How to Set Up JIRA to Work Use SSL The Goal

How to Set Up JIRA to Work
Behind an Apache Proxy and
By Sylvia Ganovska
Linux Engineer
As most people reading this business brief will know,
separating the web/presentation layer from the underlying
application is generally considered to be a best practice and
is certainly one that Coyote Creek follows. The reasons to
do this include better security, clear and more manageable
application configuration and a more logical network layout
via separation of functional servers.
JIRA, by default, runs on port 8080. If you want to run JIRA
over SSL, the most appropriate way to accomplish this is
by using a proxy server such as Apache. Apache can be
configured in both a forward and reverse proxy mode. A forward proxy is an intermediate server that sits between the
client and the origin server. In order to get content from the
JIRA server, the client sends a request to the proxy naming
the JIRA server as the target; the proxy then requests the
content from the JIRA server and returns it to the client. The
forward proxy is activated using the ProxyRequests directive.
A reverse proxy, by contrast, appears to the client just like an
ordinary web server; no special configuration on the client
is necessary. A typical usage of a reverse proxy is to provide
Internet users access to a server that is behind a firewall.
The Goal
To set up JIRA to work behind an Apache proxy and use SSL.
Here are the steps to make this happen:
Step 1: Change JIRA’s base URL
1. Login to JIRA as an administrator.
2. Go to the administration page.
3. From the main menu select “System”> “General
4.Select “Edit Configuration” and then set Base URL to
5.Select “Update”.
Step 2: Create a self-signed SSL certificate for Apache
Self-signed SSL certificates are useful in cases where you
require encryption but do not need to verify the website
identity. They are commonly used for testing purposes and
on internal corporate networks (i.e. intranets).
1. First create your new private key (privkey.pem) and server.csr:
openssl req -config /etc/pki/tls/openssl.cnf -new -out server.csr
• You have a working http instance of JIRA on port 8080
It will ask you for a PEM pass phrase. Enter a pass
phrase, confirm it and remember it! Then it will ask you
for some extra information. The most important item
here is to set the “Common Name” (e.g., your name
or your server’s hostname) exactly as your hostname
(FQDN). This creates a server.pem file.
• You have a running Apache server with an enabled mod_
proxy module
2. Create the server.key file:
openssl rsa -in privkey.pem -out server.key
• Firewall is properly configured to permit connections on
port 443
1 tel 1.888.269.6838
It will ask you for the privkey.pem (“Enter pass phrase for
privkey.pem”). You must enter the pass phrase you chose in 1.
3. Create the server.crt using the key you have just generated:
openssl x509 -in server.csr -out server.crt -req -signkey
server.key -days 365
(note: This server key will be good for 365 days)
As a result of the above 3 steps you will have 4 files.
Check them with the “ls –l” command.
ls -l
1 root root
1 root root
1 root root
1 root root
1834 Jun 26 11:28 privkey.pem
1273 Jun 26 11:30 server.crt
1041 Jun 26 11:28 server.csr
1675 Jun 26 11:29 server.key
4. Copy your new certificate files to the Apache config directory. The location of this directory will differ depending on
how Apache was compiled.
cp /root/ssl/server.key /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.key/
cp /root/ssl/server.crt /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.crt.
Step 3: Configure Apache as an SSL proxy for JIRA
Now you need to configure JIRA with Virtual hosting.
Step 4: Configure Tomcat (JIRA’s default JAVA
application server)
The proxyName and proxyPort attributes can be used when
Tomcat is run behind a proxy server. If you did not configure these attributes, the values returned would reflect the
server name and port on which the connection from the
proxy server was received, rather than the server name and
port to which the client directed the original request.
1. Add the following lines to the <Connector ... />. Be sure to
change “YourDomain” to your proxy’s domain name!
vim {JIRA_INSTALL}/conf/server.xml
<Connector port=8080”
1. Create a file called jira.conf within the conf.d Apache directory:
vim /etc/httpd/conf.d/jira.conf
2. Edit conf/server.xml. Locate and change the start of the
line from <Context path=”/” to <Context path=”/jira”
3. Restart the Tomcat and Apache servers and check the
logs files for errors. Your server should now be accessible
at https://YourDomain/jira
Add the following:
<VirtualHost *:443>
ProxyRequests Off
ProxyPreserveHost On
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /path/to/your/certificate/file
SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/your/certificate/key/file
<Proxy *>
Order deny,allow
Allow from all
ProxyPass /jira https://localhost:8080/jira
ProxyPassReverse /jira https://localhost:8080/jira
If you know what steps to follow, configuring JIRA to work
behind an Apache proxy is a relatively straight-forward
process. However, if you have any questions, Coyote Creek is
here to help you. In fact, we won an Atlassian Experts Award
in 2011. Our status with Atlassian means that you can rely
on us for top quality Atlassian services and that you can also
buy Atlassian products from us. Whatever you need, whether
it’s setting up a proxy server or designing and deploying a
new Atlassian application, please give Coyote Creek a call.
2. Save and exit the configuration file.
Note that we’re using localhost as the proxy target. We
can do this since we enabled ProxyPreserveHost. The
official Apache documentation states that: “It is mostly
useful in special configurations like proxied mass namebased virtual hosting, where the original Host header
needs to be evaluated by the backend server.”
2 tel 1.888.269.6838
About Coyote Creek
Founded in 1998 by a team of former corporate IT
professionals, Coyote Creek understands the issues and
complexities that are part of large-scale IT environments.
Pragmatic and vendor neutral, Coyote Creek brings deep
expertise to help customers manage technology and project
risk, inspiring confidence and creating peace of mind.