Connecting via Bolt when using Tunnelling or NAT

This article aims to provide a method to connect to the Neo4j database over bolt, via Neo4j browser where the bolt host is different from the IP of the instance itself and, in cases where the bolt host IP/port is dynamic.

Unless dbms.connector.bolt.advertised_address=<server-name>:<port> is set, Neo4j browser uses the private IP of the instance as the bolt host IP, but e.g. when using an SSH tunnel to access a Neo4j instance, the client (e.g. Neo4j browser) uses a e.g. 127.0.0.1:port and changes a previously saved bolt host URL to use the instance IP instead, which wouldn’t connect.

One workaround is to specify dbms.connector.bolt.advertised_address=<server-name>:<port> in neo4j.conf (where <server-name>:<port> is the DNS name and port of the desired bolt host). However, if the host/port in certain environments, is custom each time, hard coding it with neo4j.conf via the above configuration, may not be useable where bolt should listen on the IP/port where it is mapped via the SSH tunnel. Some clients within the firewall may not use tunnelling, hence setting up tunnelling for every client, to match the hard coded address may not be desired.

In such cases, providing a custom dbms.connector.bolt.advertised_address=<server-name>:<port> at the neo4j browser landing/connection page, may not always honour that value e.g. at page refresh, the browser may forget the input bolt URL and overwrite it with the default advertised address.

To prevent the user-specified configuration from being overwritten, a connectUrl parameter can be passed along with the link to Neo4j Browser:

If a hosted Neo4j Browser was available on http://browser.neo4j.com, it would set the bolt url to http://neo4jdb.xxyyzz.com:26000 and try to connect. The connectURL parameter may therefore be useful for use-cases as ones described above, where clients use tunnelling, network address translation, and other non-conventional access methods. ”’

  • Last Modified: 2020-10-22 22:13:22 UTC by Umar Muzammil.
  • Relevant for Neo4j Versions: 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5.
  • Relevant keywords bolt, host, url, nat, tunnel.