Accessing OGC services over HTTPS


Normand Savard


Jeff McKenna


jmckenna at

Last updated



The following documentation explains how to set up MapServer as a client to access a WMS/WFS server through a secure SSL connection using the HTTPS protocol. It describes the common problems a user could encounter and how to solve them.


MapServer 5.4.1 or more recent, compiled with cURL. cURL must be built with SSL support. You should also follow the full steps for configuring your related OGC client support, through:

Verify Installation

cURL executable

First check that cURL is found locally, and was built with SSL support:

curl --version

On Linux systems the response should be similar to (notice the ssl protocol):

curl 7.68.0 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.68.0 OpenSSL/1.1.1g zlib/1.2.8
Release-Date: 2020-01-08
Protocols: dict file ftp ftps gopher http https imap imaps pop3 pop3s rtsp smb smbs smtp smtps telnet tftp
Features: AsynchDNS HTTPS-proxy Largefile libz NTLM NTLM_WB SSL TLS-SRP UnixSockets

On Windows the response should be similar to (notice the ssl protocol):

curl 7.68.0 (i386-pc-win32) libcurl/7.68.0 OpenSSL/1.1.1d zlib/1.2.7 WinIDN
Release-Date: 2020-01-08
Protocols: dict file ftp ftps gopher http https imap imaps ldap ldaps pop3 pop3s rtsp smb smbs smtp smtps telnet tftp
Features: AsynchDNS HTTPS-proxy IDN IPv6 Kerberos Largefile NTLM SPNEGO SSL SSPI UnixSockets libz


MS4W users can execute curl by first executing setenv.bat

Next, verify your connection with the cURL commandline, to a remote HTTPS service such as:


You should receive a result such as:

No query information to decode. QUERY_STRING is set, but empty.

If you receive an error message such as the following, you likely have not pointed to the local CA bundle properly:

curl: (60) SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate
More details here:

curl failed to verify the legitimacy of the server and therefore could not
establish a secure connection to it. To learn more about this situation and
how to fix it, please visit the web page mentioned above.

CA Bundle

The cURL CA (certificate authority) bundle file must be located on your local machine/server.

Download the CA bundle file “cacert.pem” found at or if you have the cURL source you could create the CA bundle by executing “make ca-bundle” or “make ca-firefox” (if you have Firefox and the certutil tool installed). If you used the second choice, the bundle file will be named ca-bundle.crt and will be found in the lib directory under the cURL root directory. See for more details. Store this file in the location pointed to by the CURL_CA_BUNDLE environment variable.

Set the CURL_CA_BUNDLE environment variable to point to the bundle file (e.g. export CURL_CA_BUNDLE=/path/to/my-ca-bundle.ext where my-ca-bundle.ext could be cacert.pem or ca-bundle.crt).


MS4W comes with HTTPS already configured for Windows users, and the configuration is explained at

Mapfile Setup

Edit your map file to add the WMS connection URL. For example:


Test with the shp2img utility, to verify that MapServer can connect through HTTPS and generate a valid map image, such as the command:

shp2img -m -o ttt.png -map_debug 3

If you receive an error from MapServer similar to the following, it means that you have not pointed to your local CA bundle properly:

msDrawMap(): WMS connection error. Failed to draw WMS layer named 'country_bounds'. This most likely happened because the remote WMS server returned an invalid image, and XML exception or another unexpected result in response to the GetMap request. Also check and make sure that the layer's connection URL is valid. <br>
msDrawWMSLayerLow(): WMS server error. WMS GetMap request failed for layer 'country_bounds' (Status -60: SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate). <br>
msHTTPExecuteRequests(): HTTP request error. HTTP: request failed with curl error code 60 (SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate) for,-135.338345864662,180.451127819549,135.338345864662&TRANSPARENT=TRUE <br>

Remote Server with a Self-Signed SSL Certificate

If you get the following error, it means that your remote server probably use a self-signed SSL certificate and the server certificate is not included in your CA bundle file.

curl: (60) SSL certificate problem, verify that the CA cert is OK. Details:
error:14090086:SSL routines:SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE:certificate verify failed
More details here:

curl performs SSL certificate verification by default, using a "bundle"
of Certificate Authority (CA) public keys (CA certs). If the default
bundle file isn't adequate, you can specify an alternate file
using the --cacert option.
If this HTTPS server uses a certificate signed by a CA represented in
the bundle, the certificate verification probably failed due to a
problem with the certificate (it might be expired, or the name might
not match the domain name in the URL).
If you'd like to turn off curl's verification of the certificate, use
the -k (or --insecure) option.

To get the remote server certificate you have to execute this command:

openssl s_client -connect domainname:port

Copy everything from the “—–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—–” tag to “—–END CERTIFICATE—–” tag. Paste it at the end of the my-ca-bundle.ext file.

Verify your connection with the cURL command line:



If you get the following error, it means that the domain name in the URL request is not corresponding to the one that was declared when creating the remote server certificate.

curl: (51) SSL: certificate subject name 'domainname' does not match target host name 'domainname'

You have to use the exact same domain name as the one appearing in the “Common Name” prompt used when generating the remote server certificate. You cannot use the remote server ip for instance. It means that the following URL is not acceptable.



It is strongly recommended to review the security steps for the MAP= call to the MapServer executable, by setting MS_MAP_PATTERN or MS_MAP_NO_PATH or hiding the MAP= parameter on public servers, as recommended in the document Limit Mapfile Access. All possible environment variables to secure your server are listed in Environment Variables.