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A port proxy for JupyterHub when using the DockerSpawner, optionally with (token-based) authorization.

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A port proxy for JupyterHub when using the DockerSpawner, optionally with authentication.

This code is hosted at

If you use JupyterHub, and some app inside the docker spawned by Jupyter opens a port (e.g. it exposes a REST API), these are not accessible outside the docker container, in general.

A nice Jupyter server exension, nbserverproxy, exists to proxy a given port through the notebook server. This would work, but requires that anybody performing a request has access to the JupyterHub token. This could be extracted from the browser and passed to an external app that wants to use the API (command line, or throgh AJAX requests from a different site), but:

  • this is cumbersome
  • if someone gets the token, they get access to the whole docker container of the user

To alleviate this, we wrote jhproxy. This needs to be installed by the person maintaining the JupyterHub installation, but allows to:

  • decide which ports can be forwarded (more can be forwarded, but they need to be specified, see documentation below)
  • allow for (optional) authentication of the proxy requests (via a X-Proxy-Token that should be passed in the HTTP Request Headers)
  • Allow a logged-in JupyterHub user to enable, disable or regenerate a token
  • Add an API endpoint to obtain the current token for the currently logged-in JupyterHub user (so this can be given to a client performing the API requests via the proxy).

Note that this proxy only works currently for a DockerSpawner (to use token authentication you need to use the provided jhproxy.spawners.TokenizedDockerSpawner, that extends the image).


In order to install and use this extension, you need to do the following on the machine where JupyterHub is installed:

  • install jhproxy:

    pip instal jhproxy
  • configure properly your to decide which ports to proxy, under which address, etc. We provide a fully documented working example inside examples/ Feel free to copy, reuse and edit to your needs.

We provide below just a few additional notes on how to configure it

Authorization setup

If you don't need authorization, you can just use the standard DockerSpawner spawner; ports will simply be proxied.

If you instead want authorization, use jbproxy.spawners.TokenizedDockerSpawner as in the configuration example. As shown there, there are also a few options to decide the default token to be generated the first time the spawner is create (disabled, allow all, generate new random token).

How to use it

The user (once logged in JupyterHub) can use the ProxyTokenHandler (under the url http(s)://JUPYTERHUBHOST/hub/proxytoken/) to get the current token (via GET requests) or to ask to change it (via POST requests). This endpoint requires to be authenticated.

To see an example, load inside your jupyter the notebook provided under examples/Proxy token manager.ipynb. Run it and then press the buttons to get the current token, or change it (disabling all access, enabling it for everybody, or generating a new random token).

NOTE: this needs to be done inside the jupyter provided by JupyterHub, otherwise the JupyterHub authorization cookies will not be passed and you will not be able to access these endpoints.

To use it:

  • Login in JupyterHub
  • (Optional, if you did not choose the option in the to generate a random token at startup) Upload the examples/Proxy token manager.ipynb, run it and create a new token
  • Open a terminal and start a server serving on one of the ports you chose (e.g.: python -m SimpleHTTPServer 5000)
  • Try to connect to it. If you set it without token check (allow all), you can just go to the correct URL in your browser (e.g. http://localhost:8000/hub/proxy5000/YOURJUPYTERHUBUSERNAME). Otherwise, to check using a proxy via a AJAX request (that checks that also the CORS headers are properly set in the server), use the simple example under examples/client_ajax_CORS_example.html: put the correct URL (change the string USERNAMEHERE, and possibly change the token, that you can get as described above via the Jupyter notebook, or via the link provided in the page, if you have already logged into JupyterHub in the same browser and you have not changed the URL of the /proxytoken/ endpoint).


  • If the Docker host is a Mac, you need to start the server to be proxied inside docker on the interface, otherwise Docker will not allow to forward it due to the way networking is configured by default on Docker on the Mac. Note that this is a Docker configuration and not a jhproxy issue.


This code is released under a MIT license. We acknowledge nbserverproxy from which we have taken free inspiration for the proxy part.

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