How to Use Sticky Session for CSRF submission on Highly Scalable Cloud App in Haproxy

HINT: If you are a nginx fan and used it in mass scale, then, you must have done this using ip_hash (Nginx Documentation). It follows the same purpose for Haproxy. Difference and benefits of using Haproxy over Nginx for L7 proxy in a highly scalable and reliable cloud app would be a discussion for another day.

Case Discussion:

Suppose, you have a Cloud app, that is load balanced & scaled between multiple servers using Haproxy, for example:

101.101.101.101
202.202.202.202
303.303.303.303

Now, if your app has a submission form, for example, a poll submission from your users, then, there is an issue in this Haproxy setup.

Let’s say, an User A, requests for the app, and gets the data from the server 101.101.101.101, the CSRF token he gets for the poll submission to his browser, also maintains the app hosted on 101.101.101.101. But when he press the submit button, HAProxy puts him on 202.202.202.202 app, and the app hosted on 202.202.202.202 instantly rejects the token for the session as the session is not registered for that app. For such cases, we need to maintain a ‘Sticky’ session based on the cookie set by the right server. That means, if the cookie is set by 101.101.101.101, HAproxy should obey and give the user 101.101.101.101 until the cookie or the session is reset or regenerated.

How To Do That:

What we need to do, let haproxy write the server id in the cookie, and make the directive ‘server’ to follow the cookie. Please remember, there are couple of other way to achieve this. There is another way of doing this is called ‘IP Affinity’, where you make sticky session based on IP of the user. There is another based on PHP session value. Setting sticky session based on php session should also work. I preferred the cookie based sticky session, just on random selection.

So, to write the server id in the cookie, you need to add the following in the haproxy ‘backend’ directive as following:

backend app-main
balance roundrobin
cookie SERVERID insert indirect nocache

In the cookie directive, you can see, we are taking the HAProxy variable ‘SERVERID’ and inserting that to the cookie attribute. Now, all you need to do, is to configure your balancing IPs to follow the cookie, like the following:

backend app-main
balance roundrobin
cookie SERVERID insert indirect nocache
server nginx1 101.101.101.101 cookie S1
server nginx2 202.202.202.202 cookie S2
server nginx3 303.303.303.303 cookie S3

S1, S2, S3 are just 3 different names of the cookies for the specific servers. After the above is done, you can now restart and see Haproxy is following stickiness based on the session you have.

Just to find out, how to test if you are using laravel, try to regenerate the session based on the session() helper method as following:

session()->regenerate()->csrf_token();

You should be able to see the content loading from different web servers when the session regenerates. But it will persists when the regenerate session method is not called.

How to Skip WHM Initial Setup Wizard When Stuck After Upcp

If you have recently ran upcp and the WHM initial setup wizard is stuck in a URL like the following:

https://yourhostname.com:2087/cpsess*****/scripts/initial_setup_wizard1

And can not get away with it, here is the easy way to do it. Basically each setup wizard has a skip button and the button goes to initial_setup_wizard1_do, so only adding the _do at the of your initial_setup_wizard1 should do the job, like the following:

https://yourhostname.com:2087/cpsess*****/scripts/initial_setup_wizard1_do/

This should take you to the WHM home by letting you save some of the new WHM features and will not ask again for initial setups.

Troubleshoot: -bash: fuser: command not found

If you are trying to use a command, fuser, that is used to identify process using lock file or socket file, and having the following error:

-bash: fuser: command not found

that means, your system doesn’t have the psmisc package installed. Usually, killall, fuser type of commands are under this package. CentOS 7 sometimes, do not install the package by default. To install it, run the following:

yum install psmisc -y

Once done, you should be able to use fuser command.

How To: Use SSH Password in a Script

You can obviously use RSA public/private keypair to access servers without password, although, sometimes, it may be desirable to use ssh password on a command line and run a remote command on another server. This can be done using a tool called ‘sshpass’. You can create a simple bash script using sshpass, that can help you monitor and control multiple servers from a single location.

How to use ssh password in script

First install sshpass:

# yum install sshpass -y

Once done, you can use sshpass command as following:

# sshpass -p "SSH_Password" ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no SSH_Username@remote-ssh-server "yourcommand"

Just replace, the password, username, remote-ssh-server and your command with your desired setup, and viola!

Note: If yum says, the following:

No package sshpass* available.

then you would need to install epel repository to install sshpass. To install epel, run the following:

# yum install epel* -y

Programming: How to Check If A File Exists or Not in Bash Script

How to Check If A File Exists or Not in Bash Script

You can use if condition in bash script to do that. If conditions takes ‘-f’ to test if a file exists or not. Syntax would be the following:

$FILE = $1
if [ -f $FILE ]; then
echo "File Exists"
else
echo "File Do Not Exist"
endif

Now, if your script only demands to check if the file do not exist, you can use a unary operator for negate the boolean value as following:

$FILE = $1
if[ ! -f $FILE ]; then
echo "File Do Not Exist"
endif

 

How To: Restrict a Folder to Your IP Only

Sometimes, for development purposes, you may want to restrict access to the folder, only to your IP, and deny others from accessing that folder. One way to do that is to use htaccess rules. A common rule, could be denying all the users and allowing your IP. To find out, your IP, you may visit the following:

http://ifconfig.co

Note the IP it has reported. Open the folder that you want to protect. Find the .htaccess file under the folder (If no file available, create one) and add the following:

order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from <your IP goes here>

Replace the <your IP goes here> from the snippets with the IP you have noted from ifconfig.co. Now, your folder should be accessible only from your IP.

How To: Start a Screen Session and Run a Command at a Time

Sometimes, you may want to run a screen command in a remote server. That makes it necessary to run the command inside the screen session while starting it.

How to start a screen session and run a command in one line

# screen -d -m sh -c "yourcommand"

From the man page of Screen:

-d -m : Start screen in “detached” mode. This creates a new session but doesn’t attach to it. This is useful for system startup scripts.

sh -c: Starts a shell and runs a command for you.

 

How To: Install AutoSSL for Server Hostname – Cpanel Server

Starting from Cpanel 11.58, Cpanel is offering Free SSL, issued by ‘Cpanel INC’ for free of charge to the valid cpanel license owner. If you are using cpanel, login to your WHM >> Providers >> Enable Cpanel & from Options >> Check Allow AutoSSL to replace invalid or expiring non-AutoSSL certificates.

Now, running upcp should automatically install the free SSL for your cpanel server hostname. If it doesn’t, it is probably because your server IP and the hostname IP are resolving to wrong address. To understand and troubleshoot the problem, run the following script from command line:

# /usr/local/cpanel/bin/checkallsslcerts

This script checks and installs certificate for expired, invalid and self signed certificates for the server services. If you are seeing an error like the following:

[WARN] The system failed to acquire a signed certificate from the cPanel Store because of the following error: (XID 62hp6x) The system queried for a temporary file at “http://server91.mellowhost.com/.well-known/pki-validation/D92868E512FB02354F2498B94E67430B.txt”, but the web server responded with the following error: 404 (Not Found). A DNS (Domain Name System) or web server misconfiguration may exist.

It means, your hostname is resolving to the wrong IP. You would need to check if the hostname is resolving to an IP which has first virtualhost pointed to /var/www/html or not under /etc/apache2/conf/httpd.conf

 

Troubleshoot: You must upgrade to Litespeed “5.2.1 build 2 or later”, in order to upgrade to the next version of cPanel & WHM.

Error Message

You must upgrade to Litespeed “5.2.1 build 2 or later”, in order to upgrade to the next version of cPanel & WHM.

Explanation

The error appears because Litespeed below 5.2.1 doesn’t have SSL compatibility with Cpanel 11.68. Although, this goes further, if you uninstall the plugin, and upcp will still fail to update the Cpanel/WHM. A workaround for this, is to install and uninstall the plugin through Litespeed auto installer. Here is how to do that:

Download Litespeed Auto Installer for Cpanel

# wget https://www.litespeedtech.com/packages/cpanel/lsws_whm_autoinstaller.sh
# chmod a+x lsws_whm_autoinstaller.sh

Install Litespeed for Cpanel/WHM using Auto Installer

# ./lsws_whm_autoinstaller.sh TRIAL 1 8080 username testpass1234 s@mellowhost.com 1 0

Uninstall Litespeed

# /usr/local/lsws/admin/misc/uninstall.sh

Uninstall Litespeed WHM Plugin

# /usr/local/cpanel/whostmgr/docroot/cgi/lsws/lsws_whm_plugin_uninstall.sh

Run upcp:

# /scripts/upcp --force

Quick Tip: How to Check Total Number of Mails in Postfix Queue

Exim provides a quick way to check the total number of mails in the queue. This is done using the exim -bpc Although, this is not the same for postfix. Postfix doesn’t come with an easy way to do that.

How to Check Total Number of Mails in Postfix Queue

A quick tip on what I use to check the postfix queue number is the following command:

# mailq | tail -n 1
-- 6899 Kbytes in 1518 Requests.

Basically, postfix returns the queue statistics at the end of the queue listing command. We are simply tailing that to find the number.