Containerized LAMP stack deployment with nginx

Overview

Following diagram is to illustrate on how I configure a single virtual server to work with multiple subdomains that are proxified to their respective services via nginx;

Proxify with nginx
Proxify with nginx

A “service” here is referred to an application that is running from inside a Docker container.


Virtual Server

The virtual server that I use here is an Amazon EC2 instance from AWS. EC2 is easy to be scaled to the changing needs of the cloud computing.

The firewall solution in Amazon EC2 is called a Security Group which is used to filter incoming and outgoing traffic from an EC2 instance.

Example of incoming traffic configurations in a security group
Example of incoming traffic configurations in a security group

If you’re looking for a cheaper, lightweight or more simplified version of a server instance, there is a service called Lightsail.


DNS Management

I use a free Cloudflare Managed DNS service to manage my primary domain’s DNS.

“Cloudflare Managed DNS is an enterprise-grade authoritative DNS service that offers the fastest response time, unparalleled redundancy, and advanced security with built-in DDoS mitigation and DNSSEC.”

Cloudflare Managed DNS has a simple and intuitive UI. Other than DNS, Cloudflare also has a lot of other great goodies for free that I can benefit.

Following are the example of DNS records;

TypeNameContentProxy status
Aa.nrird.comEC2_Instance_IPYes
Ab.nrird.comEC2_Instance_IPYes
Ac.nrird.comEC2_Instance_IPYes

EC2_Instance_IP is the Elastic IP of my EC2 instance.

I enabled the DNS to be proxified by Cloudflare so I can get the benefit of Cloudflare Free Universal SSL certififcate that has automatic renewal.


nginx

nginx is used as an entry point to the EC2 instance and also works as a load balancer that will proxify the incoming traffic to the respective services.

Following diagram is to illustrate on how the traffic is routed from Cloudflare DNS to a particular service;

Example of traffic routes
Example of traffic routes

nginx.conf

Here’s the example of nginx configurations for the server block that I have modified from the default nginx.conf file;

user              nginx;
worker_processes  auto;
error_log         /var/log/nginx/error.log;
pid               /run/nginx.pid;
include           /usr/share/nginx/modules/*.conf;
events {
    worker_connections 1024;
}
http {
    server_names_hash_bucket_size  128;

    log_format  main  '$remote_addr - $remote_user [$time_local] "$request" '
                      '$status $body_bytes_sent "$http_referer" '
                      '"$http_user_agent" "$http_x_forwarded_for"';
    access_log          /var/log/nginx/access.log  main;
    sendfile            on;
    tcp_nopush          on;
    tcp_nodelay         on;
    keepalive_timeout   65;
    types_hash_max_size 4096;
    include             /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    default_type        application/octet-stream;
    include             /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;

    server {
         listen       80;
         server_name  a.nrird.com;
         index        index.html index.htm index.php;
         location / {
             proxy_set_header  X-Real-IP        $remote_addr;
             proxy_set_header  Host             $http_host;
             proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-For  $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
             proxy_set_header  X-NginX-Proxy    true;
             proxy_pass        http://127.0.0.1:8080;
             proxy_redirect    off;
             break;
         }
    }
    server {
         listen       80;
         server_name  b.nrird.com;
         index        index.html index.htm index.php;
         location / {
             proxy_set_header  X-Real-IP        $remote_addr;
             proxy_set_header  Host             $http_host;
             proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-For  $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
             proxy_set_header  X-NginX-Proxy    true;
             proxy_pass        http://127.0.0.1:8181;
             proxy_redirect    off;
             break;
         }
    }
    server {
         listen       80;
         server_name  c.nrird.com;
         index        index.html index.htm index.php;
         location / {
             proxy_set_header  X-Real-IP        $remote_addr;
             proxy_set_header  Host             $http_host;
             proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-For  $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
             proxy_set_header  X-NginX-Proxy    true;
             proxy_pass        http://127.0.0.1:8282;
             proxy_redirect    off;
             break;
         }
    }

}

LAMP stack

I have a LAMP stack deployed into a EC2 instance using isolated Docker containers and then proxified by nginx as I mentioned above. This LAMP server is mostly used to host some of apps/scripts that are written in PHP.

LAMP is stand for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. LAMP stack is quite common for a web server especially for PHP applications.

Advantages of running LAMP stack in Docker containers

Following are the advantages of running the LAMP stack in containers;

1.The LAMP deployment won’t mess up with my system and keep my system clean if anything goes wrong with a particular service. I can just delete everything and start again.
2.It keeps my system and other services secure if a particular service is compromised or getting hacked.
3.Managing app version updates is easier as I can rebuild the Docker images and recreate the containers.
4.Most of the configurations can be done within a single docker-compose.yml file.
5.I can easily control the container ports accessibility and port mappings.

Source code

If you’re interested, I have made my LAMP deployment configurations available on GitHub.