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Configure Sitecore CA certificates for Node.js

On local environments, Sitecore instances are installed using privately signed certificates. However, these are rejected by Node.js since their root CAs are not known. As of Node.js 7.3.0, it is possible to add well-known extra certificates to Node.js with a NODE_EXTRA_CA_CERTS environment variable.

Note in Headless Mode, you can also disable SSL validation entirely in the proxy, but this is for development ONLY.

If this is not configured properly, you will see errors containing UNABLE_TO_VERIFY_LEAF_SIGNATURE when running your JSS application.

Example errors:

Error: unable to verify the first certificate
 type: 'system',
Error occurred while trying to proxy request /sitecore/api/layout/render/jss?item=%2F&sc_apikey={A6AAE4C9-EEFF-4728-BDCB-80292FDB16EC} 
from localhost:3000 to <https://cm.localhost> (UNABLE_TO_VERIFY_LEAF_SIGNATURE)

This article will guide you through the required configuration.

Step 1 (Sitecore Containers instance): Identify the certificate file

For Docker container-based Sitecore instances, the certificate file is already created by mkcert. You can find the location using the following command:

mkcert -CAROOT

The certificate is in PEM format and is called rootCA.pem by default. So, your file path should look something like: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\mkcert\rootCA.pem.

Step 1 (Sitecore on-prem instance): Create the certificate file

For on-prem Sitecore instances installed with Sitecore Install Framework (SIF), you must export the certificate from the Windows Certificate Store.

  1. Open Windows certificates manager for the local computer using certlm from the command line or by searching for "Manage Computer Certificates."
  2. Under Trusted Root Certification > Certificates, find the SIF certificate "Sitecore Install Framework."
  3. Right-click > All Tasks > Export…
    1. Click Next, then choose "No, do not export the private key," then click Next.
    2. Choose "Base-64 encoded X.509 (.CER)", then click Next.
    3. Enter a file name (for example, SIFRoot.cer) and location to store the .cer file, then click Next, then Finish.

Note: If you have both Sitecore containers and on-prem instances, you can combine the certificates into a single file.

File structure example:

{your mkcert certificate}

{your SIF certificate}

Step 2: Add NODE_EXTRA_CA_CERTS to your environment variables

Option 1: In the local or system environment


This will set it in the local environment. Use the optional /m parameter for system.

You will need to restart your terminal or VS Code for it to take effect.

Option 2: In a Powershell session


Option 3: In package.json file

"start:connected": "cross-env-shell NODE_EXTRA_CA_CERTS=<file> ..."

Note adding it to a .env file (using dotenv) will not work as these are loaded too late for Node to recognize.

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