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HAProxy how-to
version 1.4
willy tarreau
1) How to build it
To build haproxy, you will need :
- GNU make. Neither Solaris nor OpenBSD's make work with the GNU Makefile.
However, specific Makefiles for BSD and OSX are provided.
- GCC between 2.91 and 4.5.0. 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
- solaris for Solaris 8 or 10 (others untested)
- freebsd for FreeBSD 5 to 8.0 (others untested)
- openbsd for OpenBSD 3.1 to 4.6 (others untested)
- cygwin for Cygwin
- generic for any other OS.
- 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
- generic : any other processor or no 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) 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 implemntation (default).
Warning! group references on Solaris seem broken. Use static-pcre whenever
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 :
$ make -f Makefile.bsd REGEX=pcre DEBUG= COPTS.generic="-Os -fomit-frame-pointer -mgnu"
In order to build a 32-bit binary on an x86_64 Linux system :
$ make TARGET=linux26 ARCH=i386
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 GNU Makefile, or ADDINC, ADDLIB, and DEFINE
variables in the BSD makefiles.
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.
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.
- 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
It is possible that you'll want to add a specific feature to satisfy your needs
or one of your customers'. Contributions are welcome, however I'm often very
picky about changes. I will generally reject patches that change massive parts
of the code, or that touch the core parts without any good reason if those
changes have not been discussed first.
The proper place to discuss your changes is the HAProxy Mailing List. There are
enough skilled readers to catch hazardous mistakes and to suggest improvements.
You can subscribe to it by sending an empty e-mail at the following address :
If your work is very confidential and you can't publicly discuss it, you can
also mail me directly about it, but your mail may be waiting several days in
the queue before you get a response.
If you'd like a feature to be added but you think you don't have the skills to
implement it yourself, you should follow these steps :
1. discuss the feature on the mailing list. It is possible that someone
else has already implemented it, or that someone will tell you how to
proceed without it, or even why not to do it. It is also possible that
in fact it's quite easy to implement and people will guide you through
the process. That way you'll finally have YOUR patch merged, providing
the feature YOU need.
2. if you really can't code it yourself after discussing it, then you may
consider contacting someone to do the job for you. Some people on the
list might be OK with trying to do it. Otherwise, you can check the list
of contributors at the URL below, some of the regular contributors may
be able to do the work, probably not for free but their time is as much
valuable as yours after all, you can't eat the cake and have it too.
The list of past and regular contributors is available below. It lists not only
significant code contributions (features, fixes), but also time or money
donations :
Note to contributors: it's very handy when patches comes with a properly
formated subject. Try to put one of the following words between brackets
to indicate the importance of the patch followed if possible by a single
word indicating what subsystem is affected, then by a short description :
[BUG] fix for a minor or medium-level bug. When a few of these ones are
available, a new maintenance release is emitted.
[CRITICAL] medium-term reliability or security is at risk, an upgrade is
absolutely required. A maintenance release may be emitted even if
only one of these bugs are fixed.
[CLEANUP] code cleanup, silence of warnings, etc... theorically no impact.
These patches will rarely be seen in stable branches, though they
may appear when they remove some annoyance.
[MINOR] minor change, very low risk of impact. It is often the case for
code additions that don't touch live code.
[MEDIUM] medium risk, may cause unexpected regressions of low importance or
which may quickly be discovered.
[MAJOR] major risk of hidden regression. This happens when I rearrange
large parts of code, when I play with timeouts, with variable
initializations, etc... We should only exceptionally find such
patches in stable branches.
[OPTIM] some code was optimised. Sometimes if the regression risk is very
low and the gains significant, such patches may be merged in the
stable branch.
[DOC] documentation updates or fixes only. No code is affected, no need
to upgrade. These patches can also be sent right after a new
feature, to document it.
[TESTS] added regression testing configuration files or scripts
[BUILD] fix build issues. If you could build, no upgrade required.
[LICENSE] licensing updates (may impact distro packagers)
[RELEASE] release a new version (development version or stable version)
[PATCH] any other patch which could not be qualified with the tags above.
The tags are not rigid, and I reserve the right to change them when merging the
patch. It may happen that a same patch has a different tag in two distinct
branches. The reason is that a bug in one branch may just be a cleanup in the
other one because the code cannot be triggered.
Examples of messages :
- [DOC] document options forwardfor to logasap
- [BUG] stats: connection reset counters must be plain ascii, not HTML
- [MEDIUM] checks: support multi-packet health check responses
- [RELEASE] Released version 1.4.2
For a more efficient interaction between the mainline code and your code, I can
only strongly encourage you to try the Git version control system :
It's very fast, lightweight and lets you undo/redo your work as often as you
want, without making your mistakes visible to the rest of the world. It will
definitely help you contribute quality code and take other people's feedback
in consideration. In order to clone the HAProxy Git repository :
$ git clone (stable 1.4)
$ git clone (development)
If you decide to use Git for your developments, then your commit messages will
have the subject line in the format described above, then the whole description
of your work (mainly why you did it) will be in the body. You can directly send
your commits to the mailing list, the format is convenient to read and process.
-- end