FIRST – I am stealing code here and re-sharing (with very little modification). All credit goes the fine gentleman that wrote these two articles, I would urge you to read them:

Bulk Add IP Access Restrictions to Azure App Service Using AZ Powershell

Bulk Add Cloudflares IPs to Azure App Service Access Restrictions Using AZ Powershell

I made a few minor modifications the provided code. First, I like to just run a lot of my Azure Powershell stuff from an ISE session and don’t like encapsulating everything in new commands. Partly because I am not all that familiar with working that way even though it is probably a MUCH better way of doing things.

Before we get to the code though, what is this for exactly?

If you use cloudflare as a protection and CDN layer for a website it works by acting as a reverse proxy for your site. I.E. client connects to your site by a cloudflare hosted DNS record… instead of connecting directly to your server, their connection terminates at Cloudflare, they do things, then the pass the connection along to your actual service. ‘Nuff said, google if you need more info.

In the case of an Azure Web App (or any other web server I supposed), the app is hosted/available on some public IP and/or azure domain name that azure provides when you create the app…

What this means is that someone can easily bypass your cloudflare layer (and the associated performance enhancements and protections like web application firewalls) if they know your source systems IP address and in the case of azure, your azure provided domain name for your app.

So what that means is that you need to setup an ACL (Access Control List) on your source system to say “Allow traffic from all Cloudflare IP ranges and block everyone else”.

Cloudflare has like 20 IP ranges… And setting up that ACL by hand on a web app in Azure is arduous at best. But that is why we have scripting… to make things that are generally a pain in the rear… NOT a pain in the rear. (more…)

I had a recent requirement from one of our clients that took a little bit of tinkering to figure out… we will call our client Contoso LLC. and our project that we host for them we will call the “Cool Widget Project.”

We built a really neat widget of an application for Contoso to use and we are hosting it under a sub-domain of a domain we control. We needed to keep hosting it under this domain. However, our client, Contoso, wanted to hand out a link for their users to the new widget we built using an existing sub-domain from a domain they control. This was of course under their main domain, constosollc.com, and they already had existing users that came to the old version of the widget (built by another vendor) at widget.contosollc.com.

Our company was hosting the new widget app at widgetapp.appworks.net.

To further complicate things… our company appreciates security, likes fast DNS updates, and the app really benefits from using a CDN… so we are using Cloudflare to manage DNS for the appworks.net domain. Better yet, we also like the cloud, and this new widgetapp is actually an Azure Web App.

So there’s the situation…

We essentially need this to happen:

User visits widget.contosollc.com --> widgetapp.appworks.net.

Oh but this is Azure… so actually widgetapp.appworks.net is already a CNAME record and it actually points to widgetapp.azurewebsites.net. So it is this:

User visits widget.contosollc.com --> widgetapp.appworks.net --> widgetapp.azurewebsites.net.

To elaborate the above just a little bit more:

widget.contosollc.com (DNS from random provider) --> widgetapp.appworks.net (Cloudflare DNS, CNAME) --> widgetapp.azurewebsites.net (the DNS name provided by Azure for the application)

Simple right? Just get our client to create a CNAME record that points to widgetapp.appworks.net and move on with life… wrong…
(more…)

Last year Google proposed marking any and all sites not using SSL in a negative fashion in its Chrome browser. This year they are indicating they plan on moving forward with this:

Google Chrome gets ready to mark all HTTP sites as ‘bad’

To clarify what this means for small content creators… an extra ~$100+ a year for hosting a website, not to mention SSL adds a layer of complexity to the hosting. (more…)

If you are looking for a quick way to install a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack on an Ubuntu server, this should take care of you:

sudo apt-get install tasksel
sudo tasksel install lamp-server
mysql_secure_installation

First command installs tasksel… which is a really handy program. (more…)

It is kind of hard to believe but you can actually get a dedicated hosting solution (your very own server) at shared hosting prices. It just boggles my mind that this kind of value exists.

I spent the last few nights and weekends (for the last 3 years… honestly…) trying to find a better web hosting provider. I run some legal file sharing sites and they require a lot of storage and bandwidth and they don’t generate much money. Most of my sites run on Drupal, which can be pretty processor hungry and database intensive under load. I finally came across this funny sounding French hosting company that has some of the most compelling hosting deals I have ever seen! (more…)