Using stunnel with Fossil on Windows

Using stunnel with Fossil on Windows

While there are many ways to configure Fossil as a server using various web servers (Apache, IIS, nginx, etc.), this document will focus on setting up a minimal Fossil server using only Fossil's native server capabilities and stunnel to provide a TLS proxy. It is recommended for public repositories to go to the extra step of configuring stunnel to provide a proper HTTPS setup.


  1. You have Administrative access to a Windows 2012r2 or above server.
  2. You have PowerShell 5.1 or above installed.
  3. You have acquired a certificate either from a Public CA or an Internal CA.

Configure Fossil Service for https

Due to the need for the --https option for successfully using Fossil with stunnel, we will use Advanced service installation using PowerShell. We will need to change the command to install the Fossil Service to configure it properly for use with stunnel as an https proxy. Run the following:

New-Service -Name fossil-secure -DisplayName fossil-secure -BinaryPathName '"C:\Program Files\FossilSCM\fossil.exe" server --localhost --port 9000 --https --repolist "D:/Path/to/Repos"' -StartupType Automatic

The use of --localhost means Fossil will only listen for traffic on the local host on the designated port - 9000 in this case - and will not respond to network traffic. Using --https will tell Fossil to generate HTTPS URLs rather than HTTP ones.

New-Service does not automatically start a service on install, so you will need to enter the following to avoid rebooting the server:

Start-Service -Name fossil-secure

To remove the service, run the following in a Powershell or cmd console:

sc.exe delete fossil

or (in a Powershell console)

Remove-Service -Name fossil

if your version of Powershell is 6.0 or above.

Install stunnel 5.55

Download stunnel from the downloads page. Select the latest stunnel windows package (at the time of writing this is stunnel-5.55-win64-installer.exe). Execute the installer and make sure you install openSSL tools when you install stunnel. You will need this to convert your certificate from PFX to PEM format.

Even though the installer says it is for win64, it installs stunnel by default to \Program Files (x86)\stunnel.

Get your certificate ready for Stunnel

Whether you use a Public Certificate Authority or Internal Certificate Authority, the next step is exporting the certificate from Windows into a format useable by Stunnel.

Export Certificate from Windows

If your certificate is installed via Windows Certificate Management, you will need to export the certificate into a usable format. You can do this either using the Windows Certificate Management Console, or PowerShell.

Certificate Management Console

Start mmc.exe as an Administrator. Select 'File>Add/Remove Snapin', select 'Certificates' from the list, and click 'Add'. Select 'Computer Account', 'Next', 'Local Computer', and then 'Finish'. In the Console Root, expand 'Certificates', then 'Personal', and select 'Certificates'. In the middle pane find and select your certificate. Right click the certificate and select 'All Tasks>Export'. You want to export as PFX the Private Key, include all certificates in the certification path, and use a password only to secure the file. Enter a path and file name to a working directory and complete the export.

Continue with Convert Certificate from PFX to PEM.


If you know the Friendly Name of the Certificate this is relatively easy. Since you need to export the private key as well, you must run the following from an Administrative PowerShell console.

$passwd = ConvertTo-SecureString -string "yourpassword" -Force -AsPlainText

Get-ChildItem Cert:\LocalMachine\My | Where{$_.FriendlyName -eq "FriendlyName"} |
Export-PfxCertificate -FilePath fossil-scm.pfx -Password $passwd

You will now have your certificate stored as a PFX file.

Convert Certificate from PFX to PEM

For this step you will need the openssl tools that were installed with stunnel.

# Add stunnel\bin directory to path for this session.
$env:PATH += ";${env:ProgramFiles(x86)}\stunnel\bin"
# Export Private Key
openssl.exe pkcs12 -in fossil-scm.pfx -out fossil-scm.key -nocerts -nodes
# Export the Certificate
openssl.exe pkcs12 -in fossil-scm.pfx -out fossil-scm.pem -nokeys

Now move fossil-scm.key and fossil-scm.pem to your stunnel config directory (by default this should be located at \Program Files (x86)\stunne\config).

stunnel Configuration

Use the reverse proxy configuration given in the generic Serving via stunnel document. On Windows, the stunnel.conf file is located at \Program Files (x86)\stunnel\config.

You will need to modify it to point at the PEM and key files generated above.

After completing the above configuration restart the stunnel service in Windows with the following:

Restart-Service -Name stunnel

Open up port 443 in the Windows Firewall

The following instructions are for the Windows Advanced Firewall. If you are using a different Firewall, please consult your Firewall documentation for how to open port 443 for inbound traffic.

The following command should be entered all on one line.

New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "Allow Fossil Inbound" -Description "Allow Fossil inbound on port 443 using Stunnel as TLS Proxy."
  -Direction Inbound -Protocol TCP -LocalPort 443 -Action Allow -Program "C:\Program Files (x86)\Stunnel\bin\stunnel.exe"

You should now be able to access your new Fossil Server via HTTPS.

Return to the top-level Fossil server article.