Monday 25 December 2023

Securing Your Tomcat Server with SSL: A Step-by-Step Guide


Title: Securing Your Tomcat Server with SSL: A Step-by-Step Guide


Securing your Tomcat server with SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a critical step in safeguarding

the confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged over the web. This comprehensive guide will take you

through the process of implementing SSL on Tomcat using both PFX and JKS formats, providing

you with step-by-step instructions for each method.

Deploying SSL with PFX Format:

To kick off the SSL deployment with the PFX format, the first step is to convert your SSL certificate using

the OpenSSL command:

openssl pkcs12 -export -out certificate.pfx -inkey privateKey.key -in certificate.crt -certfile CACert.crt

After converting to PFX, proceed to edit the file on your Tomcat server, switching the

keystore type to PKCS12:


# Comment out the JKS keystore type

# keystore.type=jks

# Set the keystore type to PKCS12


Update your Tomcat server configuration file (server.xml) with the following changes:

vi server.xml

<Connector port="8443" maxHttpHeaderSize="8192" maxThreads="150" minSpare

Threads="25" maxSpareThreads="75" enableLookups="false" disableUploadTimeout="true" acceptCount=

"100" scheme="https" secure="true" SSLEnabled="true" clientAuth="false" sslProtocol=

"TLS" keystoreFile=" pfx_path" keystorePass="password" keystoreType="PKCS12"/>

Here password will be yor pfx file password.

Ensure to replace pfx_path with your PFX file path and set the appropriate password. 

Save the configuration changes and restart your Tomcat server.

Deploying SSL with JKS Format:

For SSL deployment using the JKS format, you need to convert PFX in to JKS using below steps:

Create an empty keystore using keytool:

keytool -genkey -alias foo -keystore filename.jks

Enter the SSL details as prompted, and the empty keystore will be generated.

Import the PFX into the JKS empty keystore (filename.jks) :

keytool -importkeystore -srckeystore certificate.pfx -srcstoretype pkcs12 -destkeystore filename.jks -deststoretype JKS

Enter the destination (filename.jks) and source keystore (certificate.pfx) passwords.

Update your Tomcat server configuration file for using the certificate in JKS Format:

<Connector port="8443" maxHttpHeaderSize="8192" maxThreads="150" minSpareThreads="25" maxSpare

Threads="75" enableLookups="false" disableUploadTimeout="true" acceptCount="100" scheme=

"https" secure="true" SSLEnabled="true" clientAuth="false" sslProtocol="TLS"

keystoreFile="keystore_path" keystorePass="password" keystoreType="JKS"/>

Replace keystore_path with your JKS file path and set the appropriate password. 

Save the configuration changes and restart your Tomcat server.


By diligently following these steps, you can successfully deploy SSL on your Tomcat server, establishing a

secure and encrypted connection. Whether opting for PFX or JKS format, these configurations

play a crucial role in safeguarding sensitive data transmitted between clients and your Tomcat server.

Secure your connections and enhance the overall integrity of your web applications with these

essential SSL deployment practices.

Written by, Numan Gharte, Cloud Engineer (

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