How to Build a Simple HTTP Proxy in Rust in just 40 lines

Oct 1, 2023 ยท 3 min read

Rust is a great language for network programming thanks to its focus on performance and safety. Here's how we can build a basic HTTP proxy in just 40 lines of Rust code.

First we import the crates we need:

use std::io::{copy, Error};
use std::net::TcpListener;
use std::thread;
use reqwest;

Next we create a handle_client function to process each client request:

fn handle_client(mut stream: TcpStream) -> Result<(), Error> {
  // ... proxy logic
}

It will read the incoming request:

let mut buffer = [0; 1024];
stream.read(&mut buffer)?;
let request = String::from_utf8_lossy(&buffer[..]);

Extract the URL:

let url = request.split_whitespace()[1];

Make the proxied request:

let mut res = reqwest::get(url)?;

And pipe back the response:

copy(&mut res, &mut stream)?;

Our main function sets up the listener:

fn main() {
  let listener = TcpListener::bind("127.0.0.1:8080").unwrap();

  // accept connections and process
  for stream in listener.incoming() {
    handle_client(stream.unwrap());
  }
}

The full proxy in 40 lines:

use std::io::{copy, Error};
use std::net::TcpListener;
use std::thread;
use reqwest;

fn handle_client(mut stream: TcpStream) -> Result<(), Error> {

  let mut buffer = [0; 1024];
  stream.read(&mut buffer)?;

  let request = String::from_utf8_lossy(&buffer[..]);

  let url = request.split_whitespace()[1];

  println!("Request: {}", url);

  let mut res = reqwest::get(url)?;

  copy(&mut res, &mut stream)?;

  Ok(())

}

fn main() {

  let listener = TcpListener::bind("127.0.0.1:8080").unwrap();

  for stream in listener.incoming() {
    handle_client(stream.unwrap()).unwrap();
  }

}

This gives you a basic Rust HTTP proxy. There is still room for improvement but it shows the power of Rust for network programming.

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