Introducing the Clipchamp API Reverse Proxy

Posted November 21, 2016
Written by Sören Balko

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    *** This product is discontinued ***

    In this blog post, we introduce our latest feature addition: a DNS-based reverse proxy for the Clipchamp API. That is, a reverse proxy lets you embed the Clipchamp API as if it was served from one of your own domains. This avoids that firewalls block your site when api.clipchamp.com is not on their domain whitelist and also helps to hide any “Clipchamp” branding from your users.

    About the Clipchamp API

    Clipchamp is the leading browser-based, HTML5-compliant webcam recording and video converter service. Our HTML5 video API gives website publishers access to our technology. That is, it lets you add a future-proof video ingestion tool to your website.

    The Clipchamp API converts and compresses user videos to standard formats. That includes:

    • MP4 (H.264 video and AAC audio)

    • FLV (Flash video)

    • WebM (VP8 video/Vorbis audio or VP9 video/Opus audio)

    • ASF (Windows Media)

    • GIF89a animations

    See here for all features the Clipchamp API has to offer. The Clipchamp API is a fully managed Cloud service. That is, we take care of the service’s maintenance and upkeep in a robust Cloud environment.

    All you need to do is to embed the Clipchamp API script on your website. You can either do so directly when using our JavaScript API. Alternatively, you can choose to use the Clipchamp plugin for WordPress, which automatically takes care of embedding the video recorder and uploader on your site.

    Under the hood of the Clipchamp API

    By default, you need to load the Clipchamp API’s button.js script from the domain. The Clipchamp API injects one ore more <script>  tags into the website. Subsequently, the Clipchamp API performs web requests. The Clipchamp API interacts with the Clipchamp Cloud backend to authorize uploading the user video directly from the browser to the pre-configured destination. This setup is convenient and works well for most Clipchamp API users.

    However, some websites need an even tighter coupling of the Clipchamp API to their domain. Scenarios include:

    • Bypassing a firewall: To flawlessly serve a website to a client behind a whitelist-based firewall can be a challenge. For instance, these firewalls are frequently in use at K-12 schools. Loading the Clipchamp API from its regular domain api.clipchamp.com may not be feasible without changing the firewall’s whitelist.

    • Consistent branding: Sometimes, browsers prompt the user to approve certain operations. This includes giving access to the microphone/webcam or approving the use of extra disk space. Typically, the corresponding browser dialogs show the domain name of the service performing the underlying operation (api.clipchamp.com  in our case).

    Browser permissions dialog when using the Clipchamp API without a reverse proxy

    Browser permissions dialog when using the Clipchamp API without a reverse proxy setup in place.

    Enter the DNS-based reverse proxy setup for the Clipchamp API

    With a few simple and cost-effective measures, we can now service the Clipchamp API to your website from a domain name that you own. Technically, the Clipchamp API reverse proxy is based on a combined DNS (CNAME) and Server Name Indication (SNI) approach. That is, you merely need to devise one of its (sub-)domain names for use by the Clipchamp API and provide a self-owned SSL certificate for that (sub-)domain. It is advisable to buy cheap wildcard SSL certificate for the main domain and subdomain's security from a reputable provider. It saves your money and time. 

    Specifically, she will simply need to add two records to the DNS zone of her domain:

    • A CNAME record, which aliases your (sub-)domain to the Clipchamp backend;

    • A TXT record that we use to validate that you actually own that domain;

    Once set up, that simple setup delivers the following benefits to websites:

    • Robust and cost effective: A DNS approach is both more robust and more cost effective than a HTTP-based reverse proxy. That is, our DNS-based reverse proxy approach does not channel any network traffic through your server.

    • Better reach and consistent branding: Whitelist-based firewalls will not block you website if it uses our reverse proxy setup. That is, your website does not perform any web requests to a Clipchamp domain. Furthermore, the reverse proxy setup eliminates all otherwise unavoidable occurrences of the Clipchamp brand name in our service.

    The reverse proxy setup is a feature of the Clipchamp API Enterprise plan. Get in touch with us at info(at)clipchamp.com to discuss your video transcoding and white-labelling requirements.

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