Automated TLS and DNS

This section will describe how to enable automated TLS and DNS for your Jenkins X installation.

To achieve this we will use a couple of open source projects to help enable automated DNS for your applications.

For this guide we are going to assume you own a domain called which is managed by Google Cloud DNS, if it is not see configure cloud dns to manage a domain.

A common requirement for domains is to have production services accessed using a parent / apex domain for example:

Many organisations have extra requirements for development and test multi cluster environments to access services at and

These use subdomains.

In this guide below there is a prerequisite that you must already have a domain which is managed by GCP, this is so that you can choose whichever of the scenarios above you need. It also means the dns management of the apex domain happens outside of a single cluster installation and can be shared by multiple installations using a subdomain.

Jenkins X services will have URLs like The jx-requirements.yml namespaceSubDomain: of -jx which is in the cluster git repository refers to the Kubernetes namespace the service is running in, this avoids clashes of the same application running in different namespaces in the same cluster.

To start with we are focussed on GCP but will expand to other cloud providers.

Google Cloud Platform


Cloud Infrastructure

First we will configure the cloud infrastructure requirements:

  • a GCP Service Account with the dns.admin role, see here for more information
  • a managed cloud dns zone, see here for more information

To satisfy these requirements go to your infrastructure repository (contains Terraform and add to your the following:

parent_domain = ""

Most people prefer to use a subdomain for a specific installation rather than purchasing one domain per cluster. For example in a multi cluster setup you will probably want all using the same parent domain but two clusters using a different subdomain like, leaving production using just the parent domain

To use a subdomain for this cluster add the following configuration:

subdomain     = "dev"

Now apply these changes:

git add
git commit -m 'feat: enable DNS cloud resources'
git push

You may want to set two environment variables here so that Terraform does not prompt for values

export TF_VAR_jx_bot_username=
export TF_VAR_jx_bot_token=

now run

terraform plan
terraform apply

If using a subdomain you will now see your managed zone in GCP here


Next we will configure the cluster requirements:

  • Install external-dns - Kubernetes controller which watches for new Kubernetes Ingress resources and creates A records in Google Cloud DNS which will propagate globally across the internet
  • Install cert-manager - Kubernetes controller which watches for requests to ask Let’s Encrypt to issue a new wildcard TLS certificate for your domain and will manage this including renewals

To satisfy these requirements go to your cluster repository (contains helmfile.yaml)

Add external-dns to your clusters helmfile.yaml releases section:

- chart: bitnami/external-dns

Add cert-manager to your clusters helmfile.yaml releases section:

- chart: jetstack/cert-manager

Next we install

  • a cluster wide Issuer which tells cert-manager how to validate you own your domain
  • a namespaced Certificate to request a TLS certificate for applications running in your cluster
- chart: jx3/acme
  name: acme-jx

Cert-manager will use the cluster issuer to request a TLS certificate. A Kubernetes secret will be automatically created and contain the TLS cert. The nginx controllers in the nginx namespace will use this secret in the jx namespace for the default SSL certificate which will automatically enable TLS for all applications in your cluster.

The domain from setting up your infrastructure in step one should appear in the jx-requirements.yml of you cluster git repo. Next configure your TLS options, update your jx-requirements.yml with below.

NOTE this is the top level ingress: section and NOT in the environments: section:

  externalDNS: false # this is unused and will be deprecated
  namespaceSubDomain: -jx.
    email: ""
    enabled: true
    production: false

When first installing set tls.production=false so you use the Lets Encrypt staging service which allows for more API calls before rate limiting requests. They will issue a self-signed certificate so once happy everything is working change this to tls.production=true.

NOTE Helmfile is not able to skip insecure TLS when adding helm repositories, therefore staging certificates will not work with chartmuseum that is running in the cluster. Therefore once you have verified cert-manager can issue certificates from staging, switch to the production service.

Jenkins X uses a version stream to rollout tested versions of images, charts and default configuration. The jx-boot job will apply these versions to your helmfile but you can also run the step yourself to see the defaults.

jx gitops helmfile resolve
git add helmfile.yaml
git commit -m 'feat: enable DNS and TLS'
git push

Now tail the admin logs and wait for the job to complete

jx admin logs

It can take a short while for DNS to propagate so you may need to wait for 5 - 10 minutes. is a useful way to check the status of DNS propagating.

You should be able to verify the TLS certificate from Lets Encrypt in your browser (beware of browser caching if you don’t see any changes)

Working TLS

What if I have a chartmuseum with charts running using

It is best to comment out your Jenkins X chartmuseum repository and charts from your helmfile until your new domain and ingress is working. Then uncomment and make sure you update the chartmuseum URL to your new one.

What if I use a subdomain with an apex domain in a different GCP project?

When using a subdomain Terraform will create a managed zone in GCP, add the recordsets to your parent / apex domain.

If the GCP managed zone for your apex domain is in a different GCP project than the project that your current installation the you will need to set in your infrastructure repository the terraform variable:

parent_domain_gcp_project: [your GCP project that is managing your apex domain]

If you do not have permission to update the recordset of the apex domain then you will need to manually update it after getting the nameservers created for your subdomain managed zone and disable the automatic way using:

apex_domain_integration_enabled: false

How can I remove the namespace subdomain (e.g. -jx.) from my URLs?

In your cluster git repository find the namespaceSubdomain property in your jx-requirements.yml file and change its value to namespaceSubdomain: "."

Be aware that the same application deployed in multiple namespaces will end up with the same URL if you change namespaceSubdomain to be the same for all environments.

How can I check if cert-manager has issued a certificate?

You can check the status of the certificate by running

kubectl get cert -n jx
kubectl describe cert -n jx

if Ready continues to be false after 10-15 mins you can check on the request using

kubectl get certificaterequest -n jx
kubectl describe certificaterequest -n jx