How to Create an HTTPS NodeJS Web Sevice with Express

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HTTPS is the more secure alternative to HTTP, and Express gives you a straightforward way of creating HTTPS-enabled RESTful web services with Node.js. In this tutorial, we’ll take an existing node app and transition it over to use HTTPS by changing just one line in our codebase: from http://localhost/, change it to https://mywebsite.com/.

The “nodejs https request example” is a tutorial on how to create an HTTPS NodeJS web service with Express.

How to Create an HTTPS NodeJS Web Sevice with Express

It’s critical to maintain communication safe while hosting NodeJS web apps using external APIs. Setting up Express, a popular NodeJS web framework, and enabling API endpoints to interact through HTTPS using NodeJS is a wonderful method to achieve so.

This article will show you how to install and setup the Express NodeJS application framework, as well as how to create an encrypted API endpoint for secure communication.

Let’s get this party started!

Prerequisites

This lesson will take you through a step-by-step process. Make sure you have the following items in order to follow along:

  • A Linux computer – Ubuntu 20.04 will be used in this lesson.
  • NodeJS — For all of your Express applications, NodeJS serves as the runtime environment.

Getting Started with NodeJS

It’s time to set up Express once you’ve installed NodeJS on your server. A NodeJS package is the simplest method to install Express. But first, create a directory for this demonstration project. For the sake of this tutorial, this directory will be placed under /NodejsHTTPSServer.

mkdir /NodejsHTTPSServer/NodejsHTTPSServer/NodejsHTTPSServer/Nodej

Then, using npm init, create a new NodeJS project. This command will produce a package.json file in the directory you just established, which will include all of the essential information for the project you’re working on.

To accept the default settings, use the -y option, as shown below. This lesson does not need any special NodeJS project settings. This step will generate a NodeJS project named after the folder (NodejsHTTPSServer).

Express Installation

It’s now time to set up the Express package. Run the following command to install the NodeJS Express package. As seen below, this command will install the NodeJS Express package and store the information in the package.json file.

nstalling the Express.js framework nstalling the Express.js framework

How to Make a Web Service

It’s now time to use Express to build a web application or server!

1. To begin, make sure you’re in the /NodejsHTTPSServer directory and create a blank index.js file. This file will be a Javascript script that contains all of the code that NodeJS will run when the web service is launched.

2. Now open the index.js file and paste the content below into it. When this file is run, it uses both built-in NodeJS modules and the loaded express module to create a web service that listens on port 4000.

// Import builtin NodeJS modules to instantiate the service const https = require(“https”); const fs = request(“fs”); // Import the express module const express = require(“express”); // Instantiate an Express application const app = express(); // Create a NodeJS HTTPS listener on port 4000 that points to the Express app // Use a callback function to tell when the server is created. https .createServer(app) .listen(4000, ()=>{ console.log(‘server is runing at port 4000’) }); // Create an try point route for the Express app listening on port 4000. // This code tells the service to listed to any request coming to the / route. // Once the request is received, it will display a message “Hello from express server.” app.get(‘/’, (req,res)=>{ res.send(“Hello from express server.”) })

3. Once you’ve finished creating the Express project, tell NodeJS to start it up so the web service can be used.

If everything goes well, the callback function specified above will be used to return a message indicating that the process has begun.

Express Server is currently running. Express Server is currently running.

4. Finally, you may test the service by opening a web browser and going to http://localhost:4000/. If everything went well, you should get a message that says “Hello from express server.”

How to Make an SSL Certificate

Your NodeJS application does not currently support HTTPS. It works on unencrypted HTTP, which is insecure. Let’s make a difference.

X509 Certificates: A Beginner’s Guide (For Mortals)

You may use a public, trustworthy certificate or a self-signed certificate to establish an SSL certificate for our NodeJS HTTPS implementation. Because it’s much simpler for proof-of-concept projects, this tutorial will employ a self-signed certificate issued locally by the host.

Always get and install a trustworthy certificate if you’re operating a NodeJS HTTPS application using Express in a production environment!

Creating Certificates using PowerShell: New-SelfSignedCertificate

1. First, use the command below to create a key file for self-signed certificate creation. The command will generate a key.pem file with a private key.

genrsa -out key.pem openssl

2. Next, use the command below to create a certificate service request (CSR). To submit all of the essential data for creating the actual certificate, you’ll need a CSR.

req -new -key key.pem -out csr.pem openssl

Creating an SSL Key Creating an SSL Key

3. Finally, produce your certificate by signing it with the public key generated in step two and setting an expiration date of 9,999 days. The following command will generate a certificate named cert.pem.

x509 -req -days 9999 openssl -signkey key.pem -out cert.pem -in csr.pem

When you’re finished, your project folder should look like this:

/cert.pem /csr.pem /index.js /key.pem /package-lock.json /package.json NodejsHTTPSServer

Using HTTPS with Express

Your SSL certificate has been successfully generated at this point. It’s now time to set up HTTPS with NodeJS and Express. To enable HTTPS, you’ll need to make a little change to the Express app you prepared before.

How to Use NGINX to Redirect HTTP to HTTPS Traffic

Modify the createServer() function in the index.js file you prepared before, as shown below. You’ll see that the createServer() function requires both the private key (key.pem) and the public key/certificate (cert.pem).

The sample below reads both private and public keys, but only once when the service is launched.

https .createServer( // Provide the private and public key to the server by reading each // file’s content with the readFileSync() method. { key: fs.readFileSync(“key.pem”), cert: fs.readFileSync(“cert.pem”), }, app ) .listen(4000, () => { console.log(“serever is runing at port 4000”); });

After that, you’ve successfully setup an express HTTPS server. Go to https://localhost:4000 to test the application in your browser.

On your browser, you should still receive the same “Hello from express server” answer.

In-browser testing of an application In-browser testing of an application

If you can’t access the web service using HTTPS at first, the server may need to be terminated and restarted.

Conclusion

You should now be able to use the Express framework to create a NodeJS HTTPS web service. You may have a secure web service running over HTTPS by simply installing the Express NodeJS package and writing a simple setup script.

How do you see utilizing this web service script with Express to host NodeJS HTTPS web services?

The “node js ssl certificate configuration” is a process that can be done in order to create an HTTPS NodeJS web service with Express.

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