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This article provides troubleshooting information for various tools and features in Pomerium.

Pomerium Core

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

By default, Pomerium sends the Strict-Transport-Security response header to the browser, which pins the certificate to our browser for one year. This is common best practice to help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks but can create issues while a new Pomerium configuration is in development.

When you visit an endpoint while Pomerium is using an untrusted certificate (like the self-signed bootstrap certificate or a Let's Encrypt staging certificate), that certificate may be pinned in your browser. Once Pomerium is switched to a trusted production certificate, the untrusted cert must reset in the browser.

While developing your Pomerium environment, consider adjusting the SET_RESPONSE_HEADERS key to remove Strict-Transport-Security or reduce the max-age value until your production certificates are in place.

See this article for more information on clearing HSTS for specific endpoints across common browsers.

JWT Authentication

When securing the Pomerium Authenticate service with a certificate signed by Let's Encrypt, your upstream applications may reject the certificate when attempting to access the JWT signing key. Here's an example log line from Grafana:

logger=context error=Get "": x509: certificate signed by unknown authority

This is often due to the recent expiration of the DST Root CA X3 certificate. Many default keystores used by docker images and less-frequently updated distributions still carry this expired certificate. Even though Let's Encrypt certs are cross-signed with the ISRG Root X1 CA certificate, some applications will still reject them.

To clarify; this does not mean that the upstream service is rejecting the JWT signing key. Rather, it doesn't trust the Let's Encrypt certificate used by the Authorize service for TLS, and so it will not read the JWKS file.

For upstream applications that can use a local signing key file, you can circumvent this issue using curl or wget to download the signing key locally (relative to the upstream service). Using Grafana again as an example:

  1. Download the jwks.json file from the authenticate server:

    curl > /etc/grafana/jwks.json
  2. Edit the upstream service configuration to use the local key to verify tokens:

    enabled = true
    header_name = X-Pomerium-Jwt-Assertion
    email_claim = email
    jwk_set_file = /etc/grafana/jwks.json
    cache_ttl = 60m

Kubernetes Ingress Controller

View Event History

Pomerium Ingress Controller will add events to the Ingress objects as it processes them.

kubectl describe ingress/my-ingress
Type Reason Age From Message
---- ------ ---- ---- -------
Normal Updated 18s pomerium-ingress updated pomerium configuration

If an error occurs, it may be reflected in the events:

Type Reason Age From Message
---- ------ ---- ---- -------
Normal Updated 5m53s pomerium-ingress updated pomerium configuration
Warning UpdateError 3s pomerium-ingress upsert routes: parsing ingress: annotations: applying policy annotations: parsing policy: invalid rules in policy: unsupported conditional "maybe", only and, or, not, nor and action are allowed

Shared Secret Mismatch

Pomerium's independent services communicate securely using a shared secret. When services or the databroker have mismatched secrets, Pomerium will fail.

Pomerium Core will log a shared secret mismatch with:

"level": "error",
"syncer_id": "authorize",
"syncer_type": "",
"error": "rpc error: code = Unauthenticated desc = invalid JWT: go-jose/go-jose: error in cryptographic primitive",
"time": "2022-03-22T07:26:14-04:00",
"message": "sync"

And Pomerium Enterprise will log the error with:

"level": "error",
"ts": "2022-03-22T07:21:02-04:00",
"caller": "dashboard/server.go:187",
"msg": "syncer",
"error": "failed to sync all devices: rpc error: code = Unauthenticated desc = invalid JWT: go-jose/go-jose: error in cryptographic primitive",
"stacktrace": "*Server).Run.func2\n\t/PATH/TO/POMERIUM/CONSOLE/SERVICE/svc/dashboard/server.go:187\*Group).Go.func1\n\t/Users/tgroth/workspace/go/pkg/mod/"
"level": "info",
"ts": "2022-03-22T07:21:02-04:00",
"caller": "dashboard/server.go:202",
"msg": "stopping dashboard servers"

Update the shared secret across all Pomerium services to match the one set for the Databroker.

Redis Secret Mismatch


The use of Redis as the databroker storage type has been deprecated in favor of Postgres. See Previous Versions of this page for information regarding Redis.

RPC Errors

certificate signed by unknown authority

When authenticating and authorizing a user for the first time, you may see the following in your Pomerium logs:

ERR http-error error="401 Unauthorized: ..... rpc error: code = DeadlineExceeded desc = latest connection error: connection error: desc = "transport: authentication handshake failed: x509: certificate signed by unknown authority...."


This error means that the proxy is rejecting the Authorize service's supplied certificate (used to establish a secure connection) because it doesn't know or trust the certificate authority that signed it.


Ensure that the Proxy service knows about and trusts the certificate authority that signed the Authorize service's certificate.

  • Add the certificate authority directly into Pomerium using the certificate authority config setting.

  • Add the certificate authority to the system's underlying trust store.

  • Replace your system / docker image certificate bundle.

    For Docker:

    COPY --from=builder /etc/ssl/certs/your-cert-bundle.crt /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
  • Finally, ensure that you aren't being man-in-the-middle'd or that some eager router isn't injecting its own certificate along the way. Use openssl to verify that your Proxy service is getting the certificate you think its getting.

    openssl s_client -servername -connect </dev/null \

rpc error: code = DeadlineExceeded

When authenticating and authorizing a user for the first time, you may get the following in your Pomerium logs.

{"level":"error",..."error":"rpc error: code = DeadlineExceeded desc = context deadline exceeded","http-message":"rpc error: code = DeadlineExceeded desc = context deadline exceeded","http-code":500,"message":"http-error"}


The Proxy service is not able to create a connection with the authorization service to validate a user.


Usually, this is the result of either a routing issue or a configuration error. Make sure that you are using the internally routable URL for the Authorize service. Many cloud loud balancers do not yet support gRPC transposing the ingress. So while your authenticate service url will probably look like, your authorizer service url will likely be more like https://pomerium-authorize-service.default.svc.cluster.local or https://localhost:5443.

Pomerium Enterprise

Generate Recovery Token

In the event that you lose access to the console via delegated access (the policy defined in Pomerium), there exists a fallback procedure to regain access to the console via a generated recovery token.

Pomerium Enterprise Recovery Sign In

To generate a token, run the pomerium-console generate-recovery token command with the following flags:

--database-encryption-keybase64-encoded encryption key for encrypting sensitive data in the database.
--database-urlThe database to connect to (default "postgresql://pomerium:pomerium@localhost:5432/dashboard?sslmode=disable").
--namespaceThe namespace to use (default "9d8dbd2c-8cce-4e66-9c1f-c490b4a07243" for Global).
--outWhere to save the JWT. If not specified, it will be printed to stdout.
--ttlThe amount of time before the recovery token expires. Requires a unit (example: 30s, 5m).

You can run the pomerium-console binary from any device with access to the database.


Invalid Certificates from Command Line Tools

When using Let's Encrypt certificates, you must use the fullchain.pem file, not cert.pem in order to include intermediate certs. Browsers like Chrome will store intermediate certs for LE but other tools (like curl) don't, which is why your route might look fine in a web browser, but not when curl'd or used for TCP tunneling.