Using Encrypted Connections

Using Encrypted Connections

TigerGraph supports secure data-in-flight communication, using SSL/TLS encryption protocol. This applies to any outward-facing channel, including GSQL clients, RESTPP endpoints, and the GraphStudio web interface. When SSL/TLS is enabled, HTTPS takes the place of HTTP for RESTPP and GraphStudio connections.


You should have basic knowledge about how SSL works:

  1. What the SSL certificate and key are used for
  2. That a SSL certificate is bound to a domain
  3. How a SSL certificate chain works

A good primer on SSL is available to


TigerGraph uses the Nginx web server, so SSL configuration makes use of some built-in support in Nginx.

Step 1. Obtain a SSL Certificate

The two main options for obtaining a SSL Certificate are to generate your own self-signed certificate or to purchase a certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority. Regardless of which method you choose, your certificate should be chained to a trusted root certificate embedded in your browser. The options and details for producing a trusted SSL certificate are beyond the scope of this document. The focus of this document is how to use a configure your TigerGraph system to use the certificate to enable SSL.

Option 1: Using a Certificate From A Trusted Agent

First, obtain a SSL certificate from a trusted agent of your choice. Certificate vendors will provide clear instructions for ordering a certificate and then for installing it on your system.

Then you can configure the certificate with

gadmin –configure ssl

Option 2: Create a Self-Signed Certificate

There are multiple ways to create a self-signed certificate.  One example is shown below.

For simplicity, the method below will use the root certificate directly as the HTTPS server certificate.  This method is satisfactory for testing but should not be used for a production system.

In the example below, the Common Name value should be your server hostname, since HTTPS certificates are bound to domain names.

Self-Signed Certificate generation example using openssl
$ openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout ~/nginx-selfsigned.key -out ~/nginx-selfsigned.crt

Generating a 2048 bit RSA private key
writing new private key to ‘/home/tigergraph/nginx-selfsigned.key’
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter ‘.’, the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:US
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:California
Locality Name (eg, city) []:Redwood City
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:TigerGraph Inc.
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:GLE
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []: my.ip.addr.num
Email Address []

Change the Certificate Permission

For security reasons, the certifiactes can only be used with permission
600 or less

$ chmod 600 ~/nginx-selfsigned.*

Step 2: Configure SSL with gadmin

With the self-signed certificate successfully generated, you can configure it with gadmin, so that all the HTTP traffic will be protected with SSL.

$ gadmin –configure ssl

Enter new values or accept defaults in brackets with Enter.

Enable SSL with all HTTP responses (SSL Cert required): default False
Nginx.SSL.Enable [False]: True

Path to SSL cert bundle (domain cert, intermediate cert and root cert)
Nginx.SSL.Cert []: /home/tigergraph/nginx-selfsigned.crt

Path to SSL key
Nginx.SSL.Key []: /home/tigergraph/nginx-selfsigned.key

Test servers with supplied settings? [Y/n] Y

Success. All settings are valid
Save settings? [y/N] y

After saving the settings, apply the configuration settings.

$ gadmin config-apply

[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:16] check_config
[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:16] update_config_all
Local config modification Found, will restart dict server and update configures.
[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:21] launch_zookeepers
[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:31] gsql_mon_alert_on
[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:31] launch_zookeepers
[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:42] launch_gsql_subsystems:DICT
[FAB ][2017-12-12 18:48:42] gsql_mon_alert_on
Local config modification sync to dictionary successfully!

Then restart the external-facing services: gsql, nginx, and vis.

$ gadmin restart gsql nginx vis -y

Testing Your SSL Connection

Now you may test the connection.

A direct curl request to the server will fail due to certificate verification failure:

$ curl https://localhost:14240

curl: (60) server certificate verification failed. CAfile: /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt CRLfile: none
More details here:
curl performs SSL certificate verification by default, using a “bundle”
of Certificate Authority (CA) public keys (CA certs). If the default
bundle file isn’t adequate, you can specify an alternate file
using the –cacert option.
If this HTTPS server uses a certificate signed by a CA represented in
the bundle, the certificate verification probably failed due to a
problem with the certificate (it might be expired, or the name might
not match the domain name in the URL).
If you’d like to turn off curl’s verification of the certificate, use
the -k (or –insecure) option.

In v1.2, the default TCP/IP port for Nginx has changed from 44240 to 14240, to avoid possible port conflicts with Zookeeper.

You may use the -k option to turn off the verification, but it is


and not recommended.

To successfully make requests with curl, you will need to specify the certificate by using the –cacert parameter:

$ curl –cacert /home/tigergraph/nginx-selfsigned.crt https://localhost:14240

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