HTTPS Requirement

Cockpit usually requires that web browsers communicate with it using HTTPS, for security reasons.

HTTPS Requirement

Cockpit listens for both HTTP and HTTPS connections on the same port, by default 9090. If an HTTP connection is made, Cockpit will redirect that connection to HTTPS. There are some exceptions:

  • If an HTTP connection comes from localhost ( or ::1, then Cockpit will allow communication without redirecting to HTTPS.

  • Certain URLs, like /ping are not required to use HTTPS.

This behavior can be overridden by setting the AllowUnencrypted option in cockpit.conf.


Cockpit will load a certificate from the /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d, directory, or below $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS if set (see cockpit.conf). It will use the last file with a .cert or .crt extension in alphabetical order. The file should contain one or more OpenSSL style BEGIN CERTIFICATE blocks for the server certificate and the intermediate certificate authorities.

The private key must be contained in a separate file with the same name as the certificate, but with a .key suffix instead. The key must not be encrypted.

If no certificate is found, a self-signed certificate is created and stored in the 0-self-signed.cert file. On some platforms, Cockpit will also generate a ca.crt in that directory, which may be safely imported into client browsers.

Cockpit will read the files as root, so they can have tight permissions.

To check which certificate cockpit-ws will use run the following command.

$ sudo /usr/libexec/cockpit-certificate-ensure --check

Or, on Debian-based systems:

$ sudo /usr/lib/cockpit/cockpit-certificate-ensure --check

If using certmonger to manage certificates, following command can be used to automatically prepare a certificate/key file pair:

getcert request -f /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/50-certmonger.cert \
                -k /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/50-certmonger.key \
                -D \

This will not work on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 by default. Adjust the SELinux type of the certificate directory to cert_t to allow certmonger to write its certificates there:

semanage fcontext -a -t cert_t '/etc/cockpit/ws-certs\.d(/.*)?'
restorecon -v /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d