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AMQP 0-9-1 library and client for Node.JS

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var opts = {
  cert: certificateAsBuffer,      // client cert
  key: privateKeyAsBuffer,        // client key
  passphrase: 'MySecretPassword', // passphrase for key
  ca: [caCertAsBuffer]            // array of trusted CA certs

var open = require('amqplib').connect('amqps://localhost', opts);
open.then(function(conn) {
  // ... go to town
}).then(null, console.warn);

See also the SSL example.


Usually SSL is used for two reasons: to encrypt communications, and to verify the communicating parties. For the latter purpose, the client and server exchange certificates, then each decide if they trust one another’s identity by checking who has signed the certificate (the Certificate Authority, or CA).

The general idea is that there are root CAs that are inherently trusted; a certificate that can be traced back to a root CA is transitively trusted. Since it usually costs a wad of money to get a properly signed certificate, for some purposes it easier and cheaper to use self-signed certificates; this is like creating a new root CA just for your own use.

If you wish to use SSL only to encrypt communications, you should not use a client certificate. The server will likely be configured with a certificate, however; if it is a self-signed certificate you’ll need to supply the CA cert in the ca option.

Configuring RabbitMQ for SSL connections

The RabbitMQ documentation has a step-by-step guide to getting RabbitMQ to listen for SSL connections. In essence, the procedure is:

If you have fancy CA-signed certificates already, you can of course skip those initial steps (which is most of the faff).

Verification in RabbitMQ is governed by two configuration settings: fail_if_no_peer_cert and verify. The first says what happens if the client can’t supply a certificate; if you want only encryption, this should be false. The second says whether to make sure any certificate that is presented, is trusted; if you are planning to use client certificates, you should set this to verify_peer, otherwise verify_none.

Connecting the client via SSL

To connect to an SSL-enabled server, you must use a URL starting with 'amqps://' (note ‘s’), and supply an options object which will be passed through to tls.connect(). The particular options you need depend on whether you are using a client certificate.

With a client certificate, you need to provide the certificate and its corresponding secret key (in order to prove its yours); often the secret key will be protected by a passphrase, too, if so you need to provide that as well. Lastly, if the server is using a self-signed certificate, you’ll need its CA certificate.

The certificates and keys are supplied as byte buffers or strings, and generally obtained from files; it’s usually easiest, therefore, to just read the files into buffers synchronously (they’re not big, and you only need to do it once):

var opts = {
  cert: fs.readFileSync('clientcert.pem'),
  key: fs.readFileSync('clientkey.pem'),
  passphrase: 'MySecretPassword',
  ca: [fs.readFileSync('cacert.pem')]

Note the CA cert goes in an array; you can supply more than one.

Usually certificates and keys are in PEM files. Sometimes the certificate and key are combined in a pkcs12 file instead; in which case, dispense with cert and key and use pfx instead:

var opts = {
  pfx: fs.readFileSync('clientcertkey.p12'),
  passphrase: 'MySecretPassword',
  ca: [fs.readFileSync('cacert.pem')]

Then give the options to the connect() function along with the URL:

var open = amqp.connect('amqps://localhost', opts);

and continue as normal.

Not using a client certificate

If you’re not going to use a client certificate, you need only to make sure you will trust the server certificate:

var opts = {
  ca: [fs.readFileSync('cacert.pem')]

Common problems

You can easily see the cause of a failure to connect by supplying e.g., console.warn as the failure continuation to connect():

var open = amqp.connect(url, opts);
open.then(null, console.warn);

A very useful tool for seeing what’s happening is openssl s_client. For example,

openssl s_client -connect

will tell you about the certificate supplies when you connect.


This usually means you don’t trust the server certificate. Check that you’re supplying the right CA certificate in the ca option.

[Error: Hostname/IP doesn’t match certificate’s altnames]

The hostname you gave in the URL when connecting doesn’t match that of the certificate supplied by the server. To check what the server says, you can use openssl s_client, e.g.,

openssl s_client -connect

The value you’re looking to match is the CN of the server certificate; look for something like subject=/ If testing things locally, it may be that the server cert got a FQDN but you’re connecting to 'amqps://localhost'.

[Error: connect ECONNREFUSED]

The server isn’t listening on the port you specified. If you didn’t mention a port, it defaults to 5671 for amqps connections.

[Error: … handshake failure: …]

Probably means you failed to provide a client certificate and the server was expecting one.

[Error: … unknown ca: …]

The server doesn’t recognise the CA that signed your client certificate. Make sure the server is told the CA certificate file you used to sign the client certificate, if it’s self-signed.