I have a website hosted by Apache on a Linux server. I also have a Node.js back-end/API that is hosted on the same server, which serves all the front-end's requests. Today I set up SSL for the front-end and got an error that a request to the back end was not over SSL and thus blocked.

Now I'm in the process of setting up SSL for my back-end, but I'm wondering something: Do I need a separate certificate for my back-end or is it okay to share it between the two applications?

Thinking about this raised another question: An SSL certificate is issued for a domain name. My back-end is not hosted on any domain, just on my server. Do I need to register it to a sub domain to be able to implement SSL for it?

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    "Today I set up SSL for the front-end and got an error that a request to the back end was not over SSL and thus blocked." - I'm not sure but this sounds like a mixed content error from the browser. Do you include your "back-end" directly into the pages generated by your front-end? The usual way is to have the back-end server behind the front-end (i.e. reverse proxy) in which case the certificate visible by the client is the one from the front-end. Nov 22, 2017 at 14:34
  • It indeed was a mixed content warning. My back-end is a Node.js Express REST API which handles logins and all other data requests. My front-end is just a html/javascript (Vue.js) website hosted on Apache, on the same server. So apache serves the website to the client, who runs it and makes calls to the Node.js API.
    – NG.
    Nov 22, 2017 at 14:38
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    It might make more sense if you move your back-end behind the the same server which cares about the front-end, i.e. don't access it directly but access is done through a reverse proxy. This simplifies securing everything and this way you also only need a single certificate for both since there is only a single customer facing system. Nov 22, 2017 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


As for the question "Should one use separate SSL certificates for front-end and back-end?", the answer is NO

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, sometimes called digital certificates, are used to establish an encrypted connection between a browser or user's computer and a server or website. The SSL connection protects sensitive data, such as credit card information, exchanged during each visit, which is called a session, from being intercepted from non-authorized parties.

Why? Because as you said, both are running on the same server. Although You can use multiple SSL certs on different sub-domains but its usually the BEST to stick to one SSL Certificate per domain.

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