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Configuring Harbor with HTTPS Access

Because Harbor does not ship with any certificates, it uses HTTP by default to serve registry requests. However, it is highly recommended that security be enabled for any production environment. Harbor has an Nginx instance as a reverse proxy for all services, you can use the prepare script to configure Nginx to enable https.

In a test or development environment, you may choose to use a self-signed certificate instead of the one from a trusted third-party CA. The followings will show you how to create your own CA, and use your CA to sign a server certificate and a client certificate.

Getting Certificate Authority

  openssl genrsa -out ca.key 4096
  openssl req -x509 -new -nodes -sha512 -days 3650 \
    -subj "/C=TW/ST=Taipei/L=Taipei/O=example/OU=Personal/" \
    -key ca.key \
    -out ca.crt

Getting Server Certificate

Assuming that your registry's hostname is, and that its DNS record points to the host where you are running Harbor. In production environment, you first should get a certificate from a CA. In a test or development environment, you can use your own CA. The certificate usually contains a .crt file and a .key file, for example, and

1) Create your own Private Key:

  openssl genrsa -out 4096

2) Generate a Certificate Signing Request:

If you use FQDN like to connect your registry host, then you must use as CN (Common Name).

  openssl req -sha512 -new \
    -subj "/C=TW/ST=Taipei/L=Taipei/O=example/OU=Personal/" \
    -key \

3) Generate the certificate of your registry host:

Whether you're using FQDN like or IP to connect your registry host, run this command to generate the certificate of your registry host which comply with Subject Alternative Name (SAN) and x509 v3 extension requirement:


cat > v3.ext <<-EOF
keyUsage = digitalSignature, nonRepudiation, keyEncipherment, dataEncipherment
extendedKeyUsage = serverAuth 
subjectAltName = @alt_names


  openssl x509 -req -sha512 -days 3650 \
    -extfile v3.ext \
    -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -CAcreateserial \
    -in \

Configuration and Installation

1) Configure Server Certificate and Key for Harbor

After obtaining the and files, you can put them into directory such as /root/cert/:

  cp /data/cert/
  cp /data/cert/ 

2) Configure Server Certificate, Key and CA for Docker

The Docker daemon interprets .crt files as CA certificates and .cert files as client certificates.

Convert server to

openssl x509 -inform PEM -in -out

Delpoy,, and ca.crt for Docker:

  cp /etc/docker/certs.d/
  cp /etc/docker/certs.d/
  cp ca.crt /etc/docker/certs.d/

The following illustrates a configuration with custom certificates:

       ├──  <-- Server certificate signed by CA
       ├──   <-- Server key signed by CA
       └── ca.crt               <-- Certificate authority that signed the registry certificate

Notice that you may need to trust the certificate at OS level. Please refer to the Troubleshooting section below.

3) Configure Harbor

Edit the file harbor.cfg, update the hostname and the protocol, and update the attributes ssl_cert and ssl_cert_key:

  #set hostname
  hostname =
  #set ui_url_protocol
  ui_url_protocol = https
  #The path of cert and key files for nginx, they are applied only the protocol is set to https 
  ssl_cert = /data/cert/
  ssl_cert_key = /data/cert/

Generate configuration files for Harbor:


If Harbor is already running, stop and remove the existing instance. Your image data remain in the file system

  docker-compose down -v

Finally, restart Harbor:

  docker-compose up -d

After setting up HTTPS for Harbor, you can verify it by the following steps:

  • Open a browser and enter the address: It should display the user interface of Harbor.

  • Notice that some browser may still shows the warning regarding Certificate Authority (CA) unknown for security reason even though we signed certificates by self-signed CA and deploy the CA to the place mentioned above. It is because self-signed CA essentially is not a trusted third-party CA. You can import the CA to the browser on your own to solve the warning.

  • On a machine with Docker daemon, make sure the option "-insecure-registry" for does not present.

  • If you mapped nginx port 443 to another port, then you should instead create the directory /etc/docker/certs.d/ (or your registry host IP:port). Then run any docker command to verify the setup, e.g.

  docker login

If you've mapped nginx 443 port to another, you need to add the port to login, like below:

  docker login


  1. You may get an intermediate certificate from a certificate issuer. In this case, you should merge the intermediate certificate with your own certificate to create a certificate bundle. You can achieve this by the below command:

    cat intermediate-certificate.pem >> 
  2. On some systems where docker daemon runs, you may need to trust the certificate at OS level.
    On Ubuntu, this can be done by below commands:

    cp /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/

    On Red Hat (CentOS etc), the commands are:

    cp /etc/pki/ca-trust/source/anchors/