Checklist for a production CA server

As you prepare to build a production Fabric CA server, you need to consider configuration of the following fields in the fabric-ca-server-config.yaml file. When you initialize the CA server, this file is generated for you so that you can customize it before actually starting the server.

This checklist covers key configuration parameters for setting up a production network. Of course you can always refer to the fabric-ca-server-config.yaml file for additional parameters or more information. The list of parameters in this topic includes:


  # Name of this CA
  # Key file (is only used to import a private key into BCCSP)
  # Certificate file (default: ca-cert.pem)
  # Chain file

Start by giving your CA a name. Often the name indicates the organization that this CA will serve. Or, if this is a TLS CA you might want to indicate that in the name. This is used when targeting this server for requests by the Fabric CA Client --caname parameter. If the crypto material for this CA is generated elsewhere, you can provide the name of the files along with the fully qualified path or relative path to where they reside. The keyfile parameter is the private key and certfile is the public key.

The chainfile parameter applies only to intermediate CAs. When starting up an intermediate CA, the CA will create the chainfile at the location specified by this parameter. The file will contain the certificates of the trusted chain starting with the root cert plus any intermediate certificates.


  # Enable TLS (default: false)
  enabled: true
  # TLS for the server's listening port
    type: noclientcert

Configure this section to enable TLS communications for the CA. After TLS is enabled, all nodes that transact with the CA will also need to enable TLS.

  • tls.enabled: For a secure production environment, TLS should be enabled for secure communications between nodes by setting enabled: true in the tls section of the config file. (Note that it is disabled by default which may be acceptable for a test network but for production it needs to be enabled.) This setting will configure server-side TLS, meaning that TLS will guarantee the identity of the server to the client and provides a two-way encrypted channel between them.

  • tls.certfile: Every CA needs to register and enroll with its TLS CA before it can transact securely with other nodes in the organization. Therefore, before you can deploy an organization CA or an intermediate CA, you must first deploy the TLS CA and then register and enroll the organization CA bootstrap identity with the TLS CA to generate the organziation CA’s TLS signed certificate. When you use the Fabric CA client to generate the certificates, the TLS signed cert is generated in the signedcerts folder of the specified msp directory of the FABRIC_CA_CLIENT_HOME folder. For example: /msp/signcerts/cert.pem. Then, in this tls.certfile field, provide the name and location of the generated TLS signed certificate. If this is the root TLS CA, this field can be blank.

  • tls.keyfile: Similar to the tls.certfile, provide the name and location of the generated TLS private key for this CA. For example: /msp/keystore/87bf5eff47d33b13d7aee81032b0e8e1e0ffc7a6571400493a7c_sk. If you are using an HSM or if this is a root TLS CA, this field will be blank.

Note: Minimally in a production network, server-side TLS should be enabled.

If server-side TLS is sufficient for your needs, you are done with this section. If you need to use mutual TLS in your network then you need to configure the following two additional fields. (Mutual TLS is disabled by default.)

  • tls.clientauth.type: If the server additionally needs to authenticate the identity of the client, then mutual TLS (mTLS) is required. When mTLS is configured, the client is required to send its certificate during a TLS handshake. To configure your CA for mTLS, set the clientauth.type to RequireAndVerifyClientCert.

  • tls.clientauth.certfiles: For mTLS only, provide the PEM-encoded list of root certificate authorities that the server uses when verifying client certificates. Specify the certificates in a dashed yaml list.



As mentioned in the topic on Planning for a CA, the cafiles parameter can be used to configure a dual-headed CA – a single CA that under the covers includes both an organization CA and a TLS CA. This usage pattern can be for convenience, allowing each CA to maintain its own configuration but still share the same back-end user database. In the cafiles parameter, enter the path to the fabric-ca-server-config.yaml of the second CA server, for example the TLS CA. The configuration of the secondary CA can contain all of the same elements as are found in the primary CA server config file except port and tls sections.

If this is not a desired configuration for your CA, you can leave the value of this parameter blank.

intermediate CA




Intermediate CAs are not required, but to reduce the risk of your organization (root) CA becoming compromised, you may want to include one or more intermediate CAs in your network.

Important: Before setting up an intermediate CA, you need to verify the value of the parameter in the parent CA. When set to 0, the organization CA can issue intermediate CA certificates, but these intermediate CAs may not in turn enroll other intermediate CAs. If you want your intermediate CA to be able to enroll other intermediate CAs, the root ca needs to be set to 1. And if you want those intermediate CAs to enroll other intermediate CAs, the root ca would need to be set to 2.

  • parentserver.url: Specify the parent server url in the format https://<PARENT-CA-ENROLL-ID>:<PARENT-CA-SECRET>@<PARENT-CA-URL>:<PARENT-CA-PORT>.

  • parentserver.caname: Enter of the parent CA server.

  • enrollment.profile:: Enter the value of the signing.profile for the parent CA. Normally this would be ca.

  • tls.certfiles: Enter the location and name of the TLS CA signing cert, ca-cert.pem file. For example, tls/ca-cert.pem. This location is relative to where the server configuration .yaml file exists.

In addition to editing this intermediate section, you also need to edit the following sections of the configuration .yaml file for this intermediate CA:

  • csr - Ensure that the field is blank.

  • port - Be sure to set a unique port for the intermediate CA.

  • signing - Verify that isca set to true, and maxpathlen is set to greater than 0 in the root CA only if the intermediate CA will serve as a parent CA to other intermediate CAs, otherwise it should be set to 0. See the signing parameter.



Each CA must be running on its own unique port and obviously must not conflict with any other service running on that port. You need to decide what ports you want to use for your CAs ahead of time and configure that port in the .yaml file.

user registry

  # Maximum number of times a password/secret can be reused for enrollment
  # (default: -1, which means there is no limit)
  maxenrollments: -1

  # Contains identity information which is used when LDAP is disabled
     - name: <<<adminUserName>>>
       pass: <<<adminPassword>>>
       type: client
       affiliation: ""
          hf.Registrar.Roles: "*"
          hf.Registrar.DelegateRoles: "*"
          hf.Revoker: true
          hf.IntermediateCA: true
          hf.GenCRL: true
          hf.Registrar.Attributes: "*"
          hf.AffiliationMgr: true

If you are not using an LDAP user registry, then this section along with the associated registry database db: section are required. This section can be used to register a list of users with the CA when the server is started. Note that it simply registers the users and does not generate enrollment certificates for them. You use the Fabric CA client to generate the associated enrollment certificates.

  • maxenrollments: Used to restrict the number of times certificates can be generated for a user using the enroll ID and secret. The reenroll command can be used to get certificates without any limitation.

  • identities: This section defines the list of users and their associated attributes to be registered when the CA is started. After you run the fabric-ca-server init command, the <<<adminUserName>>> and <<<adminPassword>>> here are replaced with the CA server bootstrap identity user and password specified with the -b option on the command.

  • identities.type: For Fabric, the list of valid types is client, peer, admin, orderer, and member.

  • affiliation: Select the affiliation to be associated with the user specified by the associated name: parameter. The list of possible affiliations is defined in the affiliations: section.

  • attrs: The list of roles included above would be for “admin” users, meaning they can register and enroll other users. If you are registering a non-admin user, you would not give them these permissions. The hf attributes associated with an identity affect that identity’s ability to register other users. You should review the topic on Registering a new identity to understand the patterns that are required.

When the user is subsequently “enrolled”, the type, affiliation, and attrs are visible inside the user’s signing certificate and are used by policies to enforce authorization. Recall that enrollment is a process whereby the Fabric CA issues a certificate key-pair, comprised of a signed cert and a private key that forms the identity. The private and public keys are first generated locally by the Fabric CA client, and the public key is then sent to the CA which returns an encoded certificate, the signing certificate.

After a user has been registered, you can use the Identity command to modify the properties of the user.

registry database

  type: sqlite3
  datasource: fabric-ca-server.db
      enabled: false

The Fabric CA stores user identities, affiliations, credentials, and public certificates in a database. Use this section to specify the type of database to be used to store the CA data. Fabric supports three database types:

  • sqlite (SQLite Version 3)

  • postgres (PostgresSQL)

  • mysql (MySQL)

If you are running the database in a cluster, you must choose postgres or mysql as the database type.

If LDAP is being used as the user registry (designated by ldap.enabled:true), then this section is ignored.


   # Enables or disables the LDAP client (default: false)
   # If this is set to true, the "registry" section is ignored.
   enabled: false
   # The URL of the LDAP server
   url: ldap://<adminDN>:<adminPassword>@<host>:<port>/<base>
   # TLS configuration for the client connection to the LDAP server
   # Attribute related configuration for mapping from LDAP entries to Fabric CA attributes
      # 'names' is an array of strings containing the LDAP attribute names which are
      # requested from the LDAP server for an LDAP identity's entry
      names: ['uid','member']
      # The 'converters' section is used to convert an LDAP entry to the value of
      # a fabric CA attribute.
      # For example, the following converts an LDAP 'uid' attribute
      # whose value begins with 'revoker' to a fabric CA attribute
      # named "hf.Revoker" with a value of "true" (because the boolean expression
      # evaluates to true).
      #    converters:
      #       - name: hf.Revoker
      #         value: attr("uid") =~ "revoker*"
         - name:
      # The 'maps' section contains named maps which may be referenced by the 'map'
      # function in the 'converters' section to map LDAP responses to arbitrary values.
      # For example, assume a user has an LDAP attribute named 'member' which has multiple
      # values which are each a distinguished name (i.e. a DN). For simplicity, assume the
      # values of the 'member' attribute are 'dn1', 'dn2', and 'dn3'.
      # Further assume the following configuration.
      #    converters:
      #       - name: hf.Registrar.Roles
      #         value: map(attr("member"),"groups")
      #    maps:
      #       groups:
      #          - name: dn1
      #            value: peer
      #          - name: dn2
      #            value: client
      # The value of the user's 'hf.Registrar.Roles' attribute is then computed to be
      # "peer,client,dn3".  This is because the value of 'attr("member")' is
      # "dn1,dn2,dn3", and the call to 'map' with a 2nd argument of
      # "group" replaces "dn1" with "peer" and "dn2" with "client".
            - name:

If an LDAP registry is configured, all settings in the registry section are ignored.


      - department1
      - department2
      - department1

Affiliations are useful to designate sub-departments for organizations. They can then be referenced from a policy definition, for example when you might want to have transactions endorsed by a peer who is not simply a member of ORG1, but is a member of ORG1.MANUFACTURING. Note that the affiliation of the registrar must be equal to or a prefix of the affiliation of the identity being registered. If you are considering using affiliations you should review the topic on Registering a new identity for requirements. To learn more about how affiliations are used in an MSP, see the MSP Key concept topic on Organizational Units (OUs) and MSPs.

The default affiliations listed above are added to the Fabric CA database the first time the server is started. If you prefer not to have these affiliations on your server, you need to edit this config file and remove or replace them before you start the server for the first time. Otherwise, you must use the Fabric CA client Affiliation command to modify the list of affiliations. By default, affiliations cannot be removed from the configuration, rather that feature has to be explicitly enabled. See the cfg section for instructions on configuring the ability to allow removal of affiliations.

csr (certificate signing request)

   cn: <<<COMMONNAME>>>
     algo: ecdsa
     size: 256
      - C: US
        ST: "North Carolina"
        O: Hyperledger
        OU: Fabric
     - <<<MYHOST>>>
     - localhost
      expiry: 131400h
      pathlength: <<<PATHLENGTH>>>

The CSR section controls the creation of the root CA certificate. Therefore, if you want to customize any values, it is recommended to configure this section before you start your server for the first time. The values you specify here will be included in the signing certificates that are generated. If you customize values for the CSR after you start the server, you need to delete the ca.cert file and ca.key files and then run the fabric-ca-server start command again.

  • This field must be set to the ID of the CA bootstrap identity and can be left blank. It defaults to the CA server bootstrap identity.

  • csr.keyrequest: Use these values ff you want to customize the crypto algorithm and key sizes.

  • csr.names: Specify the values you want to use for the certificate Issuer, visible in the signing certificate.

  • csr.hosts: Provide the host names that the server will be running on.

  • csr.expiry: Specify when this CA’s root certificate expires. The default value 131400h is 15 years.

  • csr.pathlength: If you will have an intermediate CA, set this value to 1 in the root CA. If this is an intermediate CA the value would be 0 unless it will serve as a parent CA for another intermediate CA.


        - digital signature
      expiry: 8760h
           - cert sign
           - crl sign
         expiry: 43800h
           isca: true
           maxpathlen: 0
           maxpathlenzero: true
            - signing
            - key encipherment
            - server auth
            - client auth
            - key agreement
         expiry: 8760h

The defaults in this section are normally sufficient for a production server. However, you might want to modify the default expiration of the generated organization CA and TLS certificates. Note that this is different than the expiry specified in the csr section for the CA root certificate.

If this is a TLS CA, it is recommended that you remove the ca section from profiles: since a TLS CA should only be issuing TLS certificates.

If you plan to have more than one level of intermediate CAs, then you must set maxpathlen to greater than 0 in the configuration .yaml file for the root CA. This field represents the maximum number of non-self-issued intermediate certificates that can follow this certificate in a certificate chain. For example, if you plan to have intermediate CAs under this root CA, the maxpathlen can be set to 0. But if you want your intermediate CA to serve as a parent CA to another intermediate CA, then maxpathlen should be set to 1.

To enforce a maxpathlen of 0, you need to also set maxpathlenzero to true. If maxpathlen is greater than 0, maxpathlenzero should be set to false.


    default: SW
        hash: SHA2
        security: 256
            # The directory used for the software file-based keystore
            keystore: msp/keystore

The information in this section controls where the private key for the CA is stored. The configuration above causes the private key to be stored on the file system of the CA server in the msp/keystore folder. If you plan to use a Hardware Security Module (HSM) the configuration is different. When you configure HSM for a CA, the CA private key is generated by and stored in the HSM instead of the msp/keystore folder. An example of the HSM configuration for softHSM would be similar to:

  default: PKCS11
    Library: /etc/hyperledger/fabric/
    Pin: 71811222
    Label: fabric
    hash: SHA2
    security: 256
    Immutable: false


    enabled: false
      - "*"

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) can be configured to use additional HTTP headers to tell browsers to give a web application running at one origin access to selected resources from a different origin. The origins parameter contains a list of domains that are allowed to access the resources.


    allowremove: false
    allowremove: false  

These two parameters are not listed in the sample configuration file, but are important to understand. With the default configuration set to false, you will be unable to remove affiliations or identities without a server restart. If you anticipate the need to remove affiliations or identities from your production environment without a server restart, both of these fields should be set to true before starting your server. Note that after the server is started, affiliations and identities can only be modified by using the Fabric CA client CLI commands.


    # host and port for the operations server

    # TLS configuration for the operations endpoint
        # TLS enabled
        enabled: false

        # path to PEM encoded server certificate for the operations server

        # path to PEM encoded server key for the operations server

        # require client certificate authentication to access all resources
        clientAuthRequired: false

        # paths to PEM encoded ca certificates to trust for client authentication
            files: []

The operations service can be used for health monitoring of the CA and relies on mutual TLS for communication with the node. Therefore, you need to set operations.tls.clientAuthRequired to true. When this is set to true, clients attempting to ascertain the health of the node are required to provide a valid certificate for authentication. If the client does not provide a certificate or the service cannot verify the client’s certificate, the request is rejected. This means that the clients will need to register with the TLS CA and provide their TLS signing certificate on the requests.

In the case where two CAs are running on the same machine, you need to modify the listenAddress: for the second CA to use a different port. Otherwise, when you start the second CA, it will fail to start, reporting that the bind address is already in use.


    # statsd, prometheus, or disabled
    provider: disabled

    # statsd configuration
        # network type: tcp or udp
        network: udp

        # statsd server address

        # the interval at which locally cached counters and gauges are pushed
        # to statsd; timings are pushed immediately
        writeInterval: 10s

        # prefix is prepended to all emitted statsd metrics
        prefix: server

If you want to monitor the metrics for the CA, choose your metrics provider:

  • provider: Statsd is a push model, Prometheus is a pull model. Because Prometheus is a pull model there is not any configuration required from the Fabric CA server side. Rather, Prometheus sends requests to the operations URL to poll for metrics. Available metrics.

Next steps

After deciding on your CA configuration, you are ready to deploy your CAs. Follow instructions in the next CA Deployment steps topic to start your CA.