How to create nodejs https server on localhost using openssl

Create nodejs https server

HTTPS is a communication protocol, widely used in modern web applications. Web applications like shopping carts, social networks, and other portals etc, use HTTPS protocol to transfer secure information over the Internet. HTTPS uses TLS/SSL protocols. In a previous article, you learned Nodejs twitter login with passportjs. In this article, you will learn, how to create nodejs https server on localhost. OpenSSL is used to create SSL certificates.


In this article, following tasks are performed.

1. Download and install OpenSSL

2. Generate privatekey.pem and certificate.pem files on localhost

3. Generate a NodeJS, ExpressJS application

4. Add HTTPS in a NodeJS application

create nodejs https server using openssl

Download and install OpenSSL for nodejs https server

To generate SSL certificates, you need to install OpenSSL, Visit OpenSSL download page, download and install it. On Windows 64-bit operating system, you can install Win64 OpenSSL v1.1.0h Light.

Generate SSL certificates for nodejs https server

On Windows operating system, open command line and choose option Run as administrator. Type this command

cd C:\OpenSSL-Win64\bin

To generate certificate.pem and privatekey.pem files, run the commands given below.

openssl genrsa -out privatekey.pem 1024

nodejs https server - generate private key

while pressing Enter key you can choose default values.

openssl req -new -key privatekey.pem -out certrequest.csr -config C:\OpenSSL-Win64\bin\openssl.cfg

nodejs https server - generate private key

The next command to generate SSL certificates for nodejs https server.

openssl x509 -req -in certrequest.csr -signkey privatekey.pem -out certificate.pem

nodejs https server - generate certificate

The commands above will create privatekey.pem and certificate.pem in the bin directory.

nodejs https server - generated keys in directory

Due to privacy reasons, certificate files are not provided with source code.

Generate certificate files on your computer and copy to keys  directory before running the application

OpenSSL commands to generate SSL certificates

openssl genrsa -out privatekey.pem 1024

openssl req -new -key privatekey.pem -out certrequest.csr -config C:\OpenSSL-Win64\bin\openssl.cfg

openssl x509 -req -in certrequest.csr -signkey privatekey.pem -out certificate.pem
You should use the paths according to your OpenSSL installation

Install NodeJS and NPM

To install NodeJS on your computer, visit Download latest NodeJS version, run the installer. With NodeJS installation, NPM or Node Package Manager is also installed. It is used to manage and install dependencies and packages.

Install express generator command line tool

After NodeJS installation, install express-generator. This command line utility is used to generate a nodejs, expressjs app.

npm install express-generator -g

Generate an express application using express tool

Create an expressjs application nodejs-https-server. Pug is a template engine, used in ExressJS applications.

express nodejs-https-server --view=pug

nodejs https server - generate express app

Next, install required packages and dependencies.

cd nodejs-https-server && npm install

You can run the application by executing the command below.

SET DEBUG=nodejs-https-server:* & npm start

Install nodemon module

Nodemon module watches file changes in a directory. It restarts the nodejs application if any change in a file is detected. Otherwise, each time you have to stop and restart nodejs application manually.

npm install nodemon --save

Run application with nodemon

To run the application, open the command line, navigate to project root directory and type.


Create keys directory

Create a directory named, keys in the project root. Copy privatekey.pem and certificate.pem file from C:\OpenSSL-Win64\bin to this directory.

Add https to bin/www file

Open www file in bin directory. Add following require the statement in the file.

var https = require('https');
var fs    = require('fs');

Add https options

Add https options and fetch certificates using fs.readFileSync method from keys directory.

var httpOptions =  {
 key: fs.readFileSync("keys/privatekey.pem"),
 cert: fs.readFileSync("keys/certificate.pem")


In www file, remove the line

var server = http.createServer(app);

and add

var server = https.createServer(httpOptions, app);

In https.create method httpOptions and app parameters are passed. Https server is created.

Run the application

If nodemon is not already running, run it on command line.

Due to privacy reasons, certificate files are not provided with source code.

Generate certificate files on your computer and copy to keys directory before running the application

Open homepage with nodejs https server

If nodemon is running then, open browser and type URL


While accessing this site first time on Google Chrome, you will see a screen like this.


nodejs https server using openssl-browser-ssl-warning

Click on Advanced, and then click on Proceed to localhost (unsafe). You can view the homepage as below.

nodejs https server - success

Open users page with nodejs https server

Next open browser and type URL using https protocol.


You can view user’s page with https.




In this article, you learned to create a nodejs https server on localhost using OpenSSL. First, OpenSSL was downloaded and installed on the local computer. Certificates were generated using Windows command line. A Nodejs, Express application is generated using express command line tool. A nodejs https server is created. Private and public keys were added as options.

You can find the source code of this article on GitHub. You can clone or download from this link.nodejs https server - souce code github download link


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