The end off all your self-sign certificate woes (in node.js at least)
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The end off all your self-signed certificate woes (in node.js at least)

This is an easy-as-git-clone example that will get you on your way without any DEPTH_ZERO_SELF_SIGNED_CERT or SSL certificate problem: Invalid certificate chain headaches.

See the explanation for the many details.

Also, you may be interested in coolaj86/nodejs-ssl-trusted-peer-example.

Test for yourself

An example that works.

├── package.json
├── serve.js
└── request-without-warnings.js

Get the repo

git clone
pushd nodejs-self-signed-certificate-example
npm install

For the super impatient:


Create certificates for your FQDN points to localhost, so it’s ideal for your first test.

bash ''
├── ca
│   ├── my-root-ca.crt.pem
│   ├── my-root-ca.key.pem
│   └──
├── client
│   ├── chain.pem
│   └── pubkey.pem
├── server
│   ├── cert.pem
│   ├── chain.pem
│   ├── fullchain.pem
│   └── privkey.pem
└── tmp
    └── csr.pem

Run the server

node ./serve.js 8043 &
# use `fg` and `ctrl+c` to kill

Test in a client

Test (warning free) in node.js

node ./request-without-warnings.js 8043

Test (warning free) with cURL

curl -v \
  --cacert certs/client/chain.pem

Note: on macOS curl’s --cacert option may not work properly and so you may need to add the cert to the system keychain (described below)

Visit in a web browser

To get rid of the warnings, simply add the certificate in the client folder to your list of certificates by alt-clicking “Open With => Keychain Access” on chain.pem

You do have to set Always Trust a few times as explained by Rob Peck.

Now season to taste

You can poke around in the files for generating the certificates, but all you really have to do is replace with your very own domain name.

But where’s the magic?

Who’s the man behind the curtain you ask?

Well... I lied. This demo doesn’t use self-signed certificates (not in the server at least). It uses a self-signed Root CA and a signed certificate.

It turns out that self-signed certificates were designed to be used by the Root Certificate Authorities, not by web servers.

So instead of trying to work through eleventeen brazillion errors about self-signed certs, you can just create an authority and then add the authority to your chain (viola, now it’s trusted).

Client Authentication

In the example above, the server trusts the client without the need for the client to be authenticated. So, a common enhancement to the example above would be to add client authentication. To add client authentication, it’s necessary to generate a client key and have it signed by the CA defined above. Execute to generate key and certificate. To use generated key and certificate, key, cert and passphrase TLS options need to be added, e.g.:

var ca = fs.readFileSync(path.join(__dirname, 'certs', 'client', 'chain.pem'));
var key = fs.readFileSync(path.join(__dirname, 'certs', 'client-auth', 'privkey.pem'));
var passphrase = 'secret';
var cert = fs.readFileSync(path.join(__dirname, 'certs', 'client-auth', 'cert.pem'));

var options = {
  host: hostname
, port: port
, path: '/'
, ca: ca
, key: key
, passphrase: passphrase
, cert: cert

Generating Java Key Stores

If the server component is written in Java, the server needs to be plugged with a Java KeyStore containing security certificates. In the example above, the fullchain.pem file needs to be converted into a Java KeyStore file. To create a Java KeyStore file, the JDK needs to be installed and have keytool utility in the path. To do that, please follow these instructions:

$ mkdir certs/java/server
$ openssl pkcs12 \
  -export \
  -inkey certs/server/privkey.pem \
  -in certs/server/fullchain.pem \
  -name test \
  -out certs/java/server/keystore_server.p12
$ keytool \
  -importkeystore \
  -srckeystore certs/java/server/keystore_server.p12 \
  -srcstoretype pkcs12 \
  -destkeystore certs/java/server/keystore_server.jks

Trust Store for Client Authentication

If using client authentication, it is necessary for the server to trust to the client. To do that, it’s necessary for a trust store to be created that contains the client’s public key. Such a trust store can be created using these steps:

$ rsync -a certs/ca/my-root-ca.crt.pem certs/client-auth/chain.pem
$ cat certs/client-auth/cert.pem certs/client-auth/chain.pem > certs/client-auth/fullchain.pem
$ openssl pkcs12
  \-inkey certs/client-auth/privkey.pem
  \-in certs/client-auth/fullchain.pem
  \-name test
  \-out certs/infinispan/trustore_server.p12
$ keytool
  \-srckeystore certs/infinispan/trustore_server.p12
  \-srcstoretype pkcs12
  \-destkeystore certs/infinispan/trustore_server.jks

Other SSL Resources

Zero-Config clone ‘n’ run (tm) Repos: