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Deploy Key Connector

This article will walk you through the procedure for enabling and configuring Key Connector in an existing self-hosted environment. Before proceeding, please thoroughly review the about Key Connector article to ensure a full understanding of what Key Connector is, how it works, and the impacts of implementation.

Bitwarden supports deployment of one Key Connector for use by one organization for a self-hosted instance.



Management of cryptographic keys is incredibly sensitive and is only recommended for enterprises with a team and infrastructure that can securely support deploying and managing a key server.

In order to use Key Connector you must:

If your organization meets or can meet these requirements, including a team and infrastructure that can support management of a key server, contact us and we'll activate Key Connector.

Setup & deploy Key Connector

Once you have contacted us regarding Key Connector, we'll reach out to kick off a Key Connector discussion. The steps that follow in this article must be completed in collaboration with Bitwarden customer success & implementation specialists.

Obtain new license file

Once you have contacted us regarding Key Connector, a member of the customer success & implementation team will generate a Key Connector-enabled license file for your organization. When your Bitwarden collaborator instructs you it is ready, complete the following steps to obtain the new license:

  1. Open the Bitwarden cloud web app and navigate to your organization's BillingSubscription screen in the Admin Console.

  2. Scroll down and select the Download License button.

  3. When prompted, enter the installation ID that was used to install your self-hosted server and select Submit. If you don't know your installation ID off-hand, you can retrieve it from ./bwdata/env/global.override.env.

You won't need your license file immediately, but you will be required to upload it to your self-hosted server in a later step.

Initialize Key Connector

To prepare your Bitwarden server for Key Connector:

  1. Save a backup of, at a minimum, .bwdata/mssql. Once Key Connector is in use, it's recommended that you have access to a pre-Key Connector backup image in case of an issue.


    If you are using an external MSSQL database, take a backup of your database in whatever way fits your implementation.

  2. Update your self-hosted Bitwarden installation in order to retrieve the latest changes:

    ./ update
  3. Edit the .bwdata/config.yml file and enable Key Connector by toggling enable_key_connector to true.

    nano bwdata/config.yml
  4. Rebuild your self-hosted Bitwarden installation:

    ./ rebuild
  5. Update your self-hosted Bitwarden installation again in order to apply the changes:

    ./ update

Configure Key Connector

To configure Key Connector:

  1. Edit the .bwdata/env/key-connector.override.env file that will have been downloaded with the ./ update.

    nano bwdata/env/key-connector.override.env

    This file will be pre-populated with default values that will spin up a functional local Key Connector setup, however the default values are not recommended for production environments.

  2. In key-connector.override.env, you will need to specify values for the following:

    • Endpoints: What Bitwarden endpoints Key Connector can communicate with.

    • Database: Where Key Connector will store and retrieve user keys.

    • RSA key pair: How Key Connector will access an RSA key pair to protect user keys at rest.


Automated setup will populate endpoint values based on your installation configuration, however it's recommended that you confirm the following values in key-connector.override.env are accurate for your setup:

keyConnectorSettings__webVaultUri= keyConnectorSettings__identityServerUri=http://identity:5000


Key Connector must access a database which stores encrypted user keys keys for your organization members. Create a secure database to store encrypted users keys and replace the default keyConnectorSettings__database__ values in key-connector.override.env with the values designated in the Required Values column for the chosen database:


Migration from one database to another is not supported at this time. Regardless of which provider you choose, implement a frequent automated backup schedule for the database.


Required values

Local JSON (default)

Not recommended outside of testing.



Microsoft SQL Server



Learn how to format MSSQL connection strings




Learn how to format PostgreSQL connection strings




Learn how to format MySQL connection strings





Learn how to format MongoDB connection strings

RSA key pair

Key Connector uses an RSA key pair to protect user keys at rest. Create a key pair and replace the default keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__ and keyConnectorSettings__certificate__ values in key-connector.override.env with the values required for your chosen implementation.


The RSA key pair must be at a minimum 2048 bits in length.

Generally, your options include granting Key Connector access to an X509 Certificate that contains the key pair or granting Key Connector access directly to the Key Pair:

To use an X509 certificate that contains an RSA key pair, specify the values required depending on the location where your certificate is stored (see Filesystem, OS Certificate Store, and so on):


The certificate must be made available as a PKCS12 .pfx file, for example:

openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -sha256 -nodes -keyout bwkc.key -out bwkc.crt -subj "/CN=Bitwarden Key Connector" -days 36500 openssl pkcs12 -export -out ./bwkc.pfx -inkey bwkc.key -in bwkc.crt -passout pass:{Password}

In all certificate implementations, you'll need the CN value shown in this example.

Filesystem (default)

If the certificate is stored on the filesystem of the machine running Key Connector, specify the following values:


By default, Key Connector will be configured to create a .pfx file located at etc/bitwarden/key-connector/bwkc.pfx with a generated password. It is not recommended for enterprise implementations to use these defaults.

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=certificate keyConnectorSettings__certificate__provider=filesystem keyConnectorSettings__certificate__filesystemPath={Certificate_Path} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__filesystemPassword={Certificate_Password}

Azure Blob Storage

If the certificate is uploaded to Azure Blob Storage, specify the following values:

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=certificate keyConnectorSettings__certificate__provider=azurestorage keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureStorageConnectionString={Connection_String} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureStorageContainer={Container_Name} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureStorageFileName={File_Name} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureStorageFilePassword={File_Password}

Set azureStorageConnectionString to a Connection string you can generate in your Azure portal from the Shared access signature (SAS) page of your storage account. The SAS must have:

  • Allowed services: Blob and File

  • Allowed resource types: Service, Container, and Object

  • Allowed permissions: Read, Write, and List

  • Allowed blob index permissions: Read/Write and Filter

Azure Key Vault

If certificate is stored in Azure Key Vault, specify the following values:


To use Azure Key Vault to store your .pfx certificate, you'll need to create an Active Directory App Registration. This App Registration must:

  • Give delegated API permissions to access Azure Key Vault

  • Have a client secret generated to allow access by Key Connector

keyConnectorSettings__certificate__provider=azurekv keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureKeyvaultUri={Vault_URI} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureKeyvaultCertificateName={Certificate_Name} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureKeyvaultAdTenantId={ActiveDirectory_TenantId} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureKeyvaultAdAppId={AppRegistration_ApplicationId} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__azureKeyvaultAdSecret={AppRegistration_ClientSecretValue}

Hashicorp Vault

If the certificate is stored in Hashicorp Vault, specify the following values:


Key Connector integrates with the Hashicorp Vault KV2 Storage Engine. As per the top of this tab, the certificate file should be in PKCS12 format and stored base64-encoded as the value to a named key in your Vault. If following a Vault tutorial for the KV2 Storage Engine, the key name may be file unless otherwise specified.

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=certificate keyConnectorSettings__certificate__provider=vault keyConnectorSettings__certificate__vaultServerUri={Server_URI} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__vaultToken={Token} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__vaultSecretMountPoint={Secret_MountPoint} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__vaultSecretPath={Secret_Path} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__vaultSecretDataKey={Secret_DataKey} keyConnectorSettings__certificate__vaultSecretFilePassword={Secret_FilePassword}

To use a cloud provider or physical device to store to a RSA 2048 key pair, specify the values required depending on your chosen implementation (see Azure Key Vault, Google Cloud Key Management, and so on):

Azure Key Vault

If you are using Azure Key Vault to store a RSA 2048 key pair, specify the following values:


To use Azure Key Vault to store your RSA 2048 key, you'll need to create an Active Directory App Registration. This App Registration must:

  • Give delegated API permissions to access Azure Key Vault

  • Have a client secret generated to allow access by Key Connector

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=azurekv keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__azureKeyvaultUri={Vault_URI} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__azureKeyvaultKeyName={Key_Name} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__azureKeyvaultAdTenantId={ActiveDirectory_TenantId} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__azureKeyvaultAdAppId={AppRegistration_ApplicationId} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__azureKeyvaultAdSecret={AppRegistration_ClientSecretValue}

Learn how to use Azure Key Vault to create a key pair

Google Cloud Key Management

If you are using Google Cloud Key Management to store a RSA 2048 key pair, specify the following values:

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=gcpkms keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__googleCloudProjectId={Project_Id} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__googleCloudLocationId={Location_Id} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__googleCloudKeyringId={Keyring_Id} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__googleCloudKeyId={Key_Id} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__googleCloudKeyVersionId={KeyVersionId}

Learn how to use Google Cloud Key Management Service to create key rings and asymmetric keys

AWS Key Management Service

If you are using AWS Key Management Service (KMS) to store a RSA 2048 key pair, specify the following values:

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=awskms keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__awsAccessKeyId={AccessKey_Id} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__awsAccessKeySecret={AccessKey_Secret} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__awsRegion={Region_Name} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__awsKeyId={Key_Id}

Learn how to use AWS KMS to create asymmetric keys

PKCS11 Physical HSM

If you are using a physical HSM device with the PKCS11 provider, specify the following values:

keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__provider=pkcs11 keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__pkcs11Provider={Provider} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__pkcs11SlotTokenSerialNumber={Token_SerialNumber} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__pkcs11LoginUserType={Login_UserType} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__pkcs11LoginPin={Login_PIN} ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TWO: keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__pkcs11PrivateKeyLabel={PrivateKeyLabel} keyConnectorSettings__rsaKey__pkcs11PrivateKeyId={PrivateKeyId}


  • {Provider} can be yubihsm or opensc

  • {Login_UserType} can be user, so, or context_specific


If you are using the PKCS11 provider to store your private key on an HSM device, the associated public key must be made available and configured as a certificate using any of the options found in the Certificates tab.

Activate Key Connector

Now that Key Connector is fully configured and you have a Key Connector-enabled license, complete the following steps:

  1. Restart your self-hosted Bitwarden installation in order to apply the configuration changes:

    ./ restart
  2. Log in to your self-hosted Bitwarden as an organization owner and navigate to the Admin Console's BillingSubscription screen.

  3. Select the Update license button and upload the Key Connector-enabled license retrieved in an earlier step.

  4. If you haven't already, navigate to the Settings Policies screen and enable the Single organization and Require single sign-on authentication policies. Both are required to use Key Connector.

  5. Navigate to the Settings Single sign-on screen.


    The next few steps assume that you already have an active login with SSO implementation using SAML 2.0 or OIDC. If you don't, please implement and test login with SSO before proceeding.

  6. In the Member decryption options section, select Key Connector.

  7. In the Key Connector URL input, enter the address Key Connector is running at (by default, https://your.domain/key-connector) and select the Test button to ensure you can reach Key Connector.

  8. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Save.

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