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 Psql 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.
To request a certificate from your CA using the
step CLI, run the following command.
$ step ca certificate "myuser" client.crt client.key
Your certificate and private key will be saved in
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
Now, we need only to configure our Psql 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.
Connect to your PostgreSQL database using
psql connection parameters to specify the location of your client certificate, private key, and root CA certificate.
sslmode parameter to
verify-full also ensures that the PostgreSQL server name matches the name in the certificate it presents to clients.
$ psql "host=myserver.internal.net port=443 user=myuser dbname=mydatabase sslmode=verify-full sslcert=client.crt sslkey=client.key sslrootcert=ca.crt"
As an alternative, if you'd like to avoid specifying file paths on each connection, you can copy them to your
psql client's configuration directory.
$ mkdir -p ~/.postgresql $ cp ca.crt ~/.postgresql/root.crt $ cp client.crt ~/.postgresql/postgresql.crt $ cp client.key ~/.postgresql/postgresql.key
The connection command then becomes only the following:
$ psql "host=myserver.internal.net port=443 user=myuser dbname=mydatabase sslmode=verify-full"
step-ca issues certificates with a 24 hour expiration. Short-lived certificates have many benefits but also require that you renew your certificates each day before they expire. How you renew certificates is often dependent on how you deploy your application. See the
step-ca certificate lifecycle management docs for more information.
Smallstep is building Certificate Manager, a hosted certificate authority offering with integrations that make it easy to manage mututal TLS in technologies like Psql.
Certificate Manager is currently in early access (by request only). Please request an invitation and let us know you'd be interested in an integration with Psql.
All documentation content from the Hello mTLS project is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).