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Or Yaacov
Or Yaacov

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How to setup HTTP server with security headers using Nginx docker

Nginx is one of the most commonly used, familiar, and trustworthy Web-Server (among other things) that are out there today.
We migrated from http-server to Nginx for multiple reasons, the most recent one was adding security headers to our requests.
you can check your site security headers at:
this guide will easily take you from zero to hero :)

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Why security headers are important?

many websites and systems can be hacked due to a lack or bad configuration or lack of protection. Besides improving your site's SEO score, Security headers will protect your website from some common attacks like Code injection, XSS, click-jacking, and more.
For my personal use, I choose to use the following HTTP security headers:

  1. X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff"
    This prevents the browser from "sniffing" the asset to try and determine if the file type is something other than what is declared by the server

  2. X-Frame-Options "sameorigin"
    The page can only be embedded in a frame on a page with the same origin as itself

  3. X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block"
    Enables XSS filtering. Rather than sanitizing the page, the browser will prevent rendering of the page if an attack is detected

  4. Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains"
    informs browsers that the site (and subdomains) should only be accessed using HTTPS

  5. Content-Security-Policy "default-src 'self';
    Allow to load content and resources only from your domain only

  6. 'Permissions-Policy' "camera=none, geolocation=none, microphone=none"
    Permissions Policy (formerly known as feature policy) allows web developers to selectively enable, disable, and modify the behavior of certain APIs and web features in the browser.
    you can generate your header easily using this cute online utility:permissionspolicy

  7. 'Referrer-Policy' 'sameorigin'
    The Referrer Policy HTTP header sets the parameter for amount of information sent along with Referrer Header while making a request
    sameorigin sends referrer information when origin is on same website but no information is sent for cross origin.

Step 1 - Creating Nginx Configuration file

create/edit the following file /etc/nginx/conf.d/nginx.conf
server {
listen 8080;
root {{your_root_path}};
add_header 'X-Content-Type-Options' 'nosniff';
add_header 'X-Frame-Options' 'sameorigin';
add_header 'X-XSS-Protection' '1; mode=block';
add_header 'Strict-Transport-Security' 'max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload';
add_header 'Cache-control' 'no-cache';
add_header 'Content-Security-Policy' "default-src 'self'; font-src 'self'; img-src 'self'; script-src 'self'; style-src 'self'; frame-src 'self'";
add_header 'Permissions-Policy' 'camera=(), geolocation=(), microphone=()';
add_header 'Referrer-Policy' 'same-origin';

if you are using SPA (like react or vue), and your site stops working due for 'Content-Security-Policy' try the following header (with google fonts and analytics)
add_header 'Content-Security-Policy' "default-src 'none';img-src 'self'; connect-src; script-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline'; style-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline'; font-src 'self'; base-uri 'self';";

Step 2- Creating DockerFile

create an file named Dockerfile

FROM nginx:stable-alpine

# copy both "package.json" and "package-lock.json" (if available)
COPY {{project_path}}/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf
#assuming that your site files are on a dist folder
COPY {{project_path}}/dist /usr/share/nginx/html


Step 3 - Build & Run the docker image

  1. build the docker image using docker build -t {{image_tag_name}} -f {{project_path}}/Dockerfile .
  2. run the docker image $ docker run --name {{container_name}} -p 8080:80 -d {{image_tag_name}}

Well, that's it! now you can enjoy your new secured HTTP server and stronger SEO score :)

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