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Enable HTTPS on your web server

To secure network communication between ArcGIS Web Adaptor and a server or portal, use the HTTPS protocol.

The HTTPS protocol is a standard security technology used to establish an encrypted link between a web server and a web client. HTTPS facilitates secure network communication by identifying and authenticating the server as well as ensuring the privacy and integrity of all transmitted data. Since HTTPS prevents eavesdropping on or tampering with information sent over the network, it should be used with any login or authentication mechanism and on any network where communication contains confidential or proprietary information.

You must obtain a server certificate and bind it to the website that hosts ArcGIS Web Adaptor. Each web server has its own procedure for loading a certificate and binding it to a website.

Also ensure that your web server is set to ignore client certificates to correctly access secure services over HTTPS.

Create or obtain a server certificate

To create an HTTPS connection between ArcGIS Web Adaptor and a server or portal, the web server requires a server certificate. A certificate is a digital file that contains information about the identity of the web server. It also contains the encryption technique to use when establishing a secure channel between the web server and the server or portal. A certificate must be created by the owner of the website and digitally signed. There are three types of certificates—CA-signed, domain, and self-signed—which are explained below.

CA-signed certificates

Certificates signed by an independent certificate authority (CA) assure clients that the identity of the website has been verified. A certificate authority is usually a trusted third party that can attest to the authenticity of a website. If a website is trustworthy, the certificate authority adds its own digital signature to that website's self-signed certificate. This assures web clients that the website's identity has been verified.

Use CA-signed certificates for production systems, particularly if your server or portal is going to be accessed from users outside your organization.

When you use a certificate issued by a well-known certificate authority, secure communication between the server and the web client occurs automatically with no special action required by the organization administrator or clients that access it. There is no unexpected behavior or warning message displayed in the web browser, because the website has been verified by the certificate authority.

Domain certificates

If your server or portal is located behind your firewall and you are unable to use a CA-signed certificate, use a domain certificate. A domain certificate is an internal certificate signed by your organization's certificate authority. Using a domain certificate helps you reduce the cost of issuing certificates and eases certificate deployment, because certificates can be generated within your organization for trusted internal use.

Users within your domain will not experience any of the unexpected behavior or warning messages typically associated with a self-signed certificate, because the website has been verified by the domain certificate. However, domain certificates are not validated by an external certificate authority, which means users visiting your site from outside your domain will not be able to verify that your certificate really represents the party it claims to represent. External users will see browser warnings about the site being untrusted, which may lead them to think they are actually communicating with a malicious party and be turned away from your site.

Self-signed certificates

A certificate signed only by the owner of the website is called a self-signed certificate. Self-signed certificates are commonly used on websites that are only available to users on the organization's internal (LAN) network. If you communicate with a website outside your own network that uses a self-signed certificate, you have no way to verify that the site issuing the certificate really represents the party it claims to represent. You could actually be communicating with a malicious party, putting your information at risk.

Creating a self-signed certificate should not be considered a valid option for a production environment, as it will lead to unexpected results and a poor experience for all users of the organization.

When you first set up the organization, you can use a self-signed certificate to do some initial testing to help you quickly verify that your configuration was successful. However, if you use a self-signed certificate, you will experience the following when testing:

  • You will receive warnings about the site being untrusted when you access the organization from a web browser or desktop client.

    When a web browser encounters a self-signed certificate, it typically displays a warning and asks you to confirm that you want to proceed to the site. Many browsers display warning icons or a red color in the address bar as long as you use the self-signed certificate. Expect to see these types of warnings if you configure the organization with a self-signed certificate.

  • You cannot open a federated service in a map viewer, add a secured service item to the organization, sign in to ArcGIS Server Manager on a federated server, or connect to the organization from ArcGIS for Office.

    To allow you to sign in from ArcGIS for Office, install the self-signed certificate to the Trusted Root Certification Authorities certificate store on the machine running ArcGIS for Office.

  • You may experience unexpected behavior when printing hosted services and accessing the organization from client applications.


The above list of issues you will experience when using a self-signed certificate is not exhaustive. It is recommended that you use a domain certificate or CA-signed certificate to fully test and deploy an ArcGIS Enterprise organization.

Bind the certificate to the website

You must bind your certificate to the website hosting ArcGIS Web Adaptor. Binding refers to the process of configuring the certificate to use port 443 on the website.

The instructions for binding a certificate with the website vary depending on the platform and version of your web server. For instructions, consult your system administrator or your web server's documentation.

Test your site

After obtaining or creating a certificate that is bound to port 443, configure ArcGIS Web Adaptor for use. You must access the ArcGIS Web Adaptor configuration page using an HTTPS URL such as


If a host name is specified in the HTTPS site binding, it must match the host name in the URL used to access the ArcGIS Web Adaptor configuration page.

After you configure ArcGIS Web Adaptor, test that HTTPS is working properly by making an HTTPS request to the organization, for example,, or to ArcGIS Server Manager, for example, If you are testing with a self-signed certificate, dismiss the browser warnings about untrusted connections. This usually involves adding an exception to your browser so that it will allow you to communicate with the site that is using a self-signed certificate.