Protect your website with Dedicated WAF

Technical additional documentation


In this document, we will describe how to protect a website hosted on Flexible Engine using the following components :

  • ECS – To host the website (using NGINX)

  • DNS – Public zone to bind certificate

  • Dedicated ELB – Expose public IP and add resiliency to the service

  • Dedicated WAF – Protect web site from attack

Create Dedicated Web Application Firewall

On flexible Engine homepage select : Dedicated WAF Application Firewall

Apply for a Dedicated Engine

To keep high availability, it is recommended to use at least 2 WAF instances on 2 different AZ. For our example we will only configure one. Others can be added on demand later.

Specifications will depend on the traffic and the expected load

For 1 WAFWI-500WI-100
Throughput500 Mbit/s QPS: 10 000100 Mbit/s QPS: 2 000
WAF-to-Server connections supported60 000 per instance 5 000 per domain60 000 per instance 5 000 per domain

Add instance name prefix

Select your VPC, Subnet and Security Group

Then click on Create now

Once your WAF instance is created, go to Instance Management and note the IP Address (ex :, it will be needed to configure the listener of the Elastic Load Balancer.

Please note that Access Status should be Inaccessible as no website and load balancer are configured yet.

Create Dedicated Elastic Load Balancer

To expose our service on Internet and add resiliency we will created a Dedicated LoadBalancer

On Flexible Engine homepage, In Network, Select Elastic Load Balancer

Created Elastic Load Balancer and select Dedicated

Select one or more AZ for higher availability

Enable Cross-VPC Backend

Select your VPC and Subnet where Dedicated WAF is deployed

Create or used an Existing Elastic IP (public IP)

Select Network Load Balancing, and choose specifications regarding your network needs.

Add a Name and finally click “Create Now”

Once your Elastic Load Balancer instance is created, go to Instance Management and note the Elastic IP Address (ex :, it will be needed to configure the DNS records later.

Add a listener

In Network Console, Select your Elastic Load Balancer

Add a Listener and select your Frontend Protocol (port which the ELB will listen on).

Create a new Backend Server Group, Enable Health Check then click on Finish.

Add WAF instance to Backend Server Group

In your Backend Server Group select Cross-VPC Backend Servers

and your WAF Intance IP and Backend Port (which corresponds to your client protocol on WAF).

Configure Domain Name Service

Generate Certificate with Certbot on ECS

On an Elastic Cloud Server

First install Certbot on an Ubuntu (or other OS) server :

sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-apache

more information about Certbot here :

Generate a certificate for our DNS Service

sudo certbot -d --manual --preferred-challenges dns certonly

Deploy DNS TXT record

After entering the previous command you will be provide a DNS TXT entry to add to your DNS :

Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
Plugins selected: Authenticator manual, Installer None
Obtaining a new certificate
Performing the following challenges:
dns-01 challenge for
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NOTE: The IP of this machine will be publicly logged as having requested this
certificate. If you're running certbot in manual mode on a machine that is not
your server, please ensure you're okay with that.
Are you OK with your IP being logged?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(Y)es/(N)o: Y
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Please deploy a DNS TXT record under the name with the following value:
Before continuing, verify the record is deployed.

Let’s go back to Flexible Engine Console :

  1. in Domain Name Service

  2. Select public zone

  3. Edit your Domain Name

  4. Add Record Set

Name :

Value : “I5pZYMm4hIriogbvysKnh7jY0JjmpNOavqmQGSpX1iM”

Important : you need to add quotes to the value

Now that the record is set, we can go back to your ECS and certbot to continue the procedure and press “Enter” to continue.

Note the folder were the certificates are store, we will need it to add the certificate to the API Gateway Domain Name.


  • Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at: /etc/letsencrypt/live/ Your key file has been saved at: /etc/letsencrypt/live/ Your cert will expire on 2022-10-11. To obtain a new or tweaked version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again. To non-interactively renew all of your certificates, run “certbot renew”

Add A record

As we are configuring the DNS, we will add a A record to map the URL to the Elastic IP of our Load Balancer

Configure Dedicated WAF certificate

Add SSL Certificate

Object -> Certificates -> Upload Certificate

Add a Certificate Name

on your ECS server, display the content of the Certficate file :

sudo cat /etc/letsencrypt/live/

and past it to Certificate content on Dedicated WAF

then do the same for the Private Key

sudo cat /etc/letsencrypt/live/

and past it to Certificate content on Dedicated WAF

Create Website Settings

Click on Website Settings and Add Website

Add a Website Name

Add your website URL in Protect Object

In Server Configuration :

Client Protocol correspond to the protocol used when a client requests access to the origin server.

Server protocol is used when WAF forwards client requests to the origin server.

In the previous example, we use HTTPS for both protocols and Server Address is the ECS Private IP address which will host our website.

And finally Confirm your configuration

TLS Configuration

To be compliant with the latest security standard now let’s customize the TLS configuration.

In Website Settings, click on your Domain Name, ex :

Edit TLS Configuration and Select TLS v1.2 and Cipher Suite 2

Configure Webserver

On your ECS, copy the certificate files generated with certbot to a new directory :

mkdir /etc/ssl/nginx
sudo cp /etc/letsencrypt/live/
sudo cp /etc/letsencrypt/live/

Edit NGINX default site configuration file and add the following files :

server {
        listen 80 default_server;
        listen [::]:80 default_server;
        listen 443 ssl;
        ssl_certificate /etc/ssl/nginx/fullchain.pem;
        ssl_certificate_key /etc/ssl/nginx/privkey.pem;

Restart NGINX service :

sudo systemctl restart nginx


Verify your SSL, TLS & Ciphers implementation

SSL verification is necessary to ensure your certificate parameters are as expected. There are multiple ways to check the SSL certificate; however, testing through an online tool provides you with much useful information listed below.

SSL Labs by Qualys is one of the most popular SSL testing tools to check all the latest vulnerabilities & misconfiguration.

  • Certificate issuer, validity, algorithm used to sign

  • Protocol details, cipher suites, handshake simulation

Go on SSL Labs site and test your URL, you should get A rating.