Outside Access

The NUC that I bought a while back has mainly just been used to run a Plex server. Lately I’ve been playing with setting different things up on my Raspberry Pis, including my own internal DNS. Then I was talking to a colleague of mine about my Munin setup and I really wanted to show him what I’m doing. So, perhaps a little radically, I devided to open up access to the outside world

Now, I know what you’re saying: “That’s crazy! No way you can make it secure.” and that’s partially true. I can’t make it 100% secure, but I can make it as secure as I can (tautology alert!).

I grabbed one of the Raspberry PI 3B I hadn’t yet coerced into being a playground and I created new ansible roles to setup nginx. The way it works, is relatively straight-forward. The Pi gets a static IP:, to which I route all external traffic on port 80 and 443. The internal DNS does the same, matching my internal domain name and re-routing it directly to the Pi, instead of letting it go out into the world wide web.

The nginx setup then gets a separate (but ansible generated) config file for each subdomain I want to make available. Ansible variables are used to set the name of the subdomain and the IP and port to which the domain will eventually proxy. Then we add a clever trick to require basic auth credentials only when coming in from the outside world:

satisfy any;
deny all;

auth_basic "Restricted";
auth_basic_user_file /etc/nginx/.htpasswd;

This way we either allow all acccess from inside the local network or else we require Basic Auth.

The next step is to acquire an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt which covers all the subdomains. This way the username and password are encrypted in flight and can’t be sniffed by middle-men.