Configuring Your TiDB Server for Mutual TLS

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

Create a private key and request a certificate for your TiDB server

Before you can teach your server 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 TiDB server, along with your CA's root certificate, you can skip to the next step.

To request a certificate from your CA using the step CLI, bootstrap your CA with step ca bootstrap and run the following command (sub the server name for the actual name / DNS name of your TiDB server).

$ step ca certificate "myserver.internal.net" server.crt server.key

Your certificate and private key will be saved in server.crt and server.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.

Configure TiDB to authenticate itself with its TLS certificate

We now want to instruct our TiDB server to identify itself using the certificate issued in the last step and to force clients to connect over TLS.

Copy the server.crt, server.key, and ca.crt files to the directory that contains your TiDB config file.

$ sudo cp server.crt /<tidb-config-dir>/server-cert.pem $ sudo cp server.key /<tidb-config-dir>/server-key.pem $ sudo cp ca.crt /<tidb-config-dir>/ca.pem

These files should be owned by the user that runs TiDB. Now add the following to your TiDB config file:

# Path of file that contains list of trusted SSL CAs for connection with mysql client.
ssl-ca = "ca.pem"

# Path of file that contains X509 certificate in PEM format for connection with mysql client.
ssl-cert = "server-cert.pem"

# Path of file that contains X509 key in PEM format for connection with mysql client.
ssl-key = "server-key.pem"


Restart your TiDB server for these changes to take effect.

Configure TiDB to require clients to authenticate with a certificate issued by your CA

To tell TiDB to use mutual TLS and not just one-way TLS, we must instruct it to require client authentication to ensure clients present a certificate from our CA when they connect.

TiDB requires client certificates to be configured on a per-user basis. The requirement can be configured using CREATE USER or ALTER USER statements. When set, TiDB will reject connections from these users if they don't present a valid certificate signed by your CA.

mysql> CREATE USER 'myuser'@'%' REQUIRE SUBJECT 'CN=myuser';
mysql> ALTER USER 'myuser'@'%' REQUIRE SUBJECT 'CN=myuser';

You can require other user certificate information in order to establish a connection.

That's it! TiDB should now be able to receive TLS connections from clients who authenticate themselves using a certificate issued by your trusted CA.

Automate certificate renewal

By default, 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.

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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