nginx and upstream Content-Length

Yaniv Aknin yaniv at
Fri Sep 30 14:35:59 UTC 2011

Well, I appreciate the time every contributor to nginx put into the project
and especially your and Igor's work, and I know I don't dictate the priority
of your TODO, but I humbly think this is a far more serious issue than
you're portraying.

Simply put, this bug can cause nginx to cause an otherwise *noticeable data
corruption* to become a *silent data corruption* (including the serious
cache poisoning ramifications), and I think there are few bugs less urgent
than that.

Anyhow, I've said all I have to say on the matter, so unless further
information comes up on this, I'll leave this topic alone (at least until
I'll get off my bum and come back here with a suggested patch to fix

Thank you for your concise, timely and complete reply,
 - Yaniv

On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM, Maxim Dounin <mdounin at> wrote:

> Hello!
> On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:11:53AM +0300, Yaniv Aknin wrote:
> > In a recent thread on the uwsgi mailing list[1], I began suspecting that
> > nginx will not honor an upstream's Content-Length header. i.e., if an
> > upstream mentions a Content-Length of 1,000 bytes, but the connection is
> > broken after 500 bytes, nginx will still happily serve this entity with a
> > 200 OK status.
> Status code 200 is irrelevant - as it's generally not possible to
> know if connection will be broken in advance (i.e. before sending
> status).
> > This may be a known bug in nginx, I wanted to be certain I indeed
> understand
> > it correctly and raise the attention to it on the nginx mailing list -
> > because I think this is a very serious bug with potentially disastrous
> > consequences, as I describe below.
> >
> > I was able to confirm this both for uwsgi_pass and proxy_pass; if the
> > upstream sets a Content-Length and then breaks the connection before that
> > length was achieved, nginx will pass this onwards to the client.
> > Furthermore, since the upstream protocol is HTTP 1.0 but the nginx-client
> > protocl is HTTP 1.1 (with keepalive), the request will simply not
> terminate,
> > because the client can't tell that the server has nothing more to send
> and
> > nginx will not break the connection, despite the fact its connection with
> > the upstream was broken and there's no chance this request will ever be
> > fulfilled.
> >
> > Things get far worse with gzip compression on - nginx will remove the
> > Content-Length header sent by the client and replace it with chunked
> > encoding - /incorrect chunked encoding/, that will make the client
> believe
> > it has the full entity, even though it has only a part of this.
> Yes, this is a known problem.  Upstream module expects backend to
> behave properly, and if it misbehaves (or, more importantly,
> connection is broken for some reason) bad things may happen.
> Upstream's module code needs carefull auditing to fix this.  It's
> somewhere in my TODO (though not very high).
> Maxim Dounin
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> nginx at
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