Enable Web Application Firewall using the Azure CLI

You can restrict traffic on an application gateway with a Web Application Firewall (WAF). The WAF uses OWASP rules to protect your application. These rules include protection against attacks such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting attacks, and session hijacks.

In this article, you learn how to:

  • Set up the network
  • Create an application gateway with WAF enabled
  • Create a virtual machine scale set
  • Create a storage account and configure diagnostics

Web Application Firewall example

If you prefer, you can complete this procedure using Azure PowerShell.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create an Azure free account before you begin.


  • This article requires version 2.0.4 or later of the Azure CLI. If using Azure Cloud Shell, the latest version is already installed.

Create a resource group

A resource group is a logical container into which Azure resources are deployed and managed. Create an Azure resource group named myResourceGroupAG with az group create.

az group create --name myResourceGroupAG --location eastus

Create network resources

The virtual network and subnets are used to provide network connectivity to the application gateway and its associated resources. Create a virtual network named myVNet and a subnet named myAGSubnet. then create a public IP address named myAGPublicIPAddress.

az network vnet create \
  --name myVNet \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --location eastus \
  --address-prefix \
  --subnet-name myBackendSubnet \

az network vnet subnet create \
  --name myAGSubnet \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --vnet-name myVNet \

az network public-ip create \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --name myAGPublicIPAddress \
  --allocation-method Static \
  --sku Standard

Create an application gateway with a WAF policy

You can use az network application-gateway create to create the application gateway named myAppGateway. When you create an application gateway using the Azure CLI, you specify configuration information, such as capacity, sku, and HTTP settings. The application gateway is assigned to myAGSubnet and myAGPublicIPAddress.

az network application-gateway waf-policy create \
  --name waf-pol \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --type OWASP \
  --version 3.2

az network application-gateway create \
  --name myAppGateway \
  --location eastus \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --vnet-name myVNet \
  --subnet myAGSubnet \
  --capacity 2 \
  --sku WAF_v2 \
  --http-settings-cookie-based-affinity Disabled \
  --frontend-port 80 \
  --http-settings-port 80 \
  --http-settings-protocol Http \
  --public-ip-address myAGPublicIPAddress \
  --waf-policy waf-pol \
  --priority 1

It may take several minutes for the application gateway to be created. After the application gateway is created, you can see these new features of it:

  • appGatewayBackendPool - An application gateway must have at least one backend address pool.
  • appGatewayBackendHttpSettings - Specifies that port 80 and an HTTP protocol is used for communication.
  • appGatewayHttpListener - The default listener associated with appGatewayBackendPool.
  • appGatewayFrontendIP - Assigns myAGPublicIPAddress to appGatewayHttpListener.
  • rule1 - The default routing rule that is associated with appGatewayHttpListener.

Create a virtual machine scale set

In this example, you create a virtual machine scale set that provides two servers for the backend pool in the application gateway. The virtual machines in the scale set are associated with the myBackendSubnet subnet. To create the scale set, you can use az vmss create.

Replace <username> and <password> with your values before you run this.

az vmss create \
  --name myvmss \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --image Ubuntu2204 \
  --admin-username <username> \
  --admin-password <password> \
  --instance-count 2 \
  --vnet-name myVNet \
  --subnet myBackendSubnet \
  --vm-sku Standard_DS2 \
  --upgrade-policy-mode Automatic \
  --app-gateway myAppGateway \
  --backend-pool-name appGatewayBackendPool

Install NGINX

az vmss extension set \
  --publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions \
  --version 2.0 \
  --name CustomScript \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --vmss-name myvmss \
  --settings '{ "fileUris": ["https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Azure/azure-docs-powershell-samples/master/application-gateway/iis/install_nginx.sh"],"commandToExecute": "./install_nginx.sh" }'

Create a storage account and configure diagnostics

In this article, the application gateway uses a storage account to store data for detection and prevention purposes. You could also use Azure Monitor logs or Event Hub to record data.

Create a storage account

Create a storage account named myagstore1 with az storage account create.

az storage account create \
  --name myagstore1 \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --location eastus \
  --sku Standard_LRS \
  --encryption-services blob

Configure diagnostics

Configure diagnostics to record data into the ApplicationGatewayAccessLog, ApplicationGatewayPerformanceLog, and ApplicationGatewayFirewallLog logs. Replace <subscriptionId> with your subscription identifier and then configure diagnostics with az monitor diagnostic-settings create.

appgwid=$(az network application-gateway show --name myAppGateway --resource-group myResourceGroupAG --query id -o tsv)

storeid=$(az storage account show --name myagstore1 --resource-group myResourceGroupAG --query id -o tsv)

az monitor diagnostic-settings create --name appgwdiag --resource $appgwid \
  --logs '[ { "category": "ApplicationGatewayAccessLog", "enabled": true, "retentionPolicy": { "days": 30, "enabled": true } }, { "category": "ApplicationGatewayPerformanceLog", "enabled": true, "retentionPolicy": { "days": 30, "enabled": true } }, { "category": "ApplicationGatewayFirewallLog", "enabled": true, "retentionPolicy": { "days": 30, "enabled": true } } ]' \
  --storage-account $storeid

Test the application gateway

To get the public IP address of the application gateway, use az network public-ip show. Copy the public IP address, and then paste it into the address bar of your browser.

az network public-ip show \
  --resource-group myResourceGroupAG \
  --name myAGPublicIPAddress \
  --query [ipAddress] \
  --output tsv

Test base URL in application gateway

Clean up resources

When no longer needed, remove the resource group, application gateway, and all related resources.

az group delete --name myResourceGroupAG 

Next steps

Customize web application firewall rules