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Version: v1.8

Preparing for Production

This document summarizes things you will find useful when going to production.

ORY Hydra behind an API Gateway#

Although ORY Hydra implements all Go best practices around running public-facing production http servers, we discourage running ORY Hydra facing the public net directly. We strongly recommend running ORY Hydra behind an API gateway or a load balancer. It is common to terminate TLS on the edge (gateway / load balancer) and use certificates provided by your infrastructure provider (e.g. AWS CA) for last mile security.

TLS Termination#

You may also choose to set Hydra to HTTPS mode without actually accepting TLS connections. In that case, all Hydra URLs are prefixed with https://, but the server is actually accepting http. This makes sense if you don't want last mile security using TLS, and trust your network to properly handle internal traffic:

serve:  tls:    allow_termination_from:      -

With TLS termination enabled, ORY Hydra discards all requests unless:

  • The request is coming from a trusted IP address set by serve.tls.allow_termination_from and the header X-Forwarded-Proto is set to https.
  • The request goes to /health/alive, /health/ready which does not require TLS termination and that is used to check the health of an instance.

When TLS Termination is enabled, you do not need to provide a TLS Certificate and Private Key.

If you are unable to properly set up TLS Termination, you may want to set the --dangerous-force-http flag. But please be aware that we discourage you from doing so and that you should know what you're doing.


It is common to use a router, or API gateway, to route subdomains or paths to a specific service. For example, is routed to where is the host running ORY Hydra. To compute the values for the consent challenge, ORY Hydra uses the host and path headers from the HTTP request. Therefore, it is important to set up your API Gateway in such a way, that it passes the public host (in this case and the path without any prefix (in this case hydra/). If you use the Mashape Kong API gateway, you can achieve this by setting strip_request_path=true and preserve_host=true.

Exposing Administrative and Public API Endpoints#

ORY Hydra serves APIs via two ports:

  • Public port (default 4444)
  • Administrative port (default 4445)

The public port can and should be exposed to public internet traffic. That port handles requests to:

  • /.well-known/jwks.json
  • /.well-known/openid-configuration
  • /oauth2/auth
  • /oauth2/token
  • /oauth2/revoke
  • /oauth2/fallbacks/consent
  • /oauth2/fallbacks/error
  • /oauth2/sessions/logout
  • /userinfo

The administrative port should not be exposed to public internet traffic. If you want to expose certain endpoints, such as the /clients endpoint for OpenID Connect Dynamic Client Registry, you can do so but you need to properly secure these endpoints with an API Gateway or Authorization Proxy. Administrative endpoints include:

  • All /clients endpoints.
  • All /keys endpoints.
  • All /health, /metrics, /version endpoints.
  • All /oauth2/auth/requests endpoints.
  • Endpoint /oauth2/introspect.
  • Endpoint /oauth2/flush.

None of the administrative endpoints have any built-in access control. You can do simple curl or Postman requests to talk to them.

The Token Introspection endpoint requires authentication. But since there is no access control, any valid authentication enables the endpoint to be used. If you need to access this endpoint in production, you should configure your API Gateway or Application Proxy to restrict which clients have access to the endpoint.

We generally advise to run ORY Hydra with hydra serve all which listens on both ports in one process. Please be aware that the memory backend will not work in this mode.

Binding to different interfaces or UNIX sockets#

ORY Hydra will bind public and administrative APIs ports to all interfaces.

The interfaces or UNIX sockets used may be specified via environment variables PUBLIC_HOST and ADMIN_HOST. Interfaces may be specified as TCP address or as UNIX socket (giving the absolute path to the socket file prefixed by unix:) like:

  • ADMIN_HOST="unix:/var/run/hydra/admin_socket"

ORY Hydra will try to create the socket file during startup and the socket will be writeable by the user running ORY Hydra. The owner, group and mode of the socket can be modified:

serve:  admin:    host: unix:/var/run/hydra/admin_socket    socket:      owner: hydra      group: hydra-admin-api      mode: 770