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TLS certificates handling in Citrix ingress controller

Citrix ingress controller provides option to configure TLS certificates for Citrix ADC SSL-based virtual servers. The SSL virtual server intercepts SSL traffic, decrypts it and processes it before sending it to services that are bound to the virtual server.

By default, SSL virtual server can bind to one default certificate and the application receives the traffic based on the policy bound to the certificate. However, you have the Server Name Indication (SNI) option to bind multiple certificates to a single virtual server. Citrix ADC determines which certificate to present to the client based on the domain name in the TLS handshake.

Citrix ingress controller handles the certificates in the following three ways:


For handling TLS certificates using Citrix ingress controller, you need to enable TLS support in Citrix ADC for the application and also if you are using certificates in your Kubernetes deployment then you need to generate Kubernetes secret using the certificate.

Enable TLS support in Citrix ADC for the application

Citrix Ingress Controller uses the TLS section in the ingress definition as an enabler for TLS support with Citrix ADC.

!!! "Note" In case of Default certificate or Preconfigured certificates, you need to add an empty secret in the spec.tls.secretname field in your ingress definition to enable TLS.

The following sample snippet of the ingress definition:

  - secretName:

Generate Kubernetes secret

To generate Kubernetes secret for an existing certificate, use the following kubectl command:

    $ kubectl create secret tls k8s-secret --cert=path/to/tls.cert --key=path/to/tls.key  --namespace=default

    secret k8s-secret created

The command creates a Kubernetes secret with a PEM formatted certificate under tls.crt key and a PEM formatted private key under tls.key key.

Alternatively, you can also generate the Kubernetes secret using the following YAML definition:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: k8s-secret
  tls.crt: base64 encoded cert
  tls.key: base64 encoded key

Deploy the YAML using the kubectl -create <file-name> command. It creates a Kubernetes secret with a PEM formatted certificate under tls.crt key and a PEM formatted private key under tls.key key.

Citrix ingress controller default certificate

The Citrix ingress controller default certificate is used to provide a secret on Kubernetes that needs to be used as a non-SNI certificate. You must provide the secret name to be used and namespace from which it should be taken as arguments in the .yaml file of the Citrix ingress controller:

    --default-ssl-certificate <NAMESPACE>/<SECRET_NAME>

The following is a sample Citrix ingress controller YAML definition file that contains a TLS secret (hotdrink.secret) picked from the ssl namespace and provided as the Citrix ingress controller default certificate.


NAMESPACE is mandatory along with a valid SECRET_NAME.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: cic
    app: cic
      serviceAccountName: cpx
      - name: cic
        image: "xxxx"
        imagePullPolicy: Always
        - --default-ssl-certificate
        # Set Citrix ADM Management IP
        - name: "NS_IP"
          value: "xx.xx.xx.xx"
        # Set port for Nitro
        - name: "NS_PORT"
          value: "xx"
        # Set Protocol for Nitro
        - name: "NS_PROTOCOL"
          value: "HTTP"
        # Set username for Nitro
        - name: "NS_USER"
          value: "nsroot"
        # Set user password for Nitro
        - name: "NS_PASSWORD"
          value: "nsroot"

Preconfigured certificates

Citrix ingress controller allows you to use the certkeys that are already configured on the Citrix ADC. You must provide the details about the certificate using the following annotation in your ingress definition: : '{"certs": [ {"name": "<name>", "type": "default|sni|ca"} ] }'

You can provide details about multiple certificates as a list within the annotation. Also, you can define the way the certificate is treated. In the following sample annotation, certkey1 is used as a non-SNI certificate and certkey2 is used as an SNI certificate: : '{"certs": [ {"name": "certkey1", "type": "default"}, {"name": "certkey2", "type": "sni"} ] }’

If the type parameter is not provided with the name of a certificate, then it is considered as the default (non-SNI) type.


  1. Ensure that you use this feature in cases where you want to reuse the certificates that are present on the Citrix ADC and bind them to the applications that are managed by Citrix ingress controller.
  2. Citrix ingress controller does not manage the life cycle of the certificates. That is, it does not create or delete the certificates, but only binds them to the necessary applications.

TLS Section in the Ingress YAML

Kubernetes allows you to provide the TLS secrets in the spec: section of an ingress definition. This section describes how the Citrix ingress controller uses these secrets.

With the host section

If the secret name is provided with the host section, Citrix ingress controller binds the secret as an SNI certificate.

  - secretName: fruitjuice.secret
    hosts: items.fruit.juice

Without the host section

If the secret name is provided without the host section, Citrix ingress controller binds the secret as a default certificate.

  - secretName: colddrink.secret


If there are more than one secret given then Citrix ingress controller binds all the certificates as SNI enabled certificates.

Points to note

  1. In cases wherein if multiple secrets are provided to the Citrix ingress controller the following precedence is followed:

    1. preconfigured-default-certkey or non-host tls secret
    2. default-ssl-certificate
  2. If there is a conflict in precedence among the same grade certificates (for example, two ingress files configure a non-host TLS secret each, as default/non-SNI type), then the Citrix ingress controller binds the Citrix ingress controller default certificate as the non-SNI certificate and uses all other certificates with SNI.

  3. Certificate used for secret given under TLS section must have CN name otherwise it does not bind to Citrix ADC.

  4. If SNI enabled for SSL virtual server then:

    • Non-SNI (Default) certificate is used for the following HTTPs requests:

      curl -1 -v -k
      curl -1 -v -k -H 'HOST:*.colddrink.beverages'
    • SNI enabled certificate is used for request with full domain name

      curl -1 -v -k https://items.colddrink.beverages/

    If any request received that does not match with certificates CN name fails.