Most people are fine just loading up their NodeJS server by a quick localhost:8080 request, but sometimes it’s also useful to have an actual hostname available, especially when you’re integrating with OAuth services that may require a qualified domain name for their redirect url. In this event, we need a way to tie Apache and Node together. Luckily it’s easy.

Let’s assume we have a node application running on :4567

var http = require('http'),
server = http.createServer(function (request, response) {
  response.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
  response.end('Hello World\n');
});

server.listen(4567);

We can successfully load up localhost:4567, but now we’d like to tie it up to be proxied by a hostname, say local.example.com:80

A typical Apache configuration would normally look like this, for serving your standard web directory

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName   local.example.com
  DocumentRoot "/var/www/html/com.example.local"
  ErrorLog     "/var/log/httpd/com.example.local-error_log"
  CustomLog    "/var/log/httpd/com.example.local-access_log" common

  <Directory "/var/www/html/com.example.local">
    AllowOverride All
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all
  </Directory>  
</VirtualHost>

That should look pretty familiar to anyone who’s spawned up a couple apache servers before. This would allow us to hit local.example.com, granted we stuff that into our /etc/hosts, and be served whatever is in our /var/www/html/com.example.local directory.

For anyone following along hands on, for this to work, make sure you edit your /etc/hosts file (sudo required) and enter:

127.0.0.1   local.example.com

This is required for the local.example.com hostname to resolve to our local machine. Moving forward, here’s the changes we’ll want to make so that our Apache server will, instead of serving a directory, proxy requests into our node application:

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName local.example.com
  ErrorLog   "/var/log/httpd/com.example.local-error_log"
  CustomLog  "/var/log/httpd/com.example.local-access_log" common

  ## Here's our magic
  ProxyRequests off

  <Proxy *>
    Order deny,allow
    Allow from all
  </Proxy>

  <Location /> # no, this closing tag is not a typo
    ProxyPass        http://localhost:4567 # Our port goes here
    ProxyPassReverse http://localhost:4567
  </Location>
</VirtualHost>

Now you will be able to successfully load your node application from http://localhost:4567 over http://local.example.com