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Proxying the Clerk Frontend API

Clerk supports two configuration methods for connecting to the Clerk Frontend API: CNAME and Proxy.

The recommended way to connect to the Clerk Frontend API is to set up CNAME records and use DNS. However, if you're unable to use this approach, or would like more control over your integration with Clerk, you can use a proxy.

When using a proxy, all requests to the Frontend API will be made through your domain. This allows you to use your own SSL certificate, and gives you more control over how you configure your application.

How to use proxying

Create your application and install Clerk

To get started, you need to create an application from the Clerk Dashboard. Once you create an instance via the Clerk Dashboard, you will be prompted to choose a domain. For the purposes of this guide, the domain will be app.dev.

Note

For more information on creating a Clerk application, check out our Set up your application guide.

Configure your proxy server

For this example, /__clerk is used as the path for the proxy. Your proxy server must be on the same domain as your application.

You can choose any path you'd like, but it must be unique and not conflict with any other routes in your application.

Requirements

Requests to https://app.dev/__clerk/* must be forwarded to https://frontend-api.clerk.dev/* with the body and all headers intact.

Three additional headers must be set

  • Clerk-Proxy-Url: Needs to have the full proxy URL.
  • Clerk-Secret-Key: The secret key for your Clerk instance.
  • X-Forwarded-For: The IP address of the original client making the request.

Example configuration

nginx.conf
http {
  # ...
  server {
    # ...
    location /__clerk/ {
      rewrite ^/__clerk/(.*)$ /$1 break;
      proxy_pass https://frontend-api.clerk.dev;
      proxy_set_header Clerk-Proxy-Url https://app.dev/__clerk;
      proxy_set_header Clerk-Secret-Key sk_live_***;
      proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $remote_addr;
      proxy_redirect off;
    }
  }
}
src/index.ts
  export default {
    async fetch(req: Request, env: Env, _ctx: ExecutionContext): Promise<Response> {
      const url = req.url.replace(env.CLERK_PROXY_URL, env.CLERK_FAPI)
      const proxyReq = new Request(req, {
        redirect: 'manual',
      });

      proxyReq.headers.set('Clerk-Proxy-Url', env.CLERK_PROXY_URL);
      proxyReq.headers.set('Clerk-Secret-Key', env.CLERK_SECRET_KEY);
      proxyReq.headers.set('X-Forwarded-For', req.headers.get('CF-Connecting-IP') || '');

      return fetch(url, proxyReq);
    },
  };
wrangler.toml
  name = "cloudflare-proxy"
  main = "src/index.ts"
  compatibility_date = "2023-10-02"

  [vars]
  CLERK_FAPI="https://frontend-api.clerk.dev"
.dev.vars
  # Do not commit this file to source control
  CLERK_PROXY_URL="https://app.dev/__clerk"
  CLERK_SECRET_KEY="sk_live_xxxxx"
worker-configuration.d.ts
  interface Env {
    CLERK_FAPI: string;
    CLERK_PROXY_URL: string;
    CLERK_SECRET_KEY: string;
  }

Note

Every proxy configuration will be different and we're here to help. Please reach out if there's a specific use-case you're looking to solve.

Enable proxying

In order to enable proxying, you need to set a proxy URL for your Clerk instance's domain. This can be done through the Clerk Dashboard or through the Backend API.

Note

To avoid downtime, your proxy must be set up according to the above configuration before it can be enabled for your instance. Make sure your proxy forwards requests to the Clerk Frontend API correctly and includes the required headers.

  1. In the Clerk Dashboard, go to the Domains page.
  2. Navigate to the Frontend API section.
  3. Select the Advanced drop down.
  4. In the Proxy URL field, enter your proxy URL. The proxy URL must be a valid URL and resolve correctly.

The request below will update the domain to use the proxy URL https://app.dev/__clerk. In doing so, it will trigger checks to validate the proxy URL.

curl -X PATCH https://api.clerk.com/v1/domains/{{DOMAIN ID}} \
    -H "Authorization: Bearer {{SECRET KEY}}" \
    -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
    -d '{"proxy_url": "https://app.dev/__clerk"}}'

Configure your proxy setup

You can configure your proxy setup by either:

  • Setting environment variables
  • Using properties in your application

Environment variables

To configure your proxy setup using environment variables, your .env.local file should look like this:

.env.local
NEXT_PUBLIC_CLERK_PUBLISHABLE_KEY=YOUR_PUBLISHABLE_KEY
CLERK_SECRET_KEY=YOUR_SECRET_KEY

NEXT_PUBLIC_CLERK_PROXY_URL=https://app.dev/__clerk
.env.local
CLERK_PUBLISHABLE_KEY=YOUR_PUBLISHABLE_KEY
CLERK_SECRET_KEY=YOUR_SECRET_KEY

CLERK_PROXY_URL=https://app.dev/__clerk

You will only need to set environment variables in your JavaScript application if you are using a bundler (the NPM module method for ClerkJS installation). If you are using the <script> method, configure your proxy setup using properties in your application instead.

.env.local
CLERK_PUBLISHABLE_KEY=YOUR_PUBLISHABLE_KEY
CLERK_SECRET_KEY=YOUR_SECRET_KEY

CLERK_PROXY_URL=https://app.dev/__clerk

To configure your proxy setup using properties in your Next.js application, set the proxyUrl property on the <ClerkProvider> component.

app/layout.tsx
import { ClerkProvider } from '@clerk/nextjs';

export default function RootLayout({
  children,
}: {
  children: React.ReactNode
}) {
  return (
    <ClerkProvider proxyUrl='https://app.dev/__clerk'>
      <html lang="en">
        <body>{children}</body>
      </html>
    </ClerkProvider>
  )
}
_app.tsx
import { ClerkProvider } from "@clerk/nextjs";
import type { AppProps } from "next/app";

function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }: AppProps) {
  return (
    <ClerkProvider proxyUrl='https://app.dev/__clerk' {...pageProps}>
      <Component {...pageProps} />
    </ClerkProvider>
  );
}
export default MyApp;

To configure your proxy setup using properties in your Remix application, set the proxyUrl property on the ClerkApp wrapper.

root.tsx
  export const loader = (args) => {
    return rootAuthLoader(
      args,
      ({ request }) => {
        const { userId, sessionId, getToken } = request.auth;
        return json({
            message: `Hello from the root loader :)`,
            ENV: getBrowserEnvironment(),
        });
      },
      {
        loadUser: true,
        proxyUrl: 'https://app.dev/__clerk'
      } as const
    );
  };

  export default ClerkApp(App, {
    proxyUrl: 'https://app.dev/__clerk'
  });

To configure your proxy setup using properties in your JavaScript application, pass the proxyUrl option to the load() method.

main.js
  import { Clerk } from '@clerk/clerk-js';

  // Initialize Clerk with your Clerk publishable key
  const clerk = new Clerk('YOUR_PUBLISHABLE_KEY');

  await clerk.load({
    proxyUrl: 'https://app.dev/__clerk',
  });
index.html
  <!-- Initialize Clerk with your
  Clerk Publishable key and Frontend API URL -->
  <script
    async
    crossorigin="anonymous"
    data-clerk-publishable-key="YOUR_PUBLISHABLE_KEY"
    src="https://YOUR_FRONTEND_API_URL/npm/@clerk/clerk-js@latest/dist/clerk.browser.js"
    type="text/javascript"
  ></script>

  <script>
    window.addEventListener("load", async function () {
      await Clerk.load({
        proxyUrl: 'https://app.dev/__clerk',
      });
    });
  </script>

Ready to go πŸŽ‰

Your application should now be able to access Clerk's Frontend API from your proxy!

If you have any questions about proxying, or you're having any trouble setting this up, please contact support@clerk.com.

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