HTTP -> HTTPS Redirection

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

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

Ambassador Edge Stack 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 of the x-forwarded-proto header requires an L7 load-balancer or proxy in front of Ambassador Edge Stack to set that header.

Port-based Redirection

Port-based redirection opens up Ambassador Edge Stack 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 Edge Stack.
  • The request hits Ambassador Edge Stack's redirect listener and Ambassador Edge Stack returns a 301 redirect to https.
  • The client resends the request as a standard https request (port 443) to Ambassador Edge Stack.

To configure Ambassador Edge Stack to handle this behavior you need set redirect_cleartext_from: <http_port> in a TLSContext:

  1. Create a TLSContext to handle TLS termination, and tell it to enforce redirection. This example shows redirecting traffic to Ambassador's default cleartext service port, 8080:

    kind: TLSContext
    name: tls
    hosts: ["*"]
    secret: ambassador-cert
    redirect_cleartext_from: 8080
  2. Verify that the port assignments on the Ambassador Edge Stack 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


  • The ability to redirect_cleartext_from was added to the TLSContext in Ambassador 0.84.0. Earlier versions of Ambassador need to use a tls Module for cleartext redirection.

  • As shown above, Ambassador Edge Stack 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.

  • If you use multiple TLSContexts, it doesn't matter which TLSContext sets redirect_cleartext_from. However, it is an error to attempt to set redirect_cleartext_from on multiple distinct ports in multiple distinct TLSContexts.

Protocol-based Redirection

Ambassador Edge Stack can perform HTTP -> HTTPS redirection based on 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 Edge Stack.

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 Edge Stack Module:

kind: Module
name: ambassador
use_remote_address: false
x_forwarded_proto_redirect: true

Note: Ambassador Edge Stack will need to be restarted for this configuration to take effect.

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