Derek Neely

...notes for thyself, but useful for all...

Proxy Load Balancing Word Press (multi-domain WP)

Oct 03, 2016 by derek


So, you have a Wordpress site and you want to get it up and and behind a load balancer. In this case we'll be setting up a Layer 7 load balancer (proxy load balancer) by using Nginx. The configuration for Nginx is easy enough to setup and configure. I would look something like this:


upstream wordpress {
    server wordpress1;
    server wordpress2;

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;


    location / {
        proxy_set_header HOST $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;

        proxy_pass http://wordpress/;


So, the problem here is that you have your site all configured and working with Now, you'll need to hop on over to your backend WP servers (Apache or Nginx) and have them also now listen and respond to wordpress as a server alias or additional domain.


ServerAlias wordpress


server_name wordpress

This sets the backend servers up to listen and respond to these requests. However, you still have a problem. Wordpress has the domain name all configured in its settings and should a request land on the virtual host but with a different name, it'll redirect back out to the site's configured URL. So, in this case with everything configured and ready to go, you'll find yourself in a infinite redirect scenario and your browswer will be reporting 'Too Many Redirects'.


So, 2 things to check/configure here.

1) Double check your .htaccess file to make sure you're not forcing any additional redirects based on domain name or http vs. https. This was a small hiccup I ran into when forcing SSL for a particular WP site. Don't worry, you can still force SSL but now you'll be doing it at the load balancer level. Instead of passing traffic in the location block of the above config example. Do a 301 redirect to a server setup on port 443 and configured with your certificates and move the location block into this server config.


2) You'll need to now override the way Wordpress is handling the domain names. You'll need it to be a little more flexible in what it'll answer too. In this case we need it to also work for the 'wordpress' domain configured as our upstream cluster we're now passing traffic back too. The easiest way to do this, is to pretty much blow the domain setting/configuration wide open by adding the following below $table_prefix:

define('WP_SITEURL', 'https://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']);
define('WP_HOME', 'https://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']);


Alrighty, so you've got your Nginx load balancer config setup, Apache/Nginx backend server aliases added, .htaccess redirects removed, and Wordpress ready for any domain, and therefore should be good to go.

Clustering, Nginx, Proxy


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© 2016 Derek Neely