Version 29.1 by jek on 2009/06/28
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User Authentication

XWiki supports several different authentication mechanisms for authenticating users:

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The form authentication is the default mechanism.

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

Form Authentication


LDAP Authentication

New LDAP implementation since XWiki Platform 1.3M2, see previous LDAP authentication service documentation

Generic LDAP configuration

In order to enable the LDAP support you have to change the authentication method in WEB-INF/xwiki.cfg as follows:

## Turn LDAP authentication on - otherwise only XWiki authentication
## 0 : disable
## 1 : enable

## set LDAP as authentication service

You can setup the LDAP configuration in the xwiki.cfg file by filling the following properties:

## LDAP Server (Active Directory, eDirectory, OpenLDAP, etc.)

## LDAP login, empty = anonymous access, otherwise specify full dn
## {0} is replaced with the username, {1} with the password

## Force to check password after LDAP connection
## 0: disable
## 1: enable

## only members of the following group will be verified in the LDAP
## otherwise only users that are found after searching starting from the base_DN

## only users not member of the following group can autheticate

## base DN for searches

## specifies the LDAP attribute containing the identifier to be used as the XWiki name (default=cn)

## retrieve the following fields from LDAP and store them in the XWiki user object (xwiki-attribute=ldap-attribute)

# on every login update the mapped attributes from LDAP to XWiki otherwise this happens only once when the XWiki account is created.

## maps XWiki groups to LDAP groups, separator is "|"

## time in seconds after which the list of members in a group is refreshed from LDAP (default=3600*6)

## - create : synchronize group membership only when the user is first created
## - always: synchronize on every login

## if ldap authentication fails for any reason, try XWiki DB authentication with the same credentials

## SSL connection to LDAP server
## 0 : normal
## 1 : SSL

## The keystore file to use in SSL connection

You can also setup the LDAP configuration in XWiki.XWikiPreferences page by going to the object editor. Simply replace "xwiki.authentication.ldap." by "ldap_". For example xwiki.authentication.ldap.base_DN become ldap_base_DN

LDAP Configuration for Active Directory

Here are values of the properties you need to set if your LDAP server implementation is Miscrosoft Active Directory:

  • ldap_server: name/IP of AD server machine
  • ldap_port: port (e.g. 389)
  • ldap_base_DN: name of root DN (e.g. dc=ad,dc=company,dc=com)
  • ldap_bind_DN: domain{0} (e.g. ad{0} where {0} will be replaced by username during validation)
  • ldap_bind_pass: {1} (where {1} will be replaced by password during validation)
  • ldap_UID_attr: sAMAccountName
  • ldap_fields_mapping: name=sAMAccountName,last_name=sn,first_name=givenName,fullname=displayName,mail=mail,ldap_dn=dn



The bind_DN and bind_pass fields contain the username and password for binding to the LDAP server in order to search, which will not necessarily be the same credentials as the user logging in.

The exact details of this configuration will vary based on your server configuration. It may not be necessary to prefix the username (represented by {0}) with the subdomain.

For testing purposes, you may wish to omit the "ldap.fields_mapping" field, to test the authentication first, and then add it later to get the mappings right.

This java client, LDAP Browser/Editor is a handy tool for checking your configuration.

Detailed use cases

See LDAP configuration uses cases for some detailed use cases.

Enable LDAP debug log

See Logging. The specific targets for LDAP authentication are:

eXo Authentication

The eXo authentication is used automatically by adding/editing the xwiki.exo=1 property in WEB-INF/xwiki.cfg.

Custom Authentication

This allows plugging to any existing authentication mechanism such as SiteMinder, etc. To configure a custom authentication do the following:

  1. Implement the XWikiAuthService interface.
  2. Edit the WEB-INF/xwiki.cfg file and add a xwiki.authentication.authclass property pointing to your class. For example:
xwiki.authentication.authclass = com.acme.MyCustomAuthenticationService

Here's a tutorial on implementing a custom authentication class for authenticating against Oracle's SSO.

Note, that you also can implement own right management service by implementing XWikiRightService interface:

xwiki.authentication.rightsclass = com.acme.MyCustomRightsService

and Group Service by implementing XWikiGroupService:

xwiki.authentication.groupclass = com.acme.MyCustomGroupService

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

Authentication parameters

You can set each of these parameters by setting:

NameOptionalAllowed valuesDefault valueDescription
encryptionKeyNo(1)?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)?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/XWikiLogin?
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)

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 by 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" />

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 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 propperty include (without the quotes): "https://" for all secured connections or "" for all subdomains.

2 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 the 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;

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