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I need to install a piece of client software which connects to a custom server (not a http server) on a specific port. But my IT dept are implementing HTTPS and say I must connect via HTTPS.

How does this work? Do I have to ask my application provider to support HTTPS? Does the application need to support HTTPS or do I only need to give my workstation a valid certificate and then connection to the server port will work?

Any help will be much appreciated.

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Can you clarify what type of server this is? I'm assuming it's a web server? – Joe S Apr 9 '12 at 19:52

The client will need to support https. You haven't said what the client is or what it does or even what your OS is, but an example of a client that supports https is gftp on Linux.

You don't need to worry about certificates on your side.

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You'll need to read the configuration documentation for the server software and see what it supports and how to enable it. HTTPS requires per-application (client and server) support and is not a feature of any common operating systems.

If the server software does not support encryption of any type, or SSL-based encryption more specifically, then you will need to tunnel or proxy connections to that service over a secure transport. This can be accomplished with SSL tunnel software such as stunnel or VPNs, or even openssh (you will need something running on the server side to receive incoming tunnel/proxy connections) - but you have a wide variety of options depending on exactly what the traffic is.

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The developers of the server will provide https request. With https will the client use https to connect to the site https (ssl?) server to authenticate? Then once authenticated, will be able to connect directly on the usual port to the custom server? Note the custom server uses a custom protocol - not HTTP or anything standard? will that be a problem? Also will the custom server need to authenticate with the https server? – user619818 Apr 9 '12 at 21:36
You can't send a server HTTPS that isn't expecting it and expect it to do anything useful. I don't know why you think you could. If the server is expecting a custom protocol then the client must send it something in that same custom protocol. If that custom protocol doesn't provide for encryption/authentication then you can't send it HTTPS and magically expect it to work. Your developers need to modify their protocol and server to support SSL UNLESS you want to use SSL tunnel software on BOTH ends. – LawrenceC Apr 9 '12 at 21:45

You might be able to tunnel the protocol through https (and ssh) with something like proxytunnel, or proxifier. On the other hand, it seems somewhat bizzare that your're being forced to use ssl/https for a arbitrary protocol - ssh tunneling would be good enough to prevent someone from listening in if the protocol was unencrypted and is both trivial to do, and relatively simple.

I'd suggest going up, getting management support, and make them implement a workable solution if they are going to make your life difficult ;)

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