Ruby Net::HTTP & Proxies

I ran into a really annoying issue today with Ruby and the Net::HTTP class when trying to make requests out via the restrictive corporate proxy at the office.

The documentation states that “Net::HTTP will automatically create a proxy from the http_proxy environment variable if it is present.” however I was repeatedly seeing my connections fail and a tcpdump confirmed that they weren’t even attempting to transit the proxy server.

Turns out that this proxy transversal only takes place if Net::HTTP is invoked as an object, however if you invoke one of it’s methods directly it ignores the proxy environmentals entirely.

The following example application demonstrates the issue:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'net/http'

puts "Your proxy is #{ENV["http_proxy"]}"

puts "This will work with your proxy settings:"
uri       = URI('')
request   =, uri.port)
response  = request.get(uri)
puts response.code

puts "This won't:"
uri = URI('')
response = Net::HTTP.get_response(uri)
puts response.code

Which will give you something like:

Your proxy is
This will work with your proxy settings:
This won't:
/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:878:in `initialize': No route to host - connect(2) (Errno::EHOSTUNREACH)
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:878:in `open'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:878:in `block in connect'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/timeout.rb:52:in `timeout'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:877:in `connect'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:862:in `do_start'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:851:in `start'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:582:in `start'
    from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0/usr/lib/ruby/2.0.0/net/http.rb:477:in `get_response'
    from ./proxyexample.rb:18:in `<main>'

Very annoying!

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2 Responses to Ruby Net::HTTP & Proxies

  1. Thankful Developer says:

    Ohhh my goodness, I’m having this same issue! This was my saving grace. Thanks for posting.

  2. Matt Kulka says:

    Thanks. I hit this today and this post really surfaced the problem.

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