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HAProxy how-to
version 1.5.14
willy tarreau
1) How to build it
First, please note that this version is a stable version, so in general if you
are not used to build from sources, it is recommended that instead you follow
the packaged updates provided by your software vendor or Linux distribution.
Most of them are taking this task seriously and are doing a good job. If for
any reason you'd prefer a different version than the one packaged for your
system, or to get some commercial support, other choices are available at :
To build haproxy, you will need :
- GNU make. Neither Solaris nor OpenBSD's make work with the GNU Makefile.
If you get many syntax errors when running "make", you may want to retry
with "gmake" which is the name commonly used for GNU make on BSD systems.
- GCC between 2.95 and 4.8. Others may work, but not tested.
- GNU ld
Also, you might want to build with libpcre support, which will provide a very
efficient regex implementation and will also fix some badness on Solaris' one.
To build haproxy, you have to choose your target OS amongst the following ones
and assign it to the TARGET variable :
- linux22 for Linux 2.2
- linux24 for Linux 2.4 and above (default)
- linux24e for Linux 2.4 with support for a working epoll (> 0.21)
- linux26 for Linux 2.6 and above
- linux2628 for Linux 2.6.28, 3.x, and above (enables splice and tproxy)
- solaris for Solaris 8 or 10 (others untested)
- freebsd for FreeBSD 5 to 10 (others untested)
- osx for Mac OS/X
- openbsd for OpenBSD 3.1 and above
- aix51 for AIX 5.1
- aix52 for AIX 5.2
- cygwin for Cygwin
- generic for any other OS or version.
- custom to manually adjust every setting
You may also choose your CPU to benefit from some optimizations. This is
particularly important on UltraSparc machines. For this, you can assign
one of the following choices to the CPU variable :
- i686 for intel PentiumPro, Pentium 2 and above, AMD Athlon
- i586 for intel Pentium, AMD K6, VIA C3.
- ultrasparc : Sun UltraSparc I/II/III/IV processor
- native : use the build machine's specific processor optimizations. Use with
extreme care, and never in virtualized environments (known to break).
- generic : any other processor or no CPU-specific optimization. (default)
Alternatively, you may just set the CPU_CFLAGS value to the optimal GCC options
for your platform.
You may want to build specific target binaries which do not match your native
compiler's target. This is particularly true on 64-bit systems when you want
to build a 32-bit binary. Use the ARCH variable for this purpose. Right now
it only knows about a few x86 variants (i386,i486,i586,i686,x86_64), two
generic ones (32,64) and sets -m32/-m64 as well as -march=<arch> accordingly.
If your system supports PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expressions), then you
really should build with libpcre which is between 2 and 10 times faster than
other libc implementations. Regex are used for header processing (deletion,
rewriting, allow, deny). The only inconvenient of libpcre is that it is not
yet widely spread, so if you build for other systems, you might get into
trouble if they don't have the dynamic library. In this situation, you should
statically link libpcre into haproxy so that it will not be necessary to
install it on target systems. Available build options for PCRE are :
- USE_PCRE=1 to use libpcre, in whatever form is available on your system
(shared or static)
- USE_STATIC_PCRE=1 to use a static version of libpcre even if the dynamic
one is available. This will enhance portability.
- with no option, use your OS libc's standard regex implementation (default).
Warning! group references on Solaris seem broken. Use static-pcre whenever
Recent systems can resolve IPv6 host names using getaddrinfo(). This primitive
is not present in all libcs and does not work in all of them either. Support in
glibc was broken before 2.3. Some embedded libs may not properly work either,
thus, support is disabled by default, meaning that some host names which only
resolve as IPv6 addresses will not resolve and configs might emit an error
during parsing. If you know that your OS libc has reliable support for
getaddrinfo(), you can add USE_GETADDRINFO=1 on the make command line to enable
it. This is the recommended option for most Linux distro packagers since it's
working fine on all recent mainstream distros. It is automatically enabled on
Solaris 8 and above, as it's known to work.
It is possible to add native support for SSL using the GNU makefile, by passing
"USE_OPENSSL=1" on the make command line. The libssl and libcrypto will
automatically be linked with haproxy. Some systems also require libz, so if the
build fails due to missing symbols such as deflateInit(), then try again with
To link OpenSSL statically against haproxy, build OpenSSL with the no-shared
keyword and install it to a local directory, so your system is not affected :
$ export STATICLIBSSL=/tmp/staticlibssl
$ ./config --prefix=$STATICLIBSSL no-shared
$ make && make install_sw
When building haproxy, pass that path via SSL_INC and SSL_LIB to make and
include additional libs with ADDLIB if needed (in this case for example libdl):
It is also possible to include native support for ZLIB to benefit from HTTP
compression. For this, pass "USE_ZLIB=1" on the "make" command line and ensure
that zlib is present on the system.
By default, the DEBUG variable is set to '-g' to enable debug symbols. It is
not wise to disable it on uncommon systems, because it's often the only way to
get a complete core when you need one. Otherwise, you can set DEBUG to '-s' to
strip the binary.
For example, I use this to build for Solaris 8 :
$ make TARGET=solaris CPU=ultrasparc USE_STATIC_PCRE=1
And I build it this way on OpenBSD or FreeBSD :
And on a classic Linux with SSL and ZLIB support (eg: Red Hat 5.x) :
And on a recent Linux >= 2.6.28 with SSL and ZLIB support :
In order to build a 32-bit binary on an x86_64 Linux system with SSL support
without support for compression but when OpenSSL requires ZLIB anyway :
$ make TARGET=linux26 ARCH=i386 USE_OPENSSL=1 ADDLIB=-lz
The SSL stack supports session cache synchronization between all running
processes. This involves some atomic operations and synchronization operations
which come in multiple flavors depending on the system and architecture :
Atomic operations :
- internal assembler versions for x86/x86_64 architectures
- gcc builtins for other architectures. Some architectures might not
be fully supported or might require a more recent version of gcc.
If your architecture is not supported, you willy have to either use
pthread if supported, or to disable the shared cache.
- pthread (posix threads). Pthreads are very common but inter-process
support is not that common, and some older operating systems did not
report an error when enabling multi-process mode, so they used to
silently fail, possibly causing crashes. Linux's implementation is
fine. OpenBSD doesn't support them and doesn't build. FreeBSD 9 builds
and reports an error at runtime, while certain older versions might
silently fail. Pthreads are enabled using USE_PTHREAD_PSHARED=1.
Synchronization operations :
- internal spinlock : this mode is OS-independant, light but will not
scale well to many processes. However, accesses to the session cache
are rare enough that this mode could certainly always be used. This
is the default mode.
- Futexes, which are Linux-specific highly scalable light weight mutexes
implemented in user-space with some limited assistance from the kernel.
This is the default on Linux 2.6 and above and is enabled by passing
- pthread (posix threads). See above.
If none of these mechanisms is supported by your platform, you may need to
build with USE_PRIVATE_CACHE=1 to totally disable SSL cache sharing. Then
it is better not to run SSL on multiple processes.
If you need to pass other defines, includes, libraries, etc... then please
check the Makefile to see which ones will be available in your case, and
use the USE_* variables in the Makefile.
AIX 5.3 is known to work with the generic target. However, for the binary to
also run on 5.2 or earlier, you need to build with DEFINE="-D_MSGQSUPPORT",
otherwise __fd_select() will be used while not being present in the libc, but
this is easily addressed using the "aix52" target. If you get build errors
because of strange symbols or section mismatches, simply remove -g from
You can easily define your own target with the GNU Makefile. Unknown targets
are processed with no default option except USE_POLL=default. So you can very
well use that property to define your own set of options. USE_POLL can even be
disabled by setting USE_POLL="". For example :
$ gmake TARGET=tiny USE_POLL="" TARGET_CFLAGS=-fomit-frame-pointer
2) How to install it
To install haproxy, you can either copy the single resulting binary to the
place you want, or run :
$ sudo make install
If you're packaging it for another system, you can specify its root directory
in the usual DESTDIR variable.
3) How to set it up
There is some documentation in the doc/ directory :
- architecture.txt : this is the architecture manual. It is quite old and
does not tell about the nice new features, but it's still a good starting
point when you know what you want but don't know how to do it.
- configuration.txt : this is the configuration manual. It recalls a few
essential HTTP basic concepts, and details all the configuration file
syntax (keywords, units). It also describes the log and stats format. It
is normally always up to date. If you see that something is missing from
it, please report it as this is a bug. Please note that this file is
huge and that it's generally more convenient to review Cyril Bonté's
HTML translation online here :
- haproxy-en.txt / haproxy-fr.txt : these are the old outdated docs. You
should never need them. If you do, then please report what you didn't
find in the other ones.
- gpl.txt / lgpl.txt : the copy of the licenses covering the software. See
the 'LICENSE' file at the top for more information.
- the rest is mainly for developers.
There are also a number of nice configuration examples in the "examples"
directory as well as on several sites and articles on the net which are linked
to from the haproxy web site.
4) How to report a bug
It is possible that from time to time you'll find a bug. A bug is a case where
what you see is not what is documented. Otherwise it can be a misdesign. If you
find that something is stupidly design, please discuss it on the list (see the
"how to contribute" section below). If you feel like you're proceeding right
and haproxy doesn't obey, then first ask yourself if it is possible that nobody
before you has even encountered this issue. If it's unlikely, the you probably
have an issue in your setup. Just in case of doubt, please consult the mailing
list archives :
Otherwise, please try to gather the maximum amount of information to help
reproduce the issue and send that to the mailing list :
Please include your configuration and logs. You can mask your IP addresses and
passwords, we don't need them. But it's essential that you post your config if
you want people to guess what is happening.
Also, keep in mind that haproxy is designed to NEVER CRASH. If you see it die
without any reason, then it definitely is a critical bug that must be reported
and urgently fixed. It has happened a couple of times in the past, essentially
on development versions running on new architectures. If you think your setup
is fairly common, then it is possible that the issue is totally unrelated.
Anyway, if that happens, feel free to contact me directly, as I will give you
instructions on how to collect a usable core file, and will probably ask for
other captures that you'll not want to share with the list.
5) How to contribute
Please carefully read the CONTRIBUTING file that comes with the sources. It is
-- end