Applies To:

Show Versions Show Versions

Manual Chapter: Managing Client- and Server-side HTTP Traffic using a CA-signed Certificate
Manual Chapter
Table of Contents   |   << Previous Chapter   |   Next Chapter >>

Overview: Managing client and server HTTP traffic using a CA-signed certificate

One of the ways to configure the BIG-IP system to manage SSL traffic is to enable both client-side and server-side SSL termination:

  • Client-side SSL termination makes it possible for the system to decrypt client requests before sending them on to a server, and encrypt server responses before sending them back to the client. This ensures that client-side HTTP traffic is encrypted. In this case, you need to install only one SSL key/certificate pair on the BIG-IP system.
  • Server-side SSL termination makes it possible for the system to decrypt and then re-encrypt client requests before sending them on to a server. Server-side SSL termination also decrypts server responses and then re-encrypts them before sending them back to the client. This ensures security for both client- and server-side HTTP traffic. In this case, you need to install two SSL key/certificate pairs on the BIG-IP system. The system uses the first certificate/key pair to authenticate the client, and uses the second pair to request authentication from the server.

This implementation uses a CA-signed certificate to manage HTTP traffic.

Task summary

To implement client-side and server-side authentication using HTTP and SSL with a CA-signed certificate, you perform a few basic configuration tasks.

Task list

Requesting a certificate from a certificate authority

You perform this task to generate a certificate signing request (CSR) that can then be submitted to a third-party trusted certificate authority (CA).
Note: F5 Networks recommends that you consult the CA to determine the specific information required for each step in this task.
  1. On the Main tab, click System > File Management > SSL Certificate List. The SSL Certificate List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the SSL certificate.
  4. From the Issuer list, select Certificate Authority.
  5. In the Common Name field, type a name. This is typically the name of a web site, such as www.siterequest.com.
  6. In the Division field, type your department name.
  7. In the Organization field, type your company name.
  8. In the Locality field, type your city name.
  9. In the or State or Province field, type your state or province name.
  10. From the Country list, select the name of your country.
  11. In the E-mail Address field, type your email address.
  12. In the Lifetime field, type a number of days, or retain the default, 365.
  13. In the Subject Alternative Name field, type a name. This name is embedded in the certificate for X509 extension purposes. By assigning this name, you can protect multiple host names with a single SSL certificate.
  14. In the Challenge Password field, type a password.
  15. In the Confirm Password field, re-type the password you typed in the Challenge Password field.
  16. From the Key Type list, select a key type. Possible values are: RSA, DSA, and ECDSA.
  17. From the Size or Curve Name list, select either a size, in bits, or a curve name.
  18. If the BIG-IP system contains an internal HSM module, specify a location for storing the private key.
  19. Click Finished. The Certificate Signing Request screen displays.
  20. Do one of the following to download the request into a file on your system.
    • In the Request Text field, copy the certificate.
    • For Request File, click the button.
  21. Follow the instructions on the relevant certificate authority web site for either pasting the copied request or attaching the generated request file.
  22. Click Finished. The Certificate Signing Request screen displays.
The generated certificate signing request is submitted to a trusted certificate authority for signature.

Creating a custom HTTP profile

An HTTP profile defines the way that you want the BIG-IPsystem to manage HTTP traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > HTTP. The HTTP profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New HTTP Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select http.
  5. Select the Custom check box.
  6. Modify the settings, as required.
  7. Click Finished.
The custom HTTP profile now appears in the HTTP profile list screen.

Creating a custom Client SSL profile

You create a custom Client SSL profile when you want the BIG-IP system to terminate client-side SSL traffic for the purpose of decrypting client-side ingress traffic and encrypting client-side egress traffic. By terminating client-side SSL traffic, the BIG-IP system offloads these decryption/encryption functions from the destination server. When you perform this task, you can specify multiple certificate key chains, one for each key type (RSA, DSA, and ECDSA). This allows the BIG-IP system to negotiate secure client connections using different cipher suites based on the client's preference.
Important: At a minimum, you must specify a certificate key chain that includes an RSA key pair. Specifying certificate key chains for DSA and ECDSA key pairs is optional, although highly recommended.
Important: If you create multiple Client SSL profiles and assign them to the same virtual server, then for each of the following profile settings, you must configure the same value in each profile. For example, if the Frequency setting in one profile is set to once, then the Frequency setting in all other Client SSL profiles for that virtual server must be set to once.
  • Ciphers
  • Client Certificate
  • Frequency
  • Certificate Chain Traversal Depth
  • Certificate Revocation List (CRL)
  • Trusted Certificate Authorities
  • Advertised Certificate Authorities
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > SSL > Client. The Client profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Client SSL Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select clientssl.
  5. Select the Custom check box. The settings become available for change.
  6. Using the Certificate Key Chain setting, specify one or more certificate key chains:
    1. From the Certificate list, select a certificate name. This is the name of a certificate that you installed on the BIG-IP system. If you have not generated a certificate request nor installed a certificate on the BIG-IP system, you can specify the name of an existing certificate, default.
    2. From the Key list, select the name of the key associated with the certificate specified in the previous step. This is the name of a key that you installed on the BIG-IP system. If you have not installed a key on the BIG-IP system, you can specify the name of an existing key, default.
    3. From the Chain list, select the chain that you want to include in the certificate key chain. A certificate chain can contain either a series of public key certificates in Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM) format or a series of one or more PEM files. A certificate chain can contain certificates for Intermediate certificate Authorities (CAs).
      Note: The default self-signed certificate and the default CA bundle certificate are not appropriate for use as a certificate chain.
    4. For the Passphrase field, type a string that enables access to SSL certificate/key pairs that are stored on the BIG-IP system with password protection. This setting is optional. For added security, the BIG-IP system automatically encrypts the pass phrase itself. This pass phrase encryption process is invisible to BIG-IP system administrative users.
    5. From the OCSP Stapling Parameters list, select an OCSP stapling profile. This setting is optional. To enable OCSP stapling, you must create an OCSP Stapling profile, which you can then select from this list.
    6. Click Add and repeat the process for all certificate key chains that you want to specify.
      Sample configuration with three key types specified Sample configuration with three key types specified
      The result is that all specified key chains appear in the box.
  7. If you want to use a cipher suite other than DEFAULT:
    1. From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
    2. For the Ciphers setting, type the name of a cipher. You can specify a particular string to indicate the ciphers that you want the BIG-IP system to use for SSL negotiation, or you can specify ciphers that you do not want the system to use. Examples of cipher values that you can specify are ECDHE and DEFAULT:!ECDHE.
  8. Configure all other profile settings as needed.
  9. Click Finished.
After performing this task, you can see the custom Client SSL profile in the list of Client SSL profiles on the system.
You must also assign the profile to a virtual server.

Creating a custom Server SSL profile

With a Server SSL profile, the BIG-IP system can perform decryption and encryption for server-side SSL traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > SSL > Server. The SSL Server profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Server SSL Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. Select serverssl in the Parent Profile list.
  5. From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
  6. Select the Custom check box. The settings become available for change.
  7. From the Certificate list, select the name of an SSL certificate on the BIG-IP system.
  8. From the Key list, select the name of an SSL key on the BIG-IP system.
  9. In the Pass Phrase field, select a pass phrase that enables access to the certificate/key pair on the BIG-IP system.
  10. From the Chain list, select the name of an SSL chain on the BIG-IP system.
  11. If you want to use a cipher suite other than DEFAULT:
    1. From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
    2. For the Ciphers setting, type the name of a cipher. You can specify a particular string to indicate the ciphers that you want the BIG-IP system to use for SSL negotiation, or you can specify ciphers that you do not want the system to use. Examples of cipher values that you can specify are ECDHE and DEFAULT:!ECDHE.
  12. Select the Custom check box for Server Authentication.
  13. Modify the settings, as required.
  14. Click Finished.
To use this profile, you must assign it to a virtual server.

Creating a pool to manage HTTPS traffic

You can create a pool (a logical set of devices, such as web servers, that you group together to receive and process HTTPS traffic) to efficiently distribute the load on your server resources.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Pools. The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. For the Health Monitors setting, assign https or https_443 by moving it from the Available list to the Active list.
  5. From the Load Balancing Method list, select how the system distributes traffic to members of this pool. The default is Round Robin.
  6. For the Priority Group Activation setting, specify how to handle priority groups:
    • Select Disabled to disable priority groups. This is the default option.
    • Select Less than, and in the Available Members field type the minimum number of members that must remain available in each priority group in order for traffic to remain confined to that group.
  7. Use the New Members setting to add each resource that you want to include in the pool:
    1. In the Address field, type an IP address.
    2. In the Service Port field type 443 , or select HTTPS from the list.
    3. (Optional) Type a priority number in the Priority field.
    4. Click Add.
  8. Click Finished.
The HTTPS load balancing pool now appears in the Pool List screen.

Creating a virtual server for client-side and server-side HTTPS traffic

You can specify a virtual server to be either a host virtual server or a network virtual server to manage HTTP traffic over SSL.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers. The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button. The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the Destination Address field, type the IP address in CIDR format. The supported format is address/prefix, where the prefix length is in bits. For example, an IPv4 address/prefix is 10.0.0.1 or 10.0.0.0/24, and an IPv6 address/prefix is ffe1::0020/64 or 2001:ed8:77b5:2:10:10:100:42/64. When you use an IPv4 address without specifying a prefix, the BIG-IP system automatically uses a /32 prefix.
    Note: The IP address you type must be available and not in the loopback network.
  5. Type 443 in the Service Port field, or select HTTPS from the list.
  6. For the HTTP Profile setting, verify that the default HTTP profile, http, is selected.
  7. For the SSL Profile (Client) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Client SSL profile you previously created, and using the Move button, move the name to the Selected list.
  8. For the SSL Profile (Server) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Server SSL profile you previously created, and using the Move button, move the name to the Selected list.
  9. Click Finished.
The virtual server now appears in the Virtual Server List screen.

Implementation results

After you complete the tasks in this implementation, the BIG-IP system ensures that SSL authentication and encryption occurs for both client-side and server-side HTTP traffic. The system performs this authentication and encryption according to the values you specify in the Client SSL and Server SSL profiles.

Table of Contents   |   << Previous Chapter   |   Next Chapter >>

Was this resource helpful in solving your issue?




NOTE: Please do not provide personal information.



Incorrect answer. Please try again: Please enter the words to the right: Please enter the numbers you hear:

Additional Comments (optional)