Using multiple SSL certificates in HTTPS load balancing with Ingress

This page shows you how to use multiple SSL certificates for Ingress with Internal and External load balancing.

Overview

If you want to accept HTTPS requests from your clients, the Internal or External HTTP(S) load balancer must have a certificate so it can prove its identity to your clients. The load balancer must also have a private key to complete the HTTPS handshake.

When the load balancer accepts an HTTPS request from a client, the traffic between the client and the load balancer is encrypted using TLS. However, the load balancer terminates the TLS encryption, and forwards the request without encryption to the application. When you configure an HTTP(S) load balancer through Ingress, you can configure the load balancer to present up to ten TLS certificates to the client.

The load balancer uses Server Name Indication (SNI) to determine which certificate to present to the client, based on the domain name in the TLS handshake. If the client does not use SNI, or if the client uses a domain name that does not match the Common Name (CN) in one of the certificates, the load balancer uses the first certificate listed in the Ingress. The following diagram depicts the load balancer sending traffic to different backends, depending on the domain name used in the request:

multiple SSL certificates with Ingress system diagram

You can provide an HTTPS load balancer with SSL certificates using one of three methods:

  • Google-managed SSL certificates. Refer to the managed certificates page for information on how to use them.

  • Google Cloud SSL Certificate that you are managing yourself. It uses a pre-shared certificate previously uploaded to your Google Cloud project.

  • Kubernetes Secrets. The Secret holds a certificate and key that you create yourself. To use a Secret, add its name in the tls field of your Ingress manifest.

You can use more than one method in the same Ingress. This allows for no-downtime migrations between methods.

Minimum GKE version

You must have GKE version 1.10.2 or later to use pre-shared certificates or to specify multiple certificates in an Ingress.

Prerequisites

To do the exercises on this page, you must own two domain names. You can use Google Domains or another registrar.

The big picture

Here's an overview of the steps in this topic:

  1. Create a Deployment.

  2. Create a Service.

  3. Create two certificate files and two key files or two ManagedCertificate objects. Ensure you configure these certificates in the same project and same namespace as where the load balancer is deployed.

  4. Create an Ingress that uses either Secrets or pre-shared certificates. As a result of creating the Ingress, GKE creates and configures an HTTP(S) load balancer.

  5. Test the HTTP(S) load balancer.

Before you begin

Before you start, make sure you have performed the following tasks:

Set up default gcloud settings using one of the following methods:

  • Using gcloud init, if you want to be walked through setting defaults.
  • Using gcloud config, to individually set your project ID, zone, and region.

Using gcloud init

If you receive the error One of [--zone, --region] must be supplied: Please specify location, complete this section.

  1. Run gcloud init and follow the directions:

    gcloud init

    If you are using SSH on a remote server, use the --console-only flag to prevent the command from launching a browser:

    gcloud init --console-only
  2. Follow the instructions to authorize gcloud to use your Google Cloud account.
  3. Create a new configuration or select an existing one.
  4. Choose a Google Cloud project.
  5. Choose a default Compute Engine zone for zonal clusters or a region for regional or Autopilot clusters.

Using gcloud config

  • Set your default project ID:
    gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID
  • If you are working with zonal clusters, set your default compute zone:
    gcloud config set compute/zone COMPUTE_ZONE
  • If you are working with Autopilot or regional clusters, set your default compute region:
    gcloud config set compute/region COMPUTE_REGION
  • Update gcloud to the latest version:
    gcloud components update

Creating a Deployment

Here is a manifest for a Deployment:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
  name: my-mc-deployment
spec:
  selector:
    matchLabels:
      app: products
      department: sales
  replicas: 3
  template:
    metadata:
      labels:
        app: products
        department: sales
    spec:
      containers:
      - name: hello
        image: "us-docker.pkg.dev/google-samples/containers/gke/hello-app:1.0"
        env:
        - name: "PORT"
          value: "50001"
      - name: hello-again
        image: "us-docker.pkg.dev/google-samples/containers/gke/hello-app:2.0"
        env:
        - name: "PORT"
          value: "50002"

The Deployment has three Pods, and each Pod has two containers. One container runs hello-app:1.0 and listens on TCP port 50001. The other container runs hello-app:2.0 and listens on TCP port 50002.

Copy the manifest to a file named my-mc-deployment.yaml, and create the Deployment:

kubectl apply -f my-mc-deployment.yaml

Creating a Service

Here is a manifest for a Service:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
metadata:
  name: my-mc-service
spec:
  type: NodePort
  selector:
    app: products
    department: sales
  ports:
  - name: my-first-port
    protocol: TCP
    port: 60001
    targetPort: 50001
  - name: my-second-port
    protocol: TCP
    port: 60002
    targetPort: 50002

The selector field in the Service manifest says any Pod that has the app: products label and the department: sales label is a member of this Service. So the Pods of the Deployment you created in the preceding step are members of the Service.

The ports field of the Service manifest is an array of ServicePort objects. When a client sends a request to the Service on my-first-port, the request is forwarded to one of the member Pods on port 50001. When a client sends a request to the Service on my-second-port, the request is forwarded to one of the member Pods on port 50002.

Copy the manifest to a file named my-mc-service.yaml, and create the Service:

kubectl apply -f my-mc-service.yaml

Creating certificates and keys

To do the exercises on this page, you need two certificates, each with a corresponding key. Each certificate must have a Common Name (CN) that is equal to a domain name that you own. You can create those certificates manually or use Google-managed certificates. If you already have two certificate files with the appropriate values for Common Name, you can skip ahead to the next section.

User-managed certs

  1. Create your first key:

    openssl genrsa -out test-ingress-1.key 2048
    
  2. Create your first certificate signing request:

    openssl req -new -key test-ingress-1.key -out test-ingress-1.csr \
        -subj "/CN=FIRST_DOMAIN"
    

    Replace FIRST_DOMAIN with a domain name that you own.

    For example, suppose you want the load balancer to serve requests from the example.com domain. Your certificate signing request would look like this:

    openssl req -new -key test-ingress-1.key -out test-ingress-1.csr \
        -subj "/CN=example.com"
    
  3. Create your first certificate:

    openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in test-ingress-1.csr -signkey test-ingress-1.key \
        -out test-ingress-1.crt
    
  4. Create your second key:

    openssl genrsa -out test-ingress-2.key 2048
    
  5. Create your second certificate signing request:

    openssl req -new -key test-ingress-2.key -out test-ingress-2.csr \
        -subj "/CN=SECOND_DOMAIN"
    

    Replace SECOND_DOMAIN with another domain name that you own.

    For example, suppose you want the load balancer to serve requests from the examplepetstore.com domain. Your certificate signing request would look like this:

    openssl req -new -key test-ingress-2.key -out test-ingress-2.csr \
        -subj "/CN=examplepetstore.com"
    
  6. Create your second certificate:

    openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in test-ingress-2.csr -signkey test-ingress-2.key \
        -out test-ingress-2.crt
    

For more information about certificates and keys, see the SSL certificates overview.

You now have two certificate files and two key files.

The remaining tasks use the following placeholders to refer to your domains, certificates, and keys:

  • FIRST_CERT_FILE: the path to your first certificate file.
  • FIRST_KEY_FILE: the path to the key file that goes with your first certificate.
  • FIRST_DOMAIN: a domain name that you own.
  • FIRST_SECRET_NAME: the name of the Secret containing your first certificate and key.
  • SECOND_CERT_FILE: the path to your second certificate file.
  • SECOND_KEY_FILE: the path to the key file that goes with your second certificate.
  • SECOND_DOMAIN: a second domain name that you own.
  • SECOND_SECRET_NAME: the name of the Secret containing your second certificate and key.

Google-managed certs

To create Google-managed certificates, you must add ManagedCertificate objects to the namespace of your Ingress. You can use the following template to define certificates for your domains:

  apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
  kind: ManagedCertificate
  metadata:
    name: FIRST_CERT_NAME
  spec:
    domains:
      - FIRST_DOMAIN
  ---
  apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
  kind: ManagedCertificate
  metadata:
    name: SECOND_CERT_NAME
  spec:
    domains:
      - SECOND_DOMAIN

Replace the following:

  • FIRST_CERT_NAME: the name of your first ManagedCertificate object.
  • FIRST_DOMAIN: the first domain that you own.
  • SECOND_CERT_NAME: the name of the second ManagedCertificate object.
  • SECOND_DOMAIN: the second domain that you own.

Specifying certificates for your Ingress

The next step is to create an Ingress object. In your Ingress manifest, you can use one of the following methods to provide certificates for the load balancer:

  • Secrets
  • Pre-shared certificates
  • Google-managed certificates

Choose one of the methods by selecting one of the tabs:

Secrets

Creating Secrets

  1. Create a Secret that holds your first certificate and key:

    kubectl create secret tls FIRST_SECRET_NAME \
        --cert FIRST_CERT_FILE --key FIRST_KEY_FILE
    
  2. Create a Secret that holds your second certificate and key:

    kubectl create secret tls SECOND_SECRET_NAME \
        --cert SECOND_CERT_FILE --key SECOND_KEY_FILE
    

Creating an Ingress

Here is a manifest for an Ingress:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: my-mc-ingress
spec:
  tls:
  - secretName: FIRST_SECRET_NAME
  - secretName: SECOND_SECRET_NAME
  rules:
  - host: FIRST_DOMAIN
    http:
      paths:
      - pathType: ImplementationSpecific
        backend:
          service:
            name: my-mc-service
            port:
              name: my-first-port
  - host: SECOND_DOMAIN
    http:
      paths:
      - pathType: ImplementationSpecific
        backend:
          service:
            name: my-mc-service
            port:
              name: my-second-port
  1. Copy the manifest to a file named my-mc-ingress.yaml. Replace FIRST_DOMAIN and SECOND_DOMAIN with domain names that you own, for example example.com and examplepetstore.com.

  2. Create the Ingress:

    kubectl apply -f my-mc-ingress.yaml
    

    When you create an Ingress, the GKE Ingress controller creates an HTTP(S) load balancer. Wait a minute for GKE assign an external IP address to the load balancer.

  3. Describe your Ingress:

    kubectl describe ingress my-mc-ingress
    

    The output shows that two Secrets are associated with the Ingress. The output also shows the external IP address of the load balancer.

    Name: my-mc-ingress
    Address: 203.0.113.1
    ...
    TLS:
      FIRST_SECRET_NAME terminates
      SECOND_SECRET_NAME terminates
    Rules:
      Host              Path  Backends
      ----              ----  --------
      FIRST_DOMAIN
                         my-mc-service:my-first-port (<none>)
      SECOND_DOMAIN
                         my-mc-service:my-second-port (<none>)
    Annotations:
    ...
    Events:
      Type    Reason  Age   From                     Message
      ----    ------  ----  ----                     -------
      Normal  ADD     3m    loadbalancer-controller  default/my-mc-ingress
      Normal  CREATE  2m    loadbalancer-controller  ip: 203.0.113.1
    

Pre-shared certs

Creating pre-shared certificates

  1. Create a certificate resource in your Google Cloud project:

    gcloud compute ssl-certificates create FIRST_CERT_NAME \
        --certificate FIRST_CERT_FILE  --private-key FIRST_KEY_FILE
    

    Replace the following:

    • FIRST_CERT_NAME: the name of your first certificate.
    • FIRST_CERT_FILE: your first certificate file.
    • FIRST_KEY_FILE: your first key file.
  2. Create a second certificate resource in your Google Cloud project:

    gcloud compute ssl-certificates create SECOND_CERT_NAME \
        --certificate SECOND_CERT_FILE --private-key SECOND_KEY_FILE
    

    Replace the following:

    • SECOND_CERT_NAME: the name of your second certificate.
    • SECOND_CERT_FILE: your second certificate file.
    • SECOND_KEY_FILE: your second key file.
  3. View your certificate resources:

    gcloud compute ssl-certificates list
    

    The output shows you have certificate resources named FIRST_CERT_NAME and SECOND_CERT_NAME:

    NAME                   CREATION_TIMESTAMP
    FIRST_CERT_NAME      2018-11-03T12:08:47.751-07:00
    SECOND_CERT_NAME     2018-11-03T12:09:25.359-07:00
    

Creating GKE Ingress

Here's a manifest for an Ingress that lists pre-shared certificate resources in an annotation:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: my-psc-ingress
  annotations:
    ingress.gcp.kubernetes.io/pre-shared-cert: "FIRST_CERT_NAME,SECOND_CERT_NAME"
spec:
  rules:
  - host: FIRST_DOMAIN
    http:
      paths:
      - pathType: ImplementationSpecific
        backend:
          service:
            name: my-mc-service
            port:
              name: my-first-port
  - host: SECOND_DOMAIN
    http:
      paths:
      - pathType: ImplementationSpecific
        backend:
          service:
            name: my-mc-service
            port:
              name: my-second-port
  1. Copy the manifest to a file named my-psc-ingress.yaml. Replace FIRST_DOMAIN and SECOND_DOMAIN with your domain names.

  2. Create the Ingress:

    kubectl apply -f my-psc-ingress.yaml
    

    Wait a minute for GKE to assign an external IP address to the load balancer.

  3. Describe your Ingress:

    kubectl describe ingress my-psc-ingress
    

    The output shows that the Ingress is associated with pre-shared certificates named FIRST_CERT_NAME and SECOND_CERT_NAME. The output also shows the external IP address of the load balancer:

    Name:             my-psc-ingress
    Address:          203.0.113.2
    ...
    Rules:
      Host              Path  Backends
      ----              ----  --------
      FIRST_DOMAIN
                         my-mc-service:my-first-port (<none>)
      SECOND_DOMAIN
                         my-mc-service:my-second-port (<none>)
    Annotations:
      ...
      ingress.gcp.kubernetes.io/pre-shared-cert:    FIRST_CERT_NAME,SECOND_CERT_NAME
      ...
      ingress.kubernetes.io/ssl-cert:               FIRST_CERT_NAME,SECOND_CERT_NAME
    Events:
      Type    Reason  Age   From                     Message
      ----    ------  ----  ----                     -------
      Normal  ADD     2m    loadbalancer-controller  default/my-psc-ingress
      Normal  CREATE  1m    loadbalancer-controller  ip: 203.0.113.2
    

Google-managed certs

Creating GKE Ingress

Here's a manifest for an Ingress that lists pre-shared certificate resources in an annotation:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: my-gmc-ingress
  annotations:
    networking.gke.io/managed-certificates: "FIRST_CERT_NAME,SECOND_CERT_NAME"
spec:
  rules:
  - host: FIRST_DOMAIN
    http:
      paths:
      - pathType: ImplementationSpecific
        backend:
          service:
            name: my-mc-service
            port:
              name: my-first-port
  - host: SECOND_DOMAIN
    http:
      paths:
      - pathType: ImplementationSpecific
        backend:
          service:
            name: my-mc-service
            port:
              name: my-second-port
  1. Copy the manifest to a file named my-gmc-ingress.yaml. Replace FIRST_DOMAIN and SECOND_DOMAIN with your domain names.

  2. Create the Ingress:

    kubectl apply -f my-gmc-ingress.yaml
    

    Wait a minute for GKE to assign an external IP address to the load balancer.

  3. Describe your Ingress:

    kubectl describe ingress my-gmc-ingress
    

    The output shows that the Ingress is associated with managed certificates named FIRST_CERT_NAME and SECOND_CERT_NAME. GKE automatically fills the ingress.gcp.kubernetes.io/pre-shared-cert and ingress.kubernetes.io/ssl-cert annotations to point to the Google-managed certificates that you created using the ManagedCertificate objects The output also shows the external IP address of the load balancer:

    Name:             my-gmc-ingress
    Address:          203.0.113.2
    ...
    Rules:
      Host              Path  Backends
      ----              ----  --------
      FIRST_DOMAIN
                         my-mc-service:my-first-port (<none>)
      SECOND_DOMAIN
                         my-mc-service:my-second-port (<none>)
    Annotations:
      ...
      ingress.gcp.kubernetes.io/pre-shared-cert:    mcrt-a6e41ce4-2b39-4334-84ce-867ff543c424,mcrt-bbff4116-f014-4800-a43a-4095bffeb4f4
      ...
      ingress.kubernetes.io/ssl-cert:               mcrt-a6e41ce4-2b39-4334-84ce-867ff543c424,mcrt-bbff4116-f014-4800-a43a-4095bffeb4f4
      networking.gke.io/managed-certificates:       FIRST_CERT_NAME,SECOND_CERT_NAME
    Events:
      Type    Reason  Age   From                     Message
      ----    ------  ----  ----                     -------
      Normal  ADD     2m    loadbalancer-controller  default/my-gmc-ingress
      Normal  CREATE  1m    loadbalancer-controller  ip: 203.0.113.2
    

Testing the load balancer

Wait about five minutes for GKE to finish configuring the load balancer. In case of Google-managed certificates, it might take considerably longer to complete the configuration, as the system needs to provision the certificates and verify the DNS configuration for given domains.

To do this step, you need to own two domain names, and both of your domain names must resolve the external IP address of the HTTP(S) load balancer.

Send a request to the load balancer by using your first domain name:

curl -v https://FIRST_DOMAIN

The output shows that your first certificate was used in the TLS handshake. If your first domain is example.com, the output is similar to this:

...
*   Trying 203.0.113.1...
...
* Connected to example.com (203.0.113.1) port 443 (#0)
...
* TLSv1.2 (IN), TLS handshake, Certificate (11):
...
* Server certificate:
*  subject: CN=example.com
...
> Host: example.com
...
Hello, world!
Version: 1.0.0
...

Send a request to the load balancer by using your second domain name:

curl -v https://SECOND_DOMAIN

The output shows that your second certificate was used in the TLS handshake. If your second domain is examplepetstore.com, the output is similar to this:

...
*   Trying 203.0.113.1...
...
* Connected to examplepetstore.com (203.0.113.1) port 443 (#0)
...
* Server certificate:
*  subject: CN=examplepetstore.com
...
> Host: examplepetstore.com
...
Hello, world!
Version: 2.0.0

The hosts field of an Ingress object

An IngressSpec has a tls field that is an array of IngressTLS objects. Each IngressTLS object has a hosts field and SecretName field. In GKE, the hosts field is not used. GKE reads the Common Name (CN) from the certificate in the Secret. If the Common Name matches the domain name in a client request, then the load balancer presents the matching certificate to the client.

Which certificate is presented?

The load balancer chooses a certificate according to these rules:

  • If both Secrets and pre-shared certificates are listed in the Ingress, the pre-shared certificates take priority over Secrets. In other words, Secrets are still included but pre-shared certificates are presented first.

  • If no certificate has a Common Name (CN) that matches the domain name in the client request, the load balancer presents the primary certificate.

  • For Secrets listed in the tls block, the primary certificate is in the first Secret in the list.

  • For pre-shared certificates listed in the annotation, the primary certificate is the first certificate in the list.

Certificate rotation best practices

If you wish to rotate the contents of your certificate (Secret or pre-shared), here are some best practices:

  • Create a new Secret or pre-shared certificate with a different name that contains the new certificate data. Attach this resource (along with the existing one) to your Ingress using instructions provided earlier. Once satisfied with the changes, you can remove the old cert from the Ingress.
  • If you don't mind disrupting traffic, you can remove the old resource from the Ingress, provision a new resource with the same name but different contents and then reattach it to the Ingress.

To avoid managing certificate rotation yourself, see the Google-managed SSL feature.

Troubleshooting

Specifying invalid or non-existent Secrets results in a Kubernetes event error. You can check Kubernetes events for an Ingress as follows:

kubectl describe ingress

This output is similar to this:

Name:             my-ingress
Namespace:        default
Address:          203.0.113.3
Default backend:  hello-server:8080 (10.8.0.3:8080)
TLS:
  my-faulty-Secret terminates
Rules:
  Host  Path  Backends
  ----  ----  --------
  *     *     my-service:443 (10.8.0.3:443)
Events:
   Error during sync: cannot get certs for Ingress default/my-ingress:
 Secret "my-faulty-ingress" has no 'tls.crt'

What's next