Onboarding Utility

Using Mutual TLS on the Client Side with Go

How to use TLS, client authentication, and CA certificates in Go

Create a private key and request a certificate for your Go client

Before you can teach your client to speak TLS, you will need a certificate issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA). If your organization already runs its own CA and you have a private key and certificate for your Go client, along with your CA's root certificate, you can skip to the next step.

If your organization does not yet run its own internal CA, you can read more about creating and running a CA using the open source Smallstep software here.

$ step ca certificate "myuser" client.crt client.key

Your certificate and private key will be saved in client.crt and client.key respectively.

Request a copy of your CA root certificate, which will be used to make sure each application can trust certificates presented by other applications.

$ step ca root ca.crt

Your certificate will be saved in ca.crt.

Make a request from Go using mutual TLS

Now, we need only to configure our Go client to make authenticated requests using our certificate and private key. The CA root certificate will be used to verify that the client can trust the certificate presented by the server.

In your Go code, we specify a TLS stack configuration for your client(s) making requests. The configuration includes 1.) root certificates of all trusted CAs for verification of the server's certificate in a pool we create. And 2.) the client's own certificate and private key for server-side client certificate verification.

// ...

caCert, _ := ioutil.ReadFile("ca.crt")
caCertPool := x509.NewCertPool()

cert, _ := tls.LoadX509KeyPair("client.crt", "client.key")

client := &http.Client{
    Transport: &http.Transport{
        TLSClientConfig: &tls.Config{
            RootCAs: caCertPool,
            certificates: []tls.Certificate{cert},

// Make a request
r, err := client.Get("https://myserver.internal.net:443")

// ...

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Read more

Read about using Go as a TLS server here.

All documentation content from the Hello mTLS project is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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