hitch - Man Page

high performance TLS proxy


hitch [OPTIONS] [PEM]


Hitch is a network proxy that terminates TLS/SSL connections and forwards the unencrypted traffic to some backend. It's designed to handle 10s of thousands of connections efficiently on multicore machines.

Hitch has very few features -- it's designed to be paired with an intelligent backend like Varnish Cache. It maintains a strict 1:1 connection pattern with this backend handler so that the backend can dictate throttling behavior, maximum connection behavior, availability of service, etc.

The only required argument is a path to a PEM file that contains the certificate (or a chain of certificates) and private key. It should also contain DH parameter if you wish to use Diffie-Hellman cipher suites.

Command Line Arguments


Load configuration from specified file.  See hitch.conf(5) for details.


Specifies which SSL/TLS protocols to use.  Available tokens are SSLv3, TLSv1.0, TLSv1.1, TLSv1.2 and TLSv1.3. (Default "TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3")

-c --ciphers=SUITE

Sets allowed ciphers (Default: "EECDH+AESGCM:EDH+AESGCM:AES256+EECDH:AES256+EDH")

-e --ssl-engine=NAME

Sets OpenSSL engine (Default: "")

-O --prefer-server-ciphers[=on|off]

Prefer server list order (Default: "off")


Enable client proxy mode

-b --backend=[HOST]:PORT

Backend endpoint (default is "[]:8000") The -b argument can also take a UNIX domain socket path E.g. --backend="/path/to/sock"

If --chroot is also specified, the UNIX domain socket path will be at runtime resolved from within the chroot, and must be specified with the path it is accessible from within the chroot. I.e. for a /run/hitch chroot and a /run/hitch/sock UNIX domain socket, configure the backend argument as /sock.

-f --frontend=[HOST]:PORT[+CERT]

Frontend listen endpoint (default is "[*]:8443") (Note: brackets are mandatory in endpoint specifiers.)

-n --workers=NUM|auto

Number of worker processes (Default: 1) Using auto value creates 1 worker per CPU core.

-B --backlog=NUM

Set listen backlog size (Default: 100)

-k --keepalive=SECS

TCP keepalive on client socket (Default: 3600)

-R --backend-refresh=SECS

Periodic backend IP lookup, 0 to disable (Default: 0)


Enable client-side TCP Fast Open. (Default: off)

-r --chroot=DIR

Sets chroot directory (Default: "")

-u --user=USER

Set uid/gid after binding the socket (Default: "")

-g --group=GROUP

Set gid after binding the socket (Default: "")

-q --quiet[=on|off]

Be quiet; emit only error messages (deprecated, use 'log-level')

-L --log-level=NUM

Log level. 0=silence, 1=err, 2=info/debug (Default: 1)

-l --log-filename=FILE

Send log message to a logfile instead of stderr/stdout

-s --syslog[=on|off]

Send log message to syslog in addition to stderr/stdout


Syslog facility to use (Default: "daemon")


Fork into background and become a daemon (Default: off)


Write 1 octet with the IP family followed by the IP address in 4 (IPv4) or 16 (IPv6) octets little-endian to backend before the actual data (Default: off)


Write HAProxy's PROXY v1 (IPv4 or IPv6) protocol line before actual data (Default: off)


Write HAProxy's PROXY v2 binary (IPv4 or IPv6) protocol line before actual data (Default: off)


Equivalent to --write-proxy-v2. For PROXY version 1 use --write-proxy-v1 explicitly


Proxy HAProxy's PROXY (IPv4 or IPv6) protocol before actual data (PROXYv1 and PROXYv2) (Default: off)


Abort handshake when client submits an unrecognized SNI server name (Default: off)


Sets the protocols for ALPN/NPN negotiation, provided as a list of comma-separated tokens.


Set OCSP staple cache directory This enables automated retrieval and stapling of OCSP responses (Default: "/var/lib/hitch/")


Backend connect timeout.


TLS handshake timeout.

-t --test

Test configuration and exit

-p --pidfile=FILE

PID file

-V --version

Print program version and exit

-h --help

This help message


Hitch was originally called stud and was written by Jamie Turner at Bump.com.

Referenced By