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Project description

## websockify: WebSockets support for any application/server

websockify was formerly named wsproxy and was part of the
[noVNC]( project.

At the most basic level, websockify just translates WebSockets traffic
to normal socket traffic. Websockify accepts the WebSockets handshake,
parses it, and then begins forwarding traffic between the client and
the target in both directions.

### WebSockets binary data

Websockify supports all versions of the WebSockets protocol (Hixie and
HyBi). The older Hixie versions of the protocol only support UTF-8
text payloads. In order to transport binary data over UTF-8 an
encoding must used to encapsulate the data within UTF-8.

With Hixie clients, Websockify uses base64 to encode all traffic to
and from the client. This does not affect the data between websockify
and the server.

With HyBi clients, websockify negotiates whether to base64 encode
traffic to and from the client via the subprotocol header
(Sec-WebSocket-Protocol). The valid subprotocol values are 'binary'
and 'base64' and if the client sends both then the server (the python
implementation) will prefer 'binary'. The 'binary' subprotocol
indicates that the data will be sent raw using binary WebSocket
frames. Some HyBi clients (such as the Flash fallback and older Chrome
and iOS versions) do not support binary data which is why the
negotiation is necessary.

### Encrypted WebSocket connections (wss://)

To encrypt the traffic using the WebSocket 'wss://' URI scheme you
need to generate a certificate for websockify to load. By default websockify
loads a certificate file name `self.pem` but the `--cert=CERT` option can
override the file name. You can generate a self-signed certificate using
openssl. When asked for the common name, use the hostname of the server where
the proxy will be running:

openssl req -new -x509 -days 365 -nodes -out self.pem -keyout self.pem

### Websock Javascript library

The `include/websock.js` Javascript library library provides a Websock
object that is similar to the standard WebSocket object but Websock
enables communication with raw TCP sockets (i.e. the binary stream)
via websockify. This is accomplished by base64 encoding the data
stream between Websock and websockify.

Websock has built-in receive queue buffering; the message event
does not contain actual data but is simply a notification that
there is new data available. Several rQ* methods are available to
read binary data off of the receive queue.

The Websock API is documented on the [websock.js API wiki page](

See the "Wrap a Program" section below for an example of using Websock
and websockify as a browser telnet client (`wstelnet.html`).

### Additional websockify features

These are not necessary for the basic operation.

* Daemonizing: When the `-D` option is specified, websockify runs
in the background as a daemon process.

* SSL (the wss:// WebSockets URI): This is detected automatically by
websockify by sniffing the first byte sent from the client and then
wrapping the socket if the data starts with '\x16' or '\x80'
(indicating SSL).

* Flash security policy: websockify detects flash security policy
requests (again by sniffing the first packet) and answers with an
appropriate flash security policy response (and then closes the
port). This means no separate flash security policy server is needed
for supporting the flash WebSockets fallback emulator.

* Session recording: This feature that allows recording of the traffic
sent and received from the client to a file using the `--record`

* Mini-webserver: websockify can detect and respond to normal web
requests on the same port as the WebSockets proxy and Flash security
policy. This functionality is activate with the `--web DIR` option
where DIR is the root of the web directory to serve.

* Wrap a program: see the "Wrap a Program" section below.

### Implementations of websockify

The primary implementation of websockify is in python. There are
several alternate implementations in other languages (C, Node.js,
Clojure, Ruby) in the `other/` subdirectory (with varying levels of

In addition there are several other external projects that implement
the websockify "protocol". See the alternate implementation [Feature
Matrix]( for
more information.

### Wrap a Program

In addition to proxying from a source address to a target address
(which may be on a different system), websockify has the ability to
launch a program on the local system and proxy WebSockets traffic to
a normal TCP port owned/bound by the program.

The is accomplished with a small LD_PRELOAD library (``)
which intercepts bind() system calls by the program. The specified
port is moved to a new localhost/loopback free high port. websockify
then proxies WebSockets traffic directed to the original port to the
new (moved) port of the program.

The program wrap mode is invoked by replacing the target with `--`
followed by the program command line to wrap.

`./websockify 2023 -- PROGRAM ARGS`

The `--wrap-mode` option can be used to indicate what action to take
when the wrapped program exits or daemonizes.

Here is an example of using websockify to wrap the vncserver command
(which backgrounds itself) for use with

`./websockify 5901 --wrap-mode=ignore -- vncserver -geometry 1024x768 :1`

Here is an example of wrapping telnetd (from krb5-telnetd).telnetd
exits after the connection closes so the wrap mode is set to respawn
the command:

`sudo ./websockify 2023 --wrap-mode=respawn -- telnetd -debug 2023`

The `wstelnet.html` page demonstrates a simple WebSockets based telnet

### Building the Python ssl module (for python 2.5 and older)

* Install the build dependencies. On Ubuntu use this command:

`sudo aptitude install python-dev bluetooth-dev`

* Download, build the ssl module and symlink to it:

`cd websockify/`


`tar xvzf ssl-1.15.tar.gz`

`cd ssl-1.15`


`cd ../`

`ln -sf ssl-1.15/build/lib.linux-*/ssl ssl`


0.4.0 - Mar 12, 2013

* ***NOTE*** : 0.5.0 will drop Hixie protocol support
* use Buffer base64 support in Node.js implementation

0.3.0 - Jan 15, 2013

* refactor into modules: websocket, websocketproxy
* switch to web-socket-js that uses IETF 6455
* change to MPL 2.0 license for include/*.js
* fix session recording

0.2.1 - Oct 15, 2012

* re-released with updated version number

0.2.0 - Sep 17, 2012

* Binary data support in websock.js
* Target config file/dir and multiple targets with token selector
* IPv6 fixes
* SSL target support
* Proxy to/from unix socket

0.1.0 - May 11, 2012

* Initial versioned release.

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