Knowledge Base

Troubleshooting Connection Issues in Neo4j Browser and Cypher Shell

This page describes common issues users may encounter in connecting Neo4j Browser or cypher-shell to a Neo4j database, and how to address them.

Connection Timeout

Symptom: connection attempts lag for a long time, and then fail with connection timed out errors.


$ cypher-shell -a -u neo4j -p myPassword
connection timed out: /

Troubleshooting steps:

  1. Ensure that the address is correct.

  2. Ensure that if the server is listening for bolt connections on a port other than 7687, that you pass the port explicitly to your client (e.g. cypher-shell) or other program you have written.

  3. Ensure that firewall rules do not prohibit traffic on the bolt port.

Common causes of this error:

  1. A cloud instance of neo4j is launched with no security groups defined or port access. Bolt is available on at the right address, but firewall rules prevent access. Packets are dropped, and so the result is a connection timeout.

  2. Non-standard configuration of neo4j which runs bolt on a port other than 7687, for example to comply with local network policies.

  3. The server is not yet available. For a period of time while starting up, and particularly if the database is repairing files or migrating an old store, the bolt endpoint may not be available. You will know that it is available when the logs contain a message that looks like this: 2018-05-25 13:34:34.584+0000 INFO Bolt enabled on

ServiceUnavailable: WebSocket connection failure

A similar message you might see is: WebSocket connection failure. Due to security constraints in your web browser, the reason for the failure is not available to this Neo4j Driver.

Symptom: you can connect to Neo4j Browser and enter credentials, but fail to connect with a message about WebSocket connection failures.


Explanation: this is commonly seen with Firefox and some versions of Internet Explorer, when Neo4j Browser is used with an untrusted SSL certificate. When users click to accept the exception and permit traffic, those browsers authorize that action for only the port that Neo4j Browser is running on, not for all ports on that host. As a result, the browser’s security policy fails the WebSocket connection to the bolt port.

Available Resolutions: 1. Use a signed SSL certificate 2. Follow directions for your browser to trust the server’s certificate for the bolt port, and then refresh the page. 3. Use Chrome 4. Set dbms.connector.bolt.tls_level=OPTIONAL in your neo4j config. Be aware that bolt connections may not be encrypted, but this is a method of side-stepping web browser issues with the untrusted certificate.