Securing Jetty With HTTPS

If users will be accessing the OpenNMS web UI across untrusted networks, it is a best practice to protect web sessions using HTTPS. This article explains how to configure OpenNMS' built-in Jetty web server to support HTTPS.

It is typically easier to leave the Jetty config as default and use nginx or Apache as a reverse proxy. We have a Discourse forum post with an example of using a reverse proxy.

Customize jetty.xml

By default, no Jetty config file is included in Horizon. There is a sample jetty.xml config in ${OPENNMS_HOME}/etc/examples that can be used as a template. Copy this to ${OPENNMS_HOME}/etc and remove comment tags for the section "Add HTTPS Support".

Create a new Java keystore

Using the keytool utility that ships as ${JAVA_HOME}/bin/keytool with most Java distributions, create a new keystore and populate it with a new key. For the first question ("What is your first and last name"), enter the fully-qualified domain name by which people will access your OpenNMS server’s web UI. Choose this name correctly, as you will have to start over if you ever need to change it. Answer the remaining questions according to the specifics of your organization and location.

Be sure to specify an appropriate number of days for the validity parameter. After this number of days elapses, the key you are generating will expire and you may no longer be able to use it to create new certificates. The example below specifies 731 days, which makes the key valid for two years (accounting for a possible leap year).

It is important that you choose good passwords for the keystore and for the key itself. These passwords may be the same or different to each other. Using different and strong passwords here protects your server’s private key in the event the keystore file falls into the wrong hands. You should take precautions to keep this from happening, including setting filesystem user and group permissions so that unauthorized individuals with accounts on the OpenNMS server will not have read (or write) access to the keystore.

By default, keytool will create DSA keys, but Jetty requires an RSA key. Make sure you pass the -keyalg RSA option to keytool.

keytool -alias opennms-jetty -genkeypair -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 731 -keystore /tmp/propercert/proper.keystore
Enter keystore password:  aGoodStrongKeystorePassword
What is your first and last name?
What is the name of your organizational unit?
  [Unknown]:  Network Management Division
What is the name of your organization?
  [Unknown]:  The Example Organization
What is the name of your City or Locality?
  [Unknown]:  Marina del Rey
What is the name of your State or Province?
  [Unknown]:  California
What is the two-letter country code for this unit?
  [Unknown]:  US
Is, OU=Network Management Division, O=The Example Organization, L=Marina del Rey, ST=California, C=US correct?
  [no]:  yes

Create or edit the ${OPENNMS_HOME}/etc/ file to set the Jetty certificate information. Adjust the values based on the values set when using the keytool command to create the keystore and certificate.

org.opennms.netmgt.jetty.https-port = 8443
org.opennms.netmgt.jetty.https-keystore = /opt/opennms/etc/opennms.keystore
org.opennms.netmgt.jetty.https-keystorepassword = keystore-password
org.opennms.netmgt.jetty.https-keypassword = key-password
org.opennms.netmgt.jetty.https-cert-alias = opennms-jetty

Restrict access to the plain-HTTP listener

The steps to configure OpenNMS to start a Jetty HTTPS listener on port 8443 do not disable the plain-HTTP listener that is present by default on port 8980. This listener must be present so that the OpenNMS real-time console can update the availability statistics shown in the web UI. Once you have enabled HTTPS, you probably do not want users using HTTP, so you will need to restrict access to the plain-HTTP listener.

There are two ways to accomplish this task.

  • Tell the plain-HTTP listener to bind only to an interface that is not accessible from any untrusted networks. In a setup where the OpenNMS web UI runs on the same server as the other OpenNMS daemons, it makes sense to use the loopback interface for this purpose. You can restrict the plain-HTTP listener to bind only to the localhost interface by setting the Jetty host property. Create or edit the ${OPENNMS_HOME}/etc/ file. =
  • Use firewall rules to limit access. These rules may be local to the OpenNMS web UI server (iptables, firewalld, or ufw) or they may be configured in a discrete firewall external that stands between the OpenNMS web UI server and the rest of the network. Configuring these rules is beyond the scope of this article.

Restrict access to the HTTPS listener

Although HTTPS is considered secure, there are valid reasons to restrict the interfaces on which the OpenNMS Jetty HTTPS listener is reachable. The listener is bound to all interfaces ( by default. To bind the HTTPS listener to a single interface, create or edit the ${OPENNMS_HOME}/etc/ file.

org.opennms.netmgt.jetty.https-host =


If you encounter issues while using SSL, it might be useful to enable debug logging or use one of the built-in Java System Properties to configure the proper use of SSL.

Table 1. Java built-in System Properties
System Property Name Description

Location of the Java keystore file that contains an application process’s own certificate and private key.

Password to access the private key from the keystore file specifies. This password is used twice: to unlock the keystore file (store password) and to decrypt the private key stored in the keystore (key password). The JSSE framework requires these passwords to be identical.

(Optional) Keystore type. Defaults to jks.

Location of the Java Truststore file that contains the collection of CA certificates this application process (truststore) trusts. If this property does not specify a truststore location, the Java implementation searches for and uses a keystore file in the following locations (in order): ${JAVA_HOME}/lib/security/jssecacerts and ${JAVA_HOME}/lib/security/cacerts.

Password to unlock the truststore file.

(Optional) Truststore type. Defaults to jks.

(Optional) To switch on logging for the SSL/TLS layer, set this property to ssl. For more details about possible values, see debugging utilities.