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HTTP Proxy: Implementation

Continuing from “Concept Introduction” we will now see how a possible implementation is done.

To start implementing a proxy we must first create a simple server application which accepts a connection from a client to be redirected.

Creating Server

We start by creating a ServerSocket (for more information go here).

doIt( new ServerSocket( serverPort ) );

Now we need to implement the method doIt() which simply uses a non-stopping cycle to take requests.

public static void doIt( ServerSocket server )
            Socket request = server.accept();
            new RequestHandler( request ).start();
        catch( IOException e )
        {   e.printStackTrace(); continue;  }

Creating a RequestHandler

The object RequestHandler is the one that actually does all the work for one request. Because of that we thread it (more information here) so that the proxy can handle multiple requests at once. The utility functions used here are located at the end of the post.

The code to convert the request to HTTP/1.0 is as follows:

InputStream srcIs = source.getInputStream();
String req = readLine(srcIs);
Scanner head = new Scanner(req);
String request =;
String[] link = parseUrl(;
if(link[0].compareTo("http") != 0)
    throw new IOException("Incompatible Protocol");

request += String.format(" %s HTTP/1.0\r\n", link[3]);
String[] currentProperty = parseHttpHeader( readLine(srcIs) );
while(currentProperty != null)
        currentProperty = parseHttpHeader( readLine(srcIs) );
    request += String.format("%s:%s\r\n", currentProperty[0],
    currentProperty = parseHttpHeader( readLine(srcIs) );
request += "\r\n"; // Add last CRLF

The function isBanned is the filter for properties from HTTP/1.1:

private boolean isBanned(String[] property)
    return property[0].compareTo("Connection") == 0 ||
        property[0].compareTo("Keep-Alive") == 0 ||
        property[0].compareTo("Proxy-Connection") == 0;

Now that the request is ready, the only thing needed to be done, is to send the request and then dump the whole response from the server to the client.

InetAddress host = InetAddress.getByName(link[1]);
Socket destination = new Socket(host, Integer.parseInt(link[2]) );
OutputStream destOs = destination.getOutputStream();
InputStream destIs = destination.getInputStream();
dumpStream(destIs, source.getOutputStream());

Note: source is a socket that is passed in the RequestHandler constructor.

Utility Functions

The parseHttpHeader function parses the properties that a normal HTTP request has so we can easily remove the properties that are exclusive to HTTP1.1.

public static String[] parseHttpHeader( String header )
    String[] result = new String[2];
    int pos0 = header.indexOf( ':' );
    if( pos0 == -1 )
        return null;
    result[0] = header.substring( 0, pos0 ).trim();
    result[1] = header.substring( pos0 + 1 ).trim();
    return result;

The readLine function keeps reading from a InputStream until it reaches a “\r\n”.

public static String readLine( InputStream is ) throws IOException
    StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();
    int c;
    while( (c = ) >= 0 ) {
        if( c == '\r' ) continue;
        if( c == '\n' ) break ;
        sb.append( new Character( (char)c ) );
    return sb.toString();

The parseUrl function parses a header, for example “” will be transformed to:
[“http”, “”, “5000”, “/stuff/here/”].

public static String[] parseUrl(String url)
    String result[] = new String[4];
    int i = url.indexOf(':');
    result[0] = url.substring(0, i); // Protocol
    result[1] = url.substring(i+3);
    i = result[1].indexOf(':'); // Get possibly a port number
    int j = result[1].indexOf('/');
    // To parse the rest of the request
    result[2] = (i > 0 ? result[1].substring(i+1, j) : "80");
    result[3] = result[1].substring(j); // Request
    result[1] = (i > 0 ? result[1].substring(0, i) :
                                result[1].substring(0, j));
    //Concat so only the host remains
    return result;

The dumpStream function will also be used, you can find it here.

Thank you for reading. Comments are welcome!

Note: Credits for the functions readLine and parseHttpHeader go to ASC Department.