GCP HTTP/HTTPS Load Balancers offer great performance, and today I learned of a cool almost hidden feature: the ability to stamp custom headers with client GeoIP info. Here’s a Terraform config snippet:

resource "google_compute_backend_service" "MY_BACKEND_SERVICE" {
  provider                 = google-beta
  name                     = "my-backend-service"
  health_checks            = [ google_compute_health_check.MY_HEALTHCHECK.id ]
  backed {
    group                  = google_compute_instance_group.MY_INSTANCE_GROUP.self_link
    balancing_mode         = "UTILIZATION"
    max_utilization        = 1.0
  }
  custom_request_headers   = [ "X-Client-Geo-Location: {client_region},{client_city}" ]
  custom_response_headers  = [ "X-Cache-Hit: {cdn_cache_status}" ]
}

This will cause the Backend Service to stamp all HTTP requests with a custom header called “X-Client-Geo-Location” with the country abbreviation and city. It can then be parsed on the server to get this information for the client without having to rely on messy X-Forwarded-For parsing and GeoIP lookups.

Here’s a Python example that redirects the user to UK or Australia localized websites:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import os

try:
   client_location = os.environ.get('HTTP_X_CLIENT_GEO_LOCATION', None)
   if client_location:
       [country,city] = client_location.split(',')
   websites = { 'UK': "www.foo.co.uk", 'AU': "www.foo.au" }
   if country in websites:
       local_website = websites[country]
   else:
       local_website = "www.foo.com"
   print("Status: 301\nLocation: https://{}\n".format(local_website))

except Exception as e:
   print("Status: 500\nContent-Type: text/plain\n\n{}".format(e))