Deploying behind API gateways

Open Zaak relies on fully qualified URLs - that is, URLs with scheme, host/domain, and path segments - to locate resources, both provided by the Open Zaak instance itself or external resource.

API resources are identified by these fully qualified URLs and determine if Open Zaak can do a database lookup (because the resource is owned by Open Zaak) or if a network call needs to be made to retrieve it (e.g. a reference to a geometric object in the BAG).

This requires that Open Zaak is deployed on “a canonical” domain. Most deployments are automatically configured correctly for this, but API gateways tend to complicate this.

This reference documents your configuration options when you are using advanced network topology, such as deploying behind an API gateway (like NLX) without also ‘publicly’ exposing the service.

How Open Zaak builds URLs

Normally Open Zaak builds absolute URIs based on the context of the incoming HTTP request by looking at the Host header. This allows you to expose the service on multiple host names (e.g. internal Kubernetes service names and a public host name protected with TLS certificates).

Reverse proxies (such as Kubernetes ingresses) typically take the incoming HTTP request and relay this information in the X-Forwarded-Host header which is received by Open Zaak.

API gateways

Not all API gateways correctly rewrite the host or even path information from the original incoming request.

Consider the following scenario:

  • API gateway is “publicly” accessible at

  • the Zaken API is exposed at

  • internally, the Open Zaak service is available on the DNS name open-zaak.namespace.svc.cluster.local

  1. The client then makes a request GET

  2. The API gateway translates this into a GET http://open-zaak.namespace.svc.cluster.local:8000

  3. Open Zaak gets the Host: open-zaak.namespace.svc.cluster.local header, and will build all response data URLs based on this host.

This is problematic, as the client cannot handle these internal service names and use them for follow up API calls.

Additionally, there may be another layer of abstraction where the client hits a URL/service that is specific to that client, which is the case with NLX outways.

Forcing host rewrites

To mitigate this, you can force Open Zaak to rewrite the Host header if this cannot be solved at the infrastructure level, by using two settings:

  • OPENZAAK_DOMAIN, which specifies the canonical host of your Open Zaak instance. Any incoming HTTP request will then be rewritten as if this was the host requested by the client.

  • OPENZAAK_REWRITE_HOST must be set to True for this to take effect, and this setting conflict with the USE_X_FORWARDED_HOST setting. The latter will tell Open Zaak to trust and use the value set by reverse proxy in front of Open Zaak. It is ignored if you force rewrites with OPENZAAK_DOMAIN

Absolute URLs outside of HTTP requests contexts

At times Open Zaak needs to build absolute URLs without an HTTP request context being available, such as command-line scripts or certain admin synchronization steps.

If the OPENZAAK_DOMAIN is not empty, then this value will be used for those URLs, otherwise the Site configuration (from the admin) will be used.