Building and Deploying a WebSocket server with Fargate and CDK

Building and Deploying a WebSocket server with Fargate and CDK

CDK Websocket Server

In this demo, we see how to build a simple WebSocket server using Amazon Elastic Container Service with Fargate. This demo also includes an Amazon CloudFront Distribution, Application Load Balancer, and Auto Scaling group. This will allow the server to scale up as needed while using TLS to secure the communication.


ECS Fargate

Docker Build

FROM --platform=linux/arm64 node:20
WORKDIR /usr/src/app
COPY . .
RUN yarn && yarn build
CMD [ "node", "dist/server.js" ]

The Docker build is a simple Typescript based server that runs on NodeJS. This Dockerfile will copy the contents of the source directory and use tsc to transpile the Typescript file into Javascript before running.

Cluster and Auto Scaling Group

First we will create the cluster that our container will run in.

this.cluster = new Cluster(this, 'Cluster', {
  vpc: props.vpc,
  clusterName: 'websocket-service',

const autoScalingGroup = new AutoScalingGroup(this, 'AutoScalingGroup', {
  vpc: props.vpc,
  instanceType: new InstanceType('m6i.large'),
  machineImage: EcsOptimizedImage.amazonLinux2(),
  desiredCapacity: 1,


const capacityProvider = new AsgCapacityProvider(this, 'capacityProvider', {
  autoScalingGroup: autoScalingGroup,


This cluster is running in a newly created VPC and includes an Auto Scaling Group.

Fargate Task Definition

Next, we will create a Fargate container that will run our WebSocket Server. This will consist of several configurations that need to work together.

const webSocketTask = new FargateTaskDefinition(
    memoryLimitMiB: 2048,
    cpu: 1024,
    runtimePlatform: {
      operatingSystemFamily: OperatingSystemFamily.LINUX,
      cpuArchitecture: CpuArchitecture.ARM64,
    taskRole: websocketServiceRole,

Here we are setting up the basics of our compute. This Task will use ARM64 compute. All components must be configured to use the same type of compute.

Fargate Container

Next we will set up our container.

webSocketTask.addContainer('WebSocketContainer', {
  image: ContainerImage.fromAsset('src/resources/containerImage'),
  containerName: 'websocket-service',
  portMappings: [{ containerPort: 8080, hostPort: 8080 }],
  logging: LogDrivers.awsLogs({
    streamPrefix: 'websocket-service',
  healthCheck: {
    command: ['CMD-SHELL', 'curl -f http://localhost:8080/health'],
    interval: Duration.seconds(30),
    timeout: Duration.seconds(30),
  environment: {},

There are several key components here.

Port Mappings

In this example, we are using port 8080 on the container and host. Later we will see how to map the public facing port to this port.

Health Check

This container is also configured to perform periodic health checks to verify the container is running correctly. In this example, we are running a curl on the server.

Fargate Service

Finally, we will create the Service using the previously created Task.

const websocketService = new FargateService(this, 'WebSocketService', {
  cluster: this.cluster,
  taskDefinition: webSocketTask,
  assignPublicIp: true,
  desiredCount: 1,
  vpcSubnets: { subnetType: SubnetType.PUBLIC },
  securityGroups: [webSocketServiceSecurityGroup],
  enableExecuteCommand: true,

With the Fargate created, we can tie this to an Application Load Balancer.

Security Group

To ensure that only the Application Load Balancer can make requests to the Fargate container, we will attach a Security Group to the Fargate Service and allow the Application Load Balancer Security Group access to it.

const albSecurityGroup = new SecurityGroup(this, 'ALBSecurityGroup', {
  vpc: props.vpc,
  description: 'Security Group for ALB',
  allowAllOutbound: true,

  new Connections({
    securityGroups: [albSecurityGroup],
  'allow traffic on port 8080 from the ALB security group',

Application Load Balancer

this.applicationLoadBalancer = new ApplicationLoadBalancer(
    vpc: this.vpc,
    internetFacing: true,

The Application Load Balancer is created and associated with the VPC.

Target Group

const webSocketTargetGroup = new ApplicationTargetGroup(
    vpc: props.vpc,
    port: 8080,
    protocol: ApplicationProtocol.HTTP,
    targets: [websocketService],
    healthCheck: {
      path: '/',
      protocol: Protocol.HTTP,
      port: '8080',

First, we will create a Target Group. This is where traffic will be sent. Here we can see port 8080 as the port to send traffic to on the container. This corresponds to the port exposed on the Fargate container. This Target Group will forward requests to the Fargate Service. This Application Load Balancer also includes a health check. This health check is different from the previously created health check as the Application Load Balancer is initiating this check rather than the container itself.


const webSocketListener = props.applicationLoadBalancer.addListener(
    port: 80,
    protocol: ApplicationProtocol.HTTP,
    open: true,
    defaultAction: ListenerAction.fixedResponse(403),

webSocketListener.addAction('ForwardFromCloudFront', {
  conditions: [
    ListenerCondition.httpHeader(props.customHeader, [props.randomString]),
  action: ListenerAction.forward([webSocketTargetGroup]),
  priority: 1,

Next we will create a Listener. Here we can see the listener is listening on port 80. This is where we made the conversion from port 80 to port 8080. We are using Protocol HTTP. The server will upgrade this HTTP request to WebSocket when it is received.


To restrict access to the Application Load Balancer we will be adding a unique header to the CloudFront Distribution and a corresponding condition on the Application Load Balancer.

We do that here by creating a default action that responds with a 403. This means that the Application Load Balancer will reject any request unless it includes a specific Header and Value. In this case, the Application Load Balancer will forward the request to the webSocketTargetGroup. We will be adding this Header and Value on the Origin of the CloudFront Distribution in the next step.

Note that the Application Load Balancer is using HTTP and not HTTPS. We will be enforcing HTTPS at the Cloudfront Distribution layer. Be only allowing traffic to our Application Load Balancer from our CloudFront Distribution, we can enforce HTTPS be used from the Client. This allows us to create a secure connection without a owning a domain that can be used to generate the certificate.

Cloudfront Distribution

Finally, we will create our CloudFront Distribution. This will be used to provide TLS to our Application Load Balancer.

const defaultOrigin = new LoadBalancerV2Origin(props.applicationLoadBalancer, {
  httpPort: 80,
  protocolPolicy: OriginProtocolPolicy.HTTP_ONLY,
  originId: 'defaultOrigin',

this.distribution = new Distribution(this, 'Distribution', {
  defaultBehavior: {
    origin: defaultOrigin,
    viewerProtocolPolicy: ViewerProtocolPolicy.HTTPS_ONLY,
    cachePolicy: CachePolicy.CACHING_DISABLED,
    allowedMethods: AllowedMethods.ALLOW_ALL,
    originRequestPolicy: OriginRequestPolicy.ALL_VIEWER,
  defaultRootObject: 'index.html',
  priceClass: PriceClass.PRICE_CLASS_100,
  logBucket: distributionLoggingBucket,
  enableLogging: true,

Here we are creating a CloudFront Distribution that only accepts HTTPS. This will create a certificate that is used by the Distribution. This Distribution will send that traffic to our Application Load Balancer on port 80.

Custom Header

In order to provide the security outlined above using Custom Headers and Values, we must add those Headers and Values to the Origination. Unfortunately, that feature does not existing natively in CDK. Therefore, we will use a Custom Resource to add the Headers and Values.

new CustomResource(this, 'customHeaderCustomResource', {
  serviceToken: customHeaderCustomResourceProvider.serviceToken,
  properties: {
    DistributionId: this.distribution.distributionId,
    Origins: [
        OriginId: 'defaultOrigin',
        CustomHeaders: [
            HeaderName: props.customHeader,
            HeaderValue: props.randomString,

Using the previously created Distribution, we will pass the information to our Custom Resource that will be added to the Distribution.

Custom Resource

const updatedOrigins = Distribution.DistributionConfig!.Origins!.Items!.map(
  (origin: any) => {
    const matchedOrigin = Origins.find((o: any) => o.OriginId === origin.Id);
    if (matchedOrigin) {
      return {
        CustomHeaders: {
          Quantity: matchedOrigin.CustomHeaders.length,
          Items: any) => ({
            HeaderName: header.HeaderName,
            HeaderValue: header.HeaderValue,
    return origin;

Within the Custom Resource, we will GetDistributionConfiguration and match up the origin with the desired Header and Value. Using this updated configuration, we will UpdateDistributionConfiguration. Now, when a request is made to our CloudFront Distribution, it will add this Header and Value to the request to the Application Load Balancer. This, in turn, will forward the request to our Fargate Service.


We have now created an auto-scaling, load-balanced application that is secured with HTTPS using a CloudFront Distribution. This will allow you to build a secure WebSocket server that will automatically adapt to your traffic needs.


To deploy this demo, simply run:

yarn launch


This demo does include services that can accumulate costs, so be sure to remove when not needed. To delete:

yarn cdk destroy

You may have to manually delete the Auto Scaling Group if it is not able to automatically delete.