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Cumulus Linux implements an HTTP application programing interface to NCLU. Instead of accessing Cumulus Linux using SSH, you can interact with the switch using an HTTP client, such as cURL, HTTPie or a web browser.


The supporting software for the API is installed with Cumulus Linux.

To enable the HTTP API service, run the following systemd command:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl enable restserver

Use the systemctl start and systemctl stop commands to start or stop the HTTP API service:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl start restserver
cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl stop restserver

Use the systemctl disable command to disable the HTTP API service from running at startup:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl disable restserver

Each service runs as a background daemon.


To configure the HTTP API services, edit the /etc/nginx/sites-available/nginx-restapi.conf configuration file, enter in the IP address in which the REST API will listen on and then run the command sudo systemctl restart nginx.

IP and Port Settings

You can modify the IP:port combinations to which services listen by changing the parameters of the listen directive(s). By default, nginx-restapi.conf has only one listen parameter.

All URLs must use HTTPS instead of HTTP.

For more information on the listen directive, refer to the NGINX documentation.



The default configuration requires all HTTP requests from external sources (not internal switch traffic) to set the HTTP Basic Authentication header.

The user and password must correspond to a user on the host switch.

Transport Layer Security

All traffic must be secured in transport using TLSv1.2 by default. Cumulus Linux contains a self-signed certificate and private key used server-side in this application so that it works out of the box, but using your own certificates and keys is highly recommended. Certificates must be in the PEM format.

For step by step documentation for generating self-signed certificates and keys, and installing them to the switch, refer to the Ubuntu Certificates and Security documentation.

Do not copy the cumulus.pem or cumulus.key files. After installation, edit the ssl_certificate and ssl_certificate_key values in the configuration file for your hardware.

cURL Examples

This section includes several example cURL commands you can use to send HTTP requests to a host. The following settings are used for these examples:

  • Username: user
  • Password: pw
  • IP:
  • Port: 8080

Requests for NCLU require setting the Content-Type request header to be set to application/json.

The cURL -k flag is necessary when the server uses a self-signed certificate. This is the default configuration (see the Security section). To display the response headers, include the -D flag in the command.

To retrieve a list of all available HTTP endpoints:

cumulus@switch:~$ curl -X GET -k -u user:pw

To run net show counters on the host as a remote procedure call:

cumulus@switch:~$ curl -X POST -k -u user:pw -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"cmd": "show counters"}'


The /etc/restapi.conf file is not listed in the net show configuration files command output.