Now the small issue here is I want websockets to communicate with node, while I want my other http request to be handled by apache. A first solution is to have node listen on another port, with client code looking like this:
<script src="http://www.test.tld:9000/socket.io/socket.io.js"></script> <script> var socket = io.connect('http://www.test.tld:9000'); ... </script>
I have two obvious problems here. For one, some network setups only allow ports 80 and 443 to go through. And then it's just painfully ugly! A more graceful way would be to differenciate the requests based on subdomains rather than ports, and for that I need a reverse-proxy.
Apache2 already possesses a reverse proxy mod, but it doesn't handle websockets (and doing this with apache2 would somehow defeat the point of using node.js). I played a little with nginx, which is very light and fast, but having to patch the source code to use tcp_proxy to handle websockets made me unconfortable regarding the update process in the future. I finally chose HAProxy, which handles websockets out-of-the-box.
For the reverse proxy to work we first need to modify the ports node and apache listen to. So I changed the apache conf to have it listen locally to port 9010, and kept node on port 9000. HAProxy will now handle the initial requests on port 80 and dispatch them to node and apache. I want the requests sent to the domain "io.test.tld" to be forwarded to node, and the rest to be forwarded to apache. Here's a sample HAProxy configuration that does just that:
global daemon maxconn 4096 user haproxy group haproxy defaults log global #this frontend interface receives the incoming http requests frontend http-in mode http #process all requests made on port 80 bind *:80 #set a large timeout for websockets timeout client 86400000 #default behavior sends the requests to apache default_backend www_backend #it all happens here: a simple check on the host string #when "io.test.tld" is matched, an acl I call arbitrarily # "websocket" triggers acl websocket hdr_end(host) -i io.test.tld #redirect to my node backend if the websocket acl triggered use_backend node_backend if websocket #apache backend, transfer to port 9010 backend www_backend mode http timeout server 86400000 timeout connect 5000 server www_test localhost:9010 #node backend, transfer to port 9000 backend node_backend mode http timeout server 86400000 timeout connect 5000 server io_test localhost:9000
It's fairly straightforward and it just works. Of course the best way to handle this case is to have 2 different IP addresses, but as far as subdomains discrimination is concerned, I'm very satisfied with this solution so far.