To configure Ambassador to handle this behavior you need to create a tls Module that sets redirect_cleartext_from: <http_port>.

  1. Create a TLSContext to handle TLS termination

    apiVersion: ambassador/v1
    kind: TLSContext
    name: tls
    hosts: ["*"]
    secret: ambassador-cert
  2. Configure a TLS Module to create the redirect listener in Ambassador on Ambassadors http port. By default, this is port 8080

    apiVersion: ambassador/v1
    kind: Module
    name: tls
        redirect_cleartext_from: 8080
  3. Verify the port assignments on the Ambassador service are correct.

    The below service definition uses the default http and https port assignments

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Service
      name: ambassador
      - name: http
        port: 80
        targetPort: 8080
      - name: https
        port: 443
        targetPort: 8443
        service: ambassador


As shown above, Ambassador performs this http -> https redirection by issuing a 301 redirect to https://<hostname>/. The <hostname> represents the domain name/IP address and port of the incoming request. This means if a port is defined on an incoming request, it will be redirected to https on that port. Because of this, cleartext redirection is not supported when using non-default http and https ports.

Protocol-based Redirection

Ambassador can perform HTTP -> HTTPS redirection based off the protocol of the incoming request. This is done by checking the x-forwarded-proto header that can be set by an L7 load balancer or proxy sitting in front of Ambassador.

While port-based redirection is preferred for most use cases, using the x-forwarded-proto header to redirect to HTTPS is useful when the front load balancer or proxy is terminating TLS.

Protocol-based redirection is configured in the Ambassador Module:

apiVersion: ambassador/v1
kind: Module
name: ambassador
  use_remote_address: false
  x_forwarded_proto_redirect: true

Note: Ambassador will need to be restarted for this configuration to take affect.

See the AWS documentation an example of protocol-based redirection with TLS termination happening at the load balancer.