Secure your nodes

Upon installation, the Netdata Agent serves the local dashboard at port 19999. If the node is accessible to the internet at large, anyone can access the dashboard and your node's metrics at http://NODE:19999. We made this decision so that the local dashboard was immediately accessible to users, and so that we don't dictate how professionals set up and secure their infrastructures.

Despite this design decision, your data and your systems are safe with Netdata. Netdata is read-only, cannot do anything other than present metrics, and runs without special/sudo privileges. Also, the local dashboard only exposes chart metadata and metric values, not raw data.

While Netdata is secure by design, we believe you should protect your nodes. If left accessible to the internet at large, the local dashboard could reveal sensitive information about your infrastructure. For example, an attacker can view which applications you run (databases, webservers, and so on), or see every user account on a node.

Instead of dictating how to secure your infrastructure, we give you many options to establish security best practices that align with your goals and your organization's standards.

  • Disable the local dashboard: Simplest and recommended method for those who have added nodes to Netdata Cloud and view dashboards and metrics there.
  • Restrict access to the local dashboard: Allow local dashboard access from only certain IP addresses, such as a trusted static IP or connections from behind a management LAN. Full support for Netdata Cloud.
  • Use a reverse proxy: Password-protect a local dashboard and enable TLS to secure it. Full support for Netdata Cloud.

Disable the local dashboard

This is the recommended method for those who have claimed their nodes to Netdata Cloud and prefer viewing real-time metrics using the War Room Overview, Nodes view, and Cloud dashboards.

You can disable the local dashboard (and API) but retain the encrypted Agent-Cloud link (ACLK) that allows you to stream metrics on demand from your nodes via the Netdata Cloud interface. This change mitigates all concerns about revealing metrics and system design to the internet at large, while keeping all the functionality you need to view metrics and troubleshoot issues with Netdata Cloud.

Open netdata.conf with ./edit-config netdata.conf. Scroll down to the [web] section, and find the mode = static-threaded setting, and change it to none.

[web]
mode = none

Save and close the editor, then restart your Agent using service netdata restart. If you try to visit the local dashboard to http://NODE:19999 again, the connection will fail because that node no longer serves its local dashboard.

See the configuration basics doc for details on how to find netdata.conf and use edit-config.

Restrict access to the local dashboard

If you want to keep using the local dashboard, but don't want it exposed to the internet, you can restrict access with access lists. This method also fully retains the ability to stream metrics on-demand through Netdata Cloud.

The allow connections from setting helps you allow only certain IP addresses or FQDN/hostnames, such as a trusted static IP, only localhost, or connections from behind a management LAN.

By default, this setting is localhost *. This setting allows connections from localhost in addition to all connections, using the * wildcard. You can change this setting using Netdata's simple patterns.

[web]
# Allow only localhost connections
allow connections from = localhost
# Allow only from management LAN running on `10.X.X.X`
allow connections from = 10.*
# Allow connections only from a specific FQDN/hostname
allow connections from = example*

The allow connections from setting is global and restricts access to the dashboard, badges, streaming, API, and netdata.conf, but you can also set each of those access lists more granularly if you choose:

[web]
allow connections from = localhost *
allow dashboard from = localhost *
allow badges from = *
allow streaming from = *
allow netdata.conf from = localhost fd* 10.* 192.168.* 172.16.* 172.17.* 172.18.* 172.19.* 172.20.* 172.21.* 172.22.* 172.23.* 172.24.* 172.25.* 172.26.* 172.27.* 172.28.* 172.29.* 172.30.* 172.31.*
allow management from = localhost

See the web server docs for additional details about access lists. You can take access lists one step further by enabling SSL to encrypt data from local dashboard in transit. The connection to Netdata Cloud is always secured with TLS.

Use a reverse proxy

You can also put Netdata behind a reverse proxy for additional security while retaining the functionality of both the local dashboard and Netdata Cloud dashboards. You can use a reverse proxy to password-protect the local dashboard and enable HTTPS to encrypt metadata and metric values in transit.

We recommend Nginx, as it's what we use for our demo server, and we have a guide dedicated to running Netdata behind Nginx.

We also have guides for Apache, Lighttpd, HAProxy, and Caddy.

What's next?

If you haven't already, be sure to read about Netdata's security design.

Next up, learn about collectors to ensure you're gathering every essential metric about your node, its applications, and your infrastructure at large.

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