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How to enable https in ReactJS

Understanding HTTPS and Its Importance

Before we dive into the practical aspects of enabling HTTPS in a ReactJS application, let's understand what HTTPS is and why it's crucial. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user's computer and the site.

Think of it like sending a sealed letter through the mail. Without HTTPS (the envelope), anyone can open and read your letter. But with HTTPS, your letter is sealed and can only be opened by the intended recipient. This ensures that the information you send over the internet, like passwords or credit card numbers, is kept safe from prying eyes.

Setting up a Local HTTPS Development Server

To set up HTTPS on your local development server, you will first need to generate a self-signed SSL certificate.

Before you get nervous at the sound of 'SSL certificate,' don't worry. An SSL certificate is like an ID card for your website. It tells your users that your site is genuine and not an imposter.

To generate this certificate, you can use a tool like OpenSSL. Here's how you can do it:

openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout keytmp.pem -out cert.pem -days 365
openssl rsa -in keytmp.pem -out key.pem

These commands will create two files: cert.pem (your public certificate) and key.pem (your private key). Keep these files safe, as they are your website's ID card.

Implementing HTTPS in ReactJS

Now that we have our SSL certificate, let's see how we can use it in our ReactJS application.

ReactJS uses Webpack dev server under the hood in development mode. By default, it uses HTTP, but we can tell it to use HTTPS by tweaking the npm start script.

In your package.json file, find the start script and change it to this:

"start": "HTTPS=true SSL_CRT_FILE=cert.pem SSL_KEY_FILE=key.pem react-scripts start"

Here, HTTPS=true tells the server to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. SSL_CRT_FILE and SSL_KEY_FILE point to the SSL certificate and key files we generated earlier.

After this change, when you run npm start, your ReactJS application will be served over HTTPS on your local development server.

Dealing with Browser Warnings

When you first navigate to your application, your browser might display a warning because it doesn't trust your self-signed SSL certificate. This is because browsers trust SSL certificates issued by known Certificate Authorities (like Verisign or Comodo), not self-signed ones.

It's like someone you don't know showing you an ID card. You wouldn't trust it right away, would you? But there's a way to tell your browser to trust this certificate, at least for development purposes.

In Chrome, you can do this by clicking on 'Advanced' and then on 'Proceed to localhost (unsafe)'. Other browsers have similar options.

Enabling HTTPS in Production

For your production website, you can't use a self-signed SSL certificate. You need a certificate issued by a trusted Certificate Authority.

Most hosting providers offer SSL certificates as part of their service. If yours doesn't, or if you want to get one yourself, you can use a service like Let's Encrypt, which provides free SSL certificates.

Once you have your production SSL certificate, you can configure your web server (like Nginx or Apache) to use it. The process varies depending on the server and the hosting provider, but it usually involves copying the certificate and key files to the server and adding a few lines to the server configuration file.


Securing your website with HTTPS is like putting a lock on your door. It might seem like a hassle at first, but it's a necessary step to protect your users' information and gain their trust.

Just as you wouldn't send a postcard with sensitive information, you shouldn't send data over the internet without HTTPS. And with tools like OpenSSL and services like Let's Encrypt, enabling HTTPS, even in a ReactJS application, is easier than ever.

So go ahead, secure your ReactJS application with HTTPS, and give your users the peace of mind they deserve.