User Authentication

Last modified by Simon Urli on 2023/12/11

XWiki supports several different authentication mechanisms for authenticating users.

XWiki currently allows only one method of authentication to be enabled at a time. This will probably be improved in the future.

Also note that XWiki requires cookies to be enabled in order to track your session and to keep you logged in between pages.

Choose the authenticator

Historically, the authenticator to use in XWiki is controlled by the property xwiki.authentication.authclass in the file.

XWiki 15.3+

For authenticators which supports it, it's possible to choose the authenticator to use in the wiki administration.


Authentication Types

Form Authentication

Form authentication is the default way to get authenticated within a Wiki. It requires a user and a password.

Basic Authentication

XWiki supports basic access authentication, a method designed to allow a web browser or other client programs to provide credentials - in the form of a user name and password - when making a request. You can get authenticated against an XWiki server with the basic authentication protocol using the following URL scheme:

Be careful that if you use the HTTP protocol your password will be sent in clear over the network and is thus very unsafe. When using basic authentication you should make sure your wiki is configured to use HTTPS.

Container Authentication

Delegates authentication to the Servlet Container. If it fails it falls back to the standard XWiki authentication.

To configure XWiki to use it, specify:


For users to be actually created and not just set as context user you must set in xwiki.cfg configuration file (if the property does not already exist, create it):


OpenId Connect Authentication

See the OpenId Connect Authenticator Extension.

Active Directory

If you're looking to connect XWiki to an Active Directory server, you currently have 2 options:

  • Using the manual and generic approach using the LDAP Authenticator extension
  • Using the dedicated Active Directory Application which is a paying application dedicated to simplifying the integration of Active Directory with XWiki. The Active Directory Application allows you to easily connect your Active Directory server to XWiki using a visual editor, update¬†advanced configuration settings without restarting the application server, technical support provided by XWiki SAS, etc.


See the LDAP Authenticator extension.

The deprecated LDAP core authenticator (for XWiki < 7.4) can be found on OldLDAPAuthenticator.

Custom Authentication

You can create your custom authentication by following Create a Custom Authenticator tutorial.

Note that it's also possible to customize the right management system, see Security Module for more details.

Custom Authentication using a Groovy script in a wiki page

Start by specifying you want to use the Groovy Authenticator:

xwiki.authentication.authclass = com.xpn.xwiki.user.impl.xwiki.GroovyAuthServiceImpl

Then add another configuration parameter to specify in which wiki page the authenticator is:

xwiki.authentication.groovy.pagename = MySpace.MyPage

Then put some Groovy code in a wiki page that returns a XWikiAuthService object.


Authentication parameters

You can set each of these parameters by setting:

NameOptionalAllowed valuesDefault valueDescription
encryptionKeyNo(1)/XWiki 15.9+, 15.5.4+, 14.10.19+ Yes?n/aSet the Encryption Key used to create a secret key, the secret key is passed to the Cipher object to be used during encryption and decryption of cookie values.
validationKeyNo(2)/XWiki 15.9+, 15.5.4+, 14.10.19+ Yes?n/aSet the Validation Key used to generate hash value; the hash value is stored with the cookie and used to verify that the cookie has not been tampered with.
cookiedomainsYesStringServer host nameWhich host(s) should your cookies be sent to; use only if you want to share cookies across domains, otherwise should be commented out
cookielifeYesNumber14Number of days cookies take to expire
cookiepathYesString/The webapp path that XWiki cookies should be sent to; if you have anything else running on your web server, this should be set to /xwiki
default_pageYesString/bin/view/ Main/WebHomePage to redirect to if xredirect parameter is not set
encryptionalgorithmYes??Set the Encryption Algorithm used to encrypt and decrypt cookies
encryptionmodeYes??Set the Encryption Mode used to encrypt and decrypt cookies
encryptionpaddingYes??Set the Encryption Padding used to encrypt and decrypt cookies
errorpageYesString/bin/loginerror/ XWiki/XWikiLoginPage to redirect to if there is an error logging in
loginpageYesString/bin/login/ XWiki/XWikiLoginPage to redirect to when not logged in
loginsubmitpageYesString/loginsubmit/ XWiki/XWikiLoginThe URL where the username and password are posted to when logging in.
logoutpageYesString/bin/logout/ XWiki/XWikiLogoutPage to redirect to after logged out
realmnameYesStringXWikiSets the realm name
protectionYesall, validation, encryption, noneallProtection level for the "remember me" cookie functionality
useipYestrue / falsetrueSpecify to use the IP address when encrypting the cookie data; if IP address changes will need to re-login.
  1. Only required if protection = encryption or all (default)
  2. Only required if protection = validation or all (default)


Starting with XWiki 11.6RC1 we provide some authentication strategies that are triggered if a user fails several time in a row to login.
You can configure those strategies and when they should be triggered in the Administration > Authentication page.

For more information see the Authencation Security Module documentation.

Kerberos SSO Authentication

This implementation of SSO is currently under review see: . The class which is described in this segment of documentation, AppServerTrustedKerberosAuthServiceImpl, is not part of the default XWiki distribution!

The following is an example of mod_auth_kerb for Apache being used to easily implement XWiki authentication of users via HTTP Negotiate on a linux server. This example assumes you already have a working Apache2 HTTPD and Apache Tomcat setup with mod_jk.

First of all you need to create a principal and keytab for the webserver:

# kadmin
kadmin> addprinc -randkey HTTP/
kadmin> ktadd -k /etc/apache2/ssl/wiki.keytab HTTP/
kadmin> quit

Make sure the keytab has the right permissions and ownership:

chown www-data:www-data /etc/apache2/ssl/wiki.keytab
chmod 400 /etc/apache2/ssl/wiki.keytab

Install mod_auth_kerb in your linux installation. On Debian or Ubuntu this would be achieved by running:

aptitude install libapache2-mod-auth-kerb

Of course the installation procedure varies per Linux distribution.

If your xwiki installation is mounted in Apache HTTPD under /xwiki, add the following to the virtual host configuration:

<Location "/xwiki">
  AuthType Kerberos
  AuthName "Kerberos Login"
  KrbAuthRealms EXAMPLE.COM
  Krb5Keytab "/etc/apache2/ssl/wiki.keytab"
  KrbMethodK5Passwd off
  KrbMethodNegotiate on
  KrbSaveCredentials on
  require valid-user

Make sure Apache Tomcat uses the authentication performed by Apache HTTPD with the "tomcatAuthentication" property in the connector description (which is in the server.xml file of Apache Tomcat):

<Connector port="8009" address="" enableLookups="false" tomcatAuthentication="false" redirectPort="8443" protocol="AJP/1.3" ></Connector>

Place the authkerb.jar jar in the WEB-INF/lib directory of XWiki in Apache Tomcat.

Have Xwiki use the authentication module by changing the "xwiki.authentication.authclass" property in the WEB-INF/lib/xwiki.cfg file.


If you use Firefox, do not forget to whitelist the xwiki URL for HTTP Negotiate in about:config with the "network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris" property. Possible values for this property include: https:// for all secured connections or for all subdomains.

When I used JBoss SPNEGO (Kerberos in combination with LDAP) I changed the code of the XWikiLDAPAuthServiceImpl to be able to detect the sso user. The authenication already happend by using the SPNEGO module (JAAS). After that I'm using the ldap synchronisation feature to make sure that the user is up to date. The combination leads to an automatic login in XWiki and the user rights are controlled in the Active Directory server. I hope you can adopt this code or that you can use it for your own projects.

The configuration of ldap:
#use a fixed user to attach to the ldap database,
#the password is not provided with the SSOLdapAuthenicationImpl
#Microsoft AD configuration
#LDAP group mapping

The java code:


import org.apache.commons.logging.Log;
import org.apache.commons.logging.LogFactory;

import com.xpn.xwiki.XWikiContext;
import com.xpn.xwiki.XWikiException;
import com.xpn.xwiki.user.api.XWikiUser;
import com.xpn.xwiki.user.impl.LDAP.XWikiLDAPAuthServiceImpl;


public class SSOLdapAuthenicationImpl extends XWikiLDAPAuthServiceImpl {
    * Logging tool.
    private static final Log LOG = LogFactory.getLog(SSOLdapAuthenicationImpl.class);

 public XWikiUser checkAuth(XWikiContext context) throws XWikiException {
  String user = getRemoteUser(context);
 if ((user != null) || !user.equals("")) {
  if (LOG.isInfoEnabled())"Launching create user for " + user);
  if ( authenticate(user, context) != null ) {
   if (LOG.isInfoEnabled())"Create user done for " + user);
    user = "XWiki." + user;
    System.out.println("User is set to:" + user);
   return new XWikiUser(user);
   } else {
    LOG.error( "User " + user + " can't be authenticated against ldap" );
 return super.checkAuth(context);

 * We cannot authenticate locally since we need to trust the app server for
 * authentication
 * @param username
 * @param password
 * @param context
 * @return
 * @throws XWikiException
 public XWikiUser checkAuth(String username, String password,
   String rememberme, XWikiContext context) throws XWikiException {
  String user = getRemoteUser(context);
 if ((user == null) || user.equals("")) {
  return super.checkAuth(username, password, rememberme, context);
 return checkAuth(context);

 private String getRemoteUser(XWikiContext context) {
  String userName = context.getRequest().getHttpServletRequest()
 if (userName != null) {
  // only take the front of the username@domain
   String[] elements = userName.split("@", 2);
   userName = elements[0];
 return userName;

    public Principal authenticate(String login, XWikiContext context) throws XWikiException
       if (LOG.isTraceEnabled()) {
            LOG.trace("Starting LDAP authentication");

        * TODO: Put the next 4 following "if" in common with XWikiAuthService to ensure coherence This method was
        * returning null on failure so I preserved that behaviour, while adding the exact error messages to the context
        * given as argument. However, the right way to do this would probably be to throw XWikiException-s.

       if (login == null) {
           // If we can't find the username field then we are probably on the login screen

           if (LOG.isDebugEnabled()) {
                LOG.debug("The provided user is null."
                   + " We don't try to authenticate, it probably means the user is in non logged mode.");

           return null;

       // Check for empty usernames
       if (login.equals("")) {
            context.put("message", "nousername");

           if (LOG.isDebugEnabled()) {
                LOG.debug("LDAP authentication failed: login empty");

           return null;

       // If we have the context then we are using direct mode
       // then we should specify the database
       // This is needed for virtual mode to work
        Principal principal = null;

       // Try authentication against ldap
        principal = ldapAuthenticate(login, "", context);

       if (LOG.isDebugEnabled()) {
           if (principal != null) {
                LOG.debug("LDAP authentication succeed with principal [" + principal.getName() + "]");
            } else {
                LOG.debug("LDAP authentication failed for user [" + login + "]");

       return principal;

Mail Templates

When logging in, you have the option of resetting your user's password if you forgot it, or to find your username based on your email address. When choosing these options, you'll be sent an email. It's possible to control the templates used for these emails and to customize them by editing the following pages in object mode:

  • XWiki.ResetPasswordMailContent
  • XWiki.ForgotUsernameMailContent

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