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Server security options

arangod provides a variety of options to make a setup more secure. Administrators can use these options to limit access to certain ArangoDB server functionality as well as preventing the leakage of information about the environment that a server is running in.

General security options

The following security options are available:

  • --server.harden If this option is set to true and authentication is enabled, non-admin users will be denied access to the following REST APIs:

    • /_admin/log
    • /_admin/log/level
    • /_admin/status
    • /_admin/statistics
    • /_admin/statistics-description
    • /_api/engine/stats

    Additionally, no version details will be revealed by the version REST API at /_api/version.

    The default value for this option is false.

JavaScript security options

arangod has several options that allow you to make your installation more secure when it comes to running application code in it. Below you will find an overview of the relevant options.

Blacklist and whitelists

Several options exists to restrict JavaScript application code functionality to just certain allowed subsets. Which subset of functionality is available can be controlled via blacklisting and whitelisting access to individual components.

The set theory for these lists works as follow:

  • Only a blacklist is specified: Everything is allowed except a set of items matching the blacklist.
  • Only a whitelist is specified: Everything is disallowed except the set of items matching the whitelist.
  • Both whitelist and blacklist are specified: Everything is disallowed except the set of items matching the whitelist. From this whitelisted set, subsets can be forbidden again using the blacklist.

Values for blacklist and whitelist options need to be specified as ECMAScript regular expressions. Each option can be used multiple times. When specifying more than one pattern, these patterns will be combined with a logical or to the actual pattern ArangoDB will use.

These patterns and how they are applied can be observed by enabling --log.level SECURITY=debug in the arangod or arangosh log output.

Combining patterns

The security option to observe the behavior of the pattern matching most easily is the masquerading of the startup options:

--javascript.startup-options-whitelist "^server\."
--javascript.startup-options-whitelist "^log\."
--javascript.startup-options-blacklist "^javascript\."
--javascript.startup-options-blacklist "^endpoint$"

These sets will resolve internally to the following regular expressions:

--javascript.startup-options-whitelist = "^server\.|^log\."
--javascript.startup-options-blacklist = "^javascript\.|endpoint"

Invoking an arangosh with these options will hide the blacklisted commandline options from the output of:


… and an exception will be thrown when trying to access items that are masked in the same way as if they weren’t there in first place.

File access

In contrast to other areas, access to directories and files from JavaScript operations is only controlled via a whitelist, which can be specified via the startup option --javascript.files-whitelist. Thus any files or directories not matching the whitelist will be inaccessible from JavaScript filesystem functions.

For example, when using the following startup options

--javascript.files-whitelist "^/etc/required/"
--javascript.files-whitelist "^/etc/mtab/"
--javascript.files-whitelist "^/etc/issue$"

The file /etc/issue will be allowed to accessed and all files in the directories /etc/required and /etc/mtab plus their subdirectories will be accessible, while access to files in any other directories will be disallowed from JavaScript operations, with the following exceptions:

  • ArangoDB’s temporary directory: JavaScript code is given access to this directory for storing temporary files. The temporary directory location can be specified explicitly via the --temp.path option at startup. If the option is not specified, ArangoDB will automatically use a subdirectory of the system’s temporary directory.
  • ArangoDB’s own JavaScript code, shipped with the ArangoDB release packages. Files in this directory and its subdirectories will be readable for JavaScript code running in ArangoDB. The exact path can be specified by the startup option --javascript.startup-directory.

Endpoint access

The endpoint black/white listing limits access to external HTTP resources. In contrast to the URLs specified in the JavaScript code, the filters have to be specified in the ArangoDB endpoints notation:

  • http:// => tcp://
  • https:// => ssl://
  • no protocol will match http and https.

Filtering is done on the protocol, hostname / IP address, and the port.

Specifying will match:


Specifying ssl:// will match:


Specifying ssl:// will match:


Specifying tcp:// will match:


This can be tried out using a whitelist - all non matches will be blocked:

arangosh --javascript.endpoints-whitelist ssl://> require('internal').download('')
<whitelist permitted, error on trying to connect>> require('internal').download('')
JavaScript exception: ArangoError 11: not allowed to connect to this endpoint

Options for blacklisting and whitelisting

The following options are available for blacklisting and whitelisting access to dedicated functionality for application code:

  • --javascript.startup-options-[whitelist|blacklist]: These options control which startup options will be exposed to JavaScript code, following above rules for blacklists and whitelists.

  • --javascript.environment-variables-[whitelist|blacklist]: These options control which environment variables will be exposed to JavaScript code, following above rules for blacklists and whitelists.

  • --javascript.endpoints-[whitelist|blacklist]: These options control which endpoints can be used from within the @arangodb/request JavaScript module. Endpoint values are passed into the filter in a normalized format starting with either of the prefixes tcp://, ssl://, unix:// or srv://. Note that for HTTP/SSL-based endpoints the port number will be included too, and that the endpoint can be specified either as an IP address or host name from application code.

  • --javascript.files-whitelist: This option controls which filesystem paths can be accessed from JavaScript code.

Additional JavaScript security options

In addition to the blacklisting and whitelisting security options, the following extra options are available for locking down JavaScript access to server functionality:

  • --javascript.allow-port-testing: If set to true, this option enables the testPort JavaScript function in the internal module. The default value is false.

  • --javascript.allow-external-process-control: If set to true, this option allows the execution and control of external processes from JavaScript code via the functions from the internal module:

    • executeExternal
    • executeExternalAndWait
    • getExternalSpawned
    • killExternal
    • suspendExternal
    • continueExternal
    • statusExternal
  • --javascript.harden: If set to true, this setting will deactivate the following JavaScript functions from the internal module, which may leak information about the environment:

    • getPid()
    • logLevel()

    The default value is false.

Security options for managing Foxx applications

The following options are available for controlling the installation of Foxx applications in an ArangoDB server:

  • --foxx.api: If set to false, this option disables the Foxx management API, which will make it impossible to install and uninstall Foxx applications. Setting the option to false will also deactivate the “Services” section in the web interface. The default value is true, meaning that Foxx apps can be installed and uninstalled.

  • If set to false, this option disables the Foxx app store in ArangoDB’s web interface, which will also prevent ArangoDB and its web interface from making calls to the main Foxx application Github repository at The default value is true.