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Deploy Nessus using JSON

You can automatically configure and deploy Nessus Nessus scanners using a JSON file, config.json. To determine the location of this file on your operating system, see Default Data Directories.

When you first launch Nessus after installation, Nessus first checks for the presence of environment variables, then checks for the config.json file. When Nessus launches for the first time, Nessus uses that information to link the scanner to a manager, set preferences, and create a user.

config.json Format

The following describes the format of the different sections in config.json.

Note: All sections are optional; if you do not include a section, it is not configured when you first launch Nessus. You can manually configure the settings later.


  • The link section sets preferences to link Nessus to a manager.
  • Only name, host, port, and key are required. All other settings are optional.


  • The preferences section configures any advanced settings. For more information, see Advanced Settings.


  • The user section creates a Nessus user.

  • If you do not enter a username, Nessus does not create a user.
  • If you create a user but leave the password value empty, Nessus automatically generates a password. To log in as the user, use nessuscli to change the user's password first.

Example Nessus config.json file:

{ "link": { "name": "Scanner name", "host": "", "port": 443, "key": "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz", "ms_cert": "CA cert for linking", "retry": 1, "proxy": { "proxy": "proxyhostname", "proxy_port": 443, "proxy_username": "proxyusername", "proxy_password": "proxypassword", "user_agent": "proxyagent", "proxy_auth": "NONE" } }, "preferences": { "global.max_hosts": "500" }, "user": { "username": "admin", "password": "password", "role": "system_administrator", "type": "local" } }

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