Using SSL/TLS with Google App Engine

March 4, 2018 ยท 2 minutes

Enabling SSL/TLS for your Google App Engine production environment can be done trivially. Nevertheless, some circumstances require that your local development server also use SSL/TLS. Since the local development server provided by the Google Cloud SDK,, does not come with SSL/TLS out of the box, some configuration is required to accomplish this.

In Production


Employing SSL/TLS in production is relatively straight forward. From the Google Cloud Platform documentation:

If you want to use native Python SSL, you must enable it by specifying ssl for the libraries configuration in your application’s app.yaml.


- name: ssl
  version: latest

For Local Development

Using SSL/TLS with the local development server,, is slightly more involved. This solution requires two interventions:

  1. Set up a reverse proxy server in front of the local development server to proxy SSL traffic to the server.

  2. Patching the requests Python library so that the can initiate out-bound requests over HTTPS.

Step 1: Set up a reverse proxy server

To solve this, I configured an Nginx server to act as a reverse proxy for SSL traffic. The walk-through for accomplishing this on macOS can be found here

Step 2: Patch the requests Python library

To use requests, you’ll need to install both requests and requests-toolbelt. Once installed, use the requests_toolbelt.adapters.appengine module to configure requests to use URLFetch:

import requests
import requests_toolbelt.adapters.appengine

# Use the App Engine Requests adapter. This makes sure that Requests uses
# URLFetch.

To issue an HTTPS request, set the validate_certificate parameter to true when calling the urlfetch.fetch() method. This is handled transparently in requests-toolbelt here.