Some tips for using wolfSSL on the Espressif ESP32

Getting Started with wolfSSL for Espressif ESP32

Like many things: it’s easy when you know how. Here are some notes on getting started with wolfSSL encryption on the Espressif ESP32.


  • Install the ESP-IDF.
  • Use the setup_win to copy selected files into your {IDF_PATH}/components/ directory.
  • Include some wolfSSL settings and headers:

git clone wolfssl-gojimmypi-ESP32 --depth 1
cd wolfssl
./configure --enable-ssh
make check

# installs to /usr/local/lib
sudo make install

# install the SSH compoentents (wolfSSH)
git clone wolfssh-gojimmypi-ESP32
cd wolfssh-gojimmypi-ESP32

# the default shows /usr/local/ but it is actually in /usr/local/lib/ (why not default to wolfSSL?)
./configure --with-wolfssl=/usr/local/
make check
#include <wolfssl/wolfcrypt/settings.h> // make sure this appears before any other wolfSSL headers
#include <wolfssl/ssl.h>
  • Edit user setting file is found in {IDF_PATH}/components/wolfssl/include/user_settings.h
  • Plug in real certificates. See DER to C.
  • Reminder embedded RTOS has limited space. Beware of printf, etc.

Install wolfSSL component

Start an EDP-IDF command prompt (or a regular DOS prompt if installing for VisualGDB)

# choose your workspace drive and directory:
SET WORKSPACE=\workspace\

# fetch wolfSSL code and install to ESP32 component directory
if not exist %WORKSPACE% mkdir %WORKSPACE%
git clone
git clone
cd wolfssl\IDE\Espressif\ESP-IDF

# install for the current %IDF_PATH%

# Alternatively, pass a parameter for an alternate ESP-IDF path (e.g. VisualGDB)
# .\setup_win.bat C:\SysGCC\esp32\esp-idf\v4.4


I’ve created some heavily commented examples of using wolfSSL TLS1.3 on the Espressif ESP32 WROOM using the VisualGDB extension for Visual Studio:

ESP32 TLS 1.3 Server

ESP32 TLS 1.3 Client

Although the examples were created with VisualGDB, they can be edited with your favorite editor an compiled with the ESP-IDF.

To aid in troubleshooting the ESP32 apps, I’ve also created TLS1.3 Linux Projects for all of the wolfSSL-examples for TLS, also in the VisualGDB environment. Of particular interest are the TLS1.3 apps:

Tips and Troubleshooting

You must have at least some wolfSSL-specific #define values before the includes.

Make sure that <wolfssl/wolfcrypt/settings.h> is included before any other woldSSL includes.

Check that there are no stray source files in your {IDF_PATH}/components/. It seems that build processes will compile, but clean does not remove object files in the compoenents directory. The resulting errors can be rather unintuitive (yes, I learned this the hard way)

If you are going to peek at packets, make sure you are using a hub and not a switch (recall a switch will suppress non-broadcast packets on your port). If you don’t have a hub, then perhaps your switch can be configured for post monitoring. See my prior blog for doing this with a Ubiquiti Edgerouter-X.

Error: Target not halted, typically means there’s a wiring problem.

Info : Listening on port 6666 for tcl connections
Info : Listening on port 61188 for telnet connections
Info : J-Link V10 compiled Nov  2 2021 12:14:50
Info : Hardware version: 10.10
Info : VTarget = 3.361 V
Info : clock speed 500 kHz
Error: JTAG scan chain interrogation failed: all ones
Error: Check JTAG interface, timings, target power, etc.
Error: Trying to use configured scan chain anyway...
Error: esp32.cpu0: IR capture error; saw 0x1f not 0x01
Warn : Bypassing JTAG setup events due to errors
Warn : target esp32.cpu0 examination failed
Warn : target esp32.cpu1 examination failed
Info : starting gdb server for esp32.cpu0 on 61190
Info : Listening on port 61190 for gdb connections
Info : accepting 'gdb' connection on tcp/61190
Error: Target not examined yet
Error executing event gdb-attach on target esp32.cpu0:

Warn : No symbols for FreeRTOS!
Error: Target not halted
Error: auto_probe failed
Error: Connect failed. Consider setting up a gdb-attach event for the target to prepare target for GDB connect, or use 'gdb_memory_map disable'.
Error: attempted 'gdb' connection rejected