Connections between Dgraph database and its clients can be secured using TLS. In
addition, Dgraph can now secure gRPC communications between Dgraph Alpha and
Dgraph Zero server nodes using mutual TLS (mTLS). Dgraph can now also secure
communications over the Dgraph Zero
gRPC-external-private port used by
Dgraph’s Live Loader and Bulk Loader clients. To learn more about the HTTP and
gRPC ports used by Dgraph Alpha and Dgraph Zero, see Ports Usage.
Password-protected private keys are not supported.
To further improve TLS security, only TLS v1.2 cypher suites that use 128-bit or greater RSA or AES encryption are supported.
openssl, be sure to specify the encryption algorithm explicitly (like
-aes256). This will force
DEK-Infoheader in private key, which is required to decrypt the key by Dgraph. When default encryption is used,
openssldoesn’t write that header and key can’t be decrypted.
Dgraph Certificate Management Tool
dgraph certcommand which was introduced in v1.0.9. For previous releases, see the previous TLS configuration documentation.
dgraph cert program creates and manages CA-signed certificates and private
keys using a generated Dgraph Root CA. There are three types of certificate/key
- Root CA certificate/key pair: This is used to sign and verify node and client certificates. If the root CA certificate is changed then you must regenerate all certificates, and this certificate must be accessible to the Alpha nodes.
- Node certificate/key pair: This is shared by the Dgraph Alpha nodes and used for accepting TLS connections.
- Client certificate/key pair: This is used by the clients (like live loader and Ratel) to communicate with Dgraph Alpha server nodes where client authentication with mTLS is required.
# To see the available flags. $ dgraph cert --help # Create Dgraph Root CA, used to sign all other certificates. $ dgraph cert # Create node certificate and private key $ dgraph cert -n localhost # Create client certificate and private key for mTLS (mutual TLS) $ dgraph cert -c dgraphuser # Combine all in one command $ dgraph cert -n localhost -c dgraphuser # List all your certificates and keys $ dgraph cert ls
The default location where the cert command stores certificates (and keys) is
tls under the Dgraph working directory. The default directory path can be overridden
--dir option. For example:
$ dgraph cert --dir ~/mycerts
File naming conventions
The following file naming conventions are used by Dgraph for proper TLS setup.
|ca.crt||Dgraph Root CA certificate||Verify all certificates|
|ca.key||Dgraph CA private key||Validate CA certificate|
|node.crt||Dgraph node certificate||Shared by all nodes for accepting TLS connections|
|node.key||Dgraph node private key||Validate node certificate|
|client.name.crt||Dgraph client certificate||Authenticate a client name|
|client.name.key||Dgraph client private key||Validate name client certificate|
For client authentication, each client must have their own certificate and key. These are then used to connect to the Dgraph server nodes.
The node certificate
node.crt can support multiple node names using multiple
host names and/or IP address. Just separate the names with commas when
generating the certificate.
$ dgraph cert -n localhost,126.96.36.199,dgraph.io,2400:cb00:2048:1::6819:a417
dgraph cert ls lists all certificates and keys in the
dgraph-tls), along with details to inspect and validate
Example of command output:
-rw-r--r-- ca.crt - Dgraph Root CA certificate Issuer: Dgraph Labs, Inc. S/N: 043c4d8fdd347f06 Expiration: 02 Apr 29 16:56 UTC SHA-256 Digest: 4A2B0F0F 716BF5B6 C603E01A 6229D681 0B2AFDC5 CADF5A0D 17D59299 116119E5 -r-------- ca.key - Dgraph Root CA key SHA-256 Digest: 4A2B0F0F 716BF5B6 C603E01A 6229D681 0B2AFDC5 CADF5A0D 17D59299 116119E5 -rw-r--r-- client.admin.crt - Dgraph client certificate: admin Issuer: Dgraph Labs, Inc. CA Verify: PASSED S/N: 297e4cb4f97c71f9 Expiration: 03 Apr 24 17:29 UTC SHA-256 Digest: D23EFB61 DE03C735 EB07B318 DB70D471 D3FE8556 B15D084C 62675857 788DF26C -rw------- client.admin.key - Dgraph Client key SHA-256 Digest: D23EFB61 DE03C735 EB07B318 DB70D471 D3FE8556 B15D084C 62675857 788DF26C -rw-r--r-- node.crt - Dgraph Node certificate Issuer: Dgraph Labs, Inc. CA Verify: PASSED S/N: 795ff0e0146fdb2d Expiration: 03 Apr 24 17:00 UTC Hosts: 188.8.131.52, 2400:cb00:2048:1::6819:a417, localhost, dgraph.io SHA-256 Digest: 7E243ED5 3286AE71 B9B4E26C 5B2293DA D3E7F336 1B1AFFA7 885E8767 B1A84D28 -rw------- node.key - Dgraph Node key SHA-256 Digest: 7E243ED5 3286AE71 B9B4E26C 5B2293DA D3E7F336 1B1AFFA7 885E8767 B1A84D28
- The cert/key pairs should always have matching SHA-256 digests. Otherwise, the cert(s) must be
regenerated. If the Root CA pair differ, all cert/key must be regenerated; the flag
- All certificates must pass Dgraph CA verification.
- All key files should have the least access permissions, especially the
ca.key, but be readable.
- Key files won’t be overwritten if they have limited access, even with
- Node certificates are only valid for the hosts listed.
- Client certificates are only valid for the named client/user.
Starting in release v21.03, pre-existing TLS configuration options have been
replaced by the
and its options. The following
--tls configuration options are available for
Dgraph Alpha and Dgraph Zero nodes:
ca-cert <path>- Path and filename of the Dgraph Root CA (for example,
server-cert <path>- Path and filename of the node certificate (for example,
server-key <path>- Path and filename of the node certificate private key (for example,
use-system-ca- Include System CA with Dgraph Root CA.
client-auth-type <string>- TLS client authentication used to validate client connections from external ports. To learn more, see Client Authentication Options.
You can configure Dgraph Live Loader with the following
ca-cert <path>- Dgraph root CA, such as
use-system-ca- Include System CA with Dgraph Root CA.
client-cert- User cert file provided by the client to Alpha
client-key- User private key file provided by the client to Alpha
server-name <string>- Server name, used for validating the server’s TLS host name.
Using TLS with only external ports encrypted
To encrypt communication between Dgraph server nodes and clients over external ports, you can configure certificates and run Dgraph Alpha and Dgraph Zero using the following commands:
# First, create the root CA, Alpha node certificate and private keys, if not already created. # Note that you must specify in node.crt the host name or IP addresses that clients use connect: $ dgraph cert -n localhost,184.108.40.206,220.127.116.11,18.104.22.168 # Set up Dgraph Alpha nodes using the following default command (after generating certificates and private keys) $ dgraph alpha --tls ca-cert=/dgraph-tls/ca.crt; server-cert=/dgraph-tls/node.crt; server-key=/dgraph-tls/node.key
# First, copy the root CA, node certificates and private keys used to set up Dgraph Alpha (above) to the Dgraph Zero node. # Optionally, you can generate and use a separate Zero node certificate, where you specify the host name or IP addresses used by Live Loader and Bulk Loader to connect to Dgraph Zero. # Next, set up Dgraph Zero nodes using the following default command: $ dgraph zero --tls ca-cert=/dgraph-tls/ca.crt; server-cert=/dgraph-tls/node.crt; server-key=/dgraph-tls/node.key
You can then run Dgraph Live Loader on a Dgraph Alpha node using the following command:
# Now, connect to server using TLS $ dgraph live --tls ca-cert=./dgraph-tls/ca.crt; server-name "localhost" -s 21million.schema -f 21million.rdf.gz
Using TLS with internal and external ports encrypted
If you require client authentication (mutual TLS, or mTLS), you can configure certificates and run Dgraph Alpha and Dgraph Zero with settings that encrypt both internal ports (those used within the cluster) as well as external ports (those used by clients that connect to the cluster, including Bulk Loader and Live Loader).
The following example shows how to encrypt both internal and external ports:
# First create the root CA, node certificates and private keys, if not already created. # Note that you must specify the host name or IP address for other nodes that will share node.crt. $ dgraph cert -n localhost,22.214.171.124,126.96.36.199,188.8.131.52 # Set up Dgraph Alpha nodes using the following default command (after generating certificates and private keys) $ dgraph alpha --tls ca-cert=/dgraph-tls/ca.crt; server-cert=/dgraph-tls/node.crt; server-key=/dgraph-tls/node.key; internal-port=true; client-cert=/dgraph-tls/client.alpha1.crt; client-key=/dgraph-tls/client.alpha1.key
# First, copy the certificates and private keys used to set up Dgraph Alpha (above) to the Dgraph Zero node. # Next, set up Dgraph Zero nodes using the following default command: $ dgraph zero --tls ca-cert=/dgraph-tls/ca.crt; server-cert=/dgraph-tls/node.crt; server-key=/dgraph-tls/node.key; internal-port=true; client-cert=/dgraph-tls/client.zero1.crt; client-key=/dgraph-tls/client.zero1.key
You can then run Dgraph Live Loader using the following:
# Now, connect to server using mTLS (mutual TLS) $ dgraph live --tls ca-cert=./tls/ca.crt; \ client-cert=./tls/client.dgraphuser.crt; \ client-key ./tls/client.dgraphuser.key; \ server-name=localhost; \ internal-port=true \ -s 21million.schema \ -f 21million.rdf.gz
Client Authentication Options
The server will always request client authentication. There are four
different values for the
--tls_client_auth option that change the security
policy of the client certificate.
|Value||Client Cert/Key||Client Certificate Verified|
||optional||Client certificate is not VERIFIED if provided. (least secure)|
||required||Client certificate is never VERIFIED|
||optional||Client certificate is VERIFIED if provided (default)|
||required||Client certificate is always VERIFIED (most secure)|
REQUIREANDVERIFY is the most secure but also the most difficult to configure
for clients. When using this value, the value of
server-name is matched
against the certificate SANs values and the connection host.
internal-port=true, internal ports (by default, 5080 and 7080) use the
REQUIREANDVERIFYsetting. Unless otherwise configured, external ports (by default, 9080, 8080 and 6080) use the
VERIFYIFGIVENsetting. Changing the
client-auth-typeoption to another setting only affects client authentication on external ports.
Using Ratel UI with Client authentication
connect to Dgraph servers via HTTP, when TLS is enabled servers begin to expect
HTTPS requests only.
If you haven’t already created the CA certificate and the node certificate for alpha servers from the earlier instructions (see Dgraph Certificate Management Tool), the first step would be to generate these certificates, it can be done by the following command:
# Create rootCA and node certificates/keys $ dgraph cert -n localhost
If Dgraph Alpha’s
client-auth-type option is set to
(default), then client certificate is not mandatory. The steps after generating
CA/node certificate are as follows:
Step 1. Install Dgraph Root CA into System CA
# Copy the generated CA to the ca-certificates directory $ cp /path/to/ca.crt /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/ca.crt # Update the CA store $ sudo update-ca-certificates`
Step 2. Install Dgraph Root CA into Web Browsers Trusted CA List
- Choose Preferences -> Privacy & Security -> View Certificates -> Authorities
- Click on Import and import the
- Choose Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Security -> Manage Certificates -> Authorities
- Click on Import and import the
Step 3. Point Ratel to the
https:// endpoint of alpha server.
- Change the Dgraph Alpha server address to
http://, for example
client-auth-type option, you need to follow the steps above and you
also need to install client certificate on your browser:
Generate a client certificate:
dgraph cert -c laptopuser.
Convert it to a
openssl pkcs12 -export \ -out laptopuser.p12 \ -in tls/client.laptopuser.crt \ -inkey tls/client.laptopuser.key
Use any password you like for export, it is used to encrypt the p12 file.
Import the client certificate to your browser. It can be done in Chrome as follows:
- Choose Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Security -> Manage Certificates -> Your Certificates
- Click on Import and import the
Next time you use Ratel to connect to an alpha with Client authentication enabled the browser will prompt you for a client certificate to use. Select the client’s certificate you’ve imported in the step above and queries/mutations will succeed.
Using Curl with Client authentication
When TLS is enabled,
curl requests to Dgraph will need some specific options to work. For instance (for an export request):
curl --silent https://localhost:8080/admin/export
If you are using
curl with Client Authentication set to
REQUIREANDVERIFY, you will need to provide the client certificate and private key. For instance (for an export request):
curl --silent --cacert ./tls/ca.crt --cert ./tls/client.dgraphuser.crt --key ./tls/client.dgraphuser.key https://localhost:8080/admin/export
Refer to the
curl documentation for further information on its TLS options.
Access Data Using a Client
Some examples of connecting via a Client when TLS is in use can be found below:
Troubleshooting Ratel’s Client authentication
If you are getting errors in Ratel when TLS is enabled, try opening your Dgraph Alpha URL as a web page.
Assuming you are running Dgraph on your local machine, opening
https://localhost:8080/ in the browser should produce a message
Dgraph browser is available for running separately using the dgraph-ratel binary.
In case you are getting a connection error, try not passing the
client-auth-type flag when starting an alpha. If you are still getting an
error, check that your hostname is correct and the port is open; then make sure
that “Dgraph Root CA” certificate is installed and trusted correctly.
After that, if things work without passing
client-auth-type but stop working when
REQUIREANDVERIFY are set, make sure the
.p12 file is