sni-shunt(1) is a small utility to dispatch incoming TLS request to the apropriate backend according to the TLS Server Name.

It is inspired by calico, but calico only supports dispatching to UNIX domain sockets.

How to use it?

For instance, to choose the certificate file according to a pattern and then starting the httpd within the connexion, using s6-netowrking for handling TCP and TLS and httpfile for handling HTTP:

$ s6-tcpserver :: 443 \
  sni-shunt \
    -e KEYFILE=/etc/letsencrypt/live/%/privkey.pem \
    -e CERTFILE=/etc/letsencrypt/live/%/fullchain.pem \
  s6-tlsd \
  env UID="$(id -u www)" GID="$(id -g www)" ROOT="/srv/www/htdocs" \

How to get it?

No dependency other than libc and cc: the TLS SNI parsing is not so hard, and built in sni-shunt.

$ git clone git://
$ cd sni-shunt
$ make PREFIX=/usr/local MANPREFIX=/usr/local/man install

What is it for?

TLS clients send the ServerName to the server while connecting to indicate which certificate the server must send to it. sni-shunt uses this indication to choose something different depending on the ServerName sent by the client.

This permits to shunt the incoming TLS connexion to a different backend according to the domain name used to connect, even if it is the same IP address, without any httpd or other protocol-specific server.

This permits to use tools like () for multiple certificates by specifying it which one to use, even though s6-tlsserver support only one.

How does it work?

It expects to be run from inetd(8) or an UCSPI server program such as s6-tcpserver so that it has a listenning socket at file descriptor 0 (STDIN_FILENO).

Once a client opens a TLS session, it peeks at the first 1024 bytes and parse the Server Name value (no TLS library needed: rather simple parsing).

If found, it sets SERVER_NAME to the string encountered, as well as others variables according to patterns sent via the -e command line flag.

It is transparent to the backend, as the bytes it reads are still considered unread, due to MSG_PEEK of recv(2) so the back-end is still providing the TLS implementation. You read it right: the ServerName message is parsed twice.

Any benchmark?

sni-shunt does not aim high-performance, so no benchmark. But like calico, it adds very little overhead as it does a very small task and let the TLS handling to the child program.