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Version 6.0.51, Mar 9 2017
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Apache Tomcat Configuration Reference

The Realm Component

Table of Contents
Introduction

A Realm element represents a "database" of usernames, passwords, and roles (similar to Unix groups) assigned to those users. Different implementations of Realm allow Catalina to be integrated into environments where such authentication information is already being created and maintained, and then utilize that information to implement Container Managed Security as described in the Servlet Specification.

You may nest a Realm inside any Catalina container Engine, Host, or Context). In addition, Realms associated with an Engine or a Host are automatically inherited by lower-level containers, unless explicitly overridden.

For more in-depth information about container managed security in web applications, as well as more information on configuring and using the standard realm component implementations, please see the Container-Managed Security Guide.

The description below uses the variable name $CATALINA_BASE to refer the base directory against which most relative paths are resolved. If you have not configured Tomcat 6 for multiple instances by setting a CATALINA_BASE directory, then $CATALINA_BASE will be set to the value of $CATALINA_HOME, the directory into which you have installed Tomcat 6.

Attributes
Common Attributes

All implementations of Realm support the following attributes:

AttributeDescription
className

Java class name of the implementation to use. This class must implement the org.apache.catalina.Realm interface.

Unlike most Catalina components, there are several standard Realm implementations available. As a result, the className attribute MUST be used to select the implementation you wish to use.

JDBC Database Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.JDBCRealm

The JDBC Database Realm connects Catalina to a relational database, accessed through an appropriate JDBC driver, to perform lookups of usernames, passwords, and their associated roles. Because the lookup is done each time that it is required, changes to the database will be immediately reflected in the information used to authenticate new logins.

A rich set of additional attributes lets you configure the required connection to the underlying database, as well as the table and column names used to retrieve the required information:

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

When this attribute has the value of authOnly or strictAuthOnly, the roleNameCol and userRoleTable attributes become optional. If those two attributes are omitted, the user's roles will not be loaded by this Realm.

connectionName

The database username to use when establishing the JDBC connection.

connectionPassword

The database password to use when establishing the JDBC connection.

connectionURL

The connection URL to be passed to the JDBC driver when establishing a database connection.

digest

The name of the MessageDigest algorithm used to encode user passwords stored in the database. If not specified, user passwords are assumed to be stored in clear-text.

digestEncoding

The charset for encoding digests. If not specified, the platform default will be used.

driverName

Fully qualified Java class name of the JDBC driver to be used to connect to the authentication database.

roleNameCol

Name of the column, in the "user roles" table, which contains a role name assigned to the corresponding user.

This attribute is required in majority of configurations. See allRolesMode attribute for a rare case when it can be omitted.

userCredCol

Name of the column, in the "users" table, which contains the user's credentials (i.e. password(. If a value for the digest attribute is specified, this component will assume that the passwords have been encoded with the specified algorithm. Otherwise, they will be assumed to be in clear text.

userNameCol

Name of the column, in the "users" and "user roles" table, that contains the user's username.

userRoleTable

Name of the "user roles" table, which must contain columns named by the userNameCol and roleNameCol attributes.

This attribute is required in majority of configurations. See allRolesMode attribute for a rare case when it can be omitted.

userTable

Name of the "users" table, which must contain columns named by the userNameCol and userCredCol attributes.

X509UsernameRetrieverClassName

When using X509 client certificates, this specifies the class name that will be used to retrieve the user name from the certificate. The class must implement the org.apache.catalina.realm.X509UsernameRetriever interface. The default is to use the certificate's SubjectDN as the username.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the JDBC Database Realm component.

DataSource Database Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.DataSourceRealm

The DataSource Database Realm connects Catalina to a relational database, accessed through a JNDI named JDBC DataSource to perform lookups of usernames, passwords, and their associated roles. Because the lookup is done each time that it is required, changes to the database will be immediately reflected in the information used to authenticate new logins.

The JDBC Realm uses a single db connection. This requires that realm based authentication be synchronized, i.e. only one authentication can be done at a time. This could be a bottleneck for applications with high volumes of realm based authentications.

The DataSource Database Realm supports simultaneous realm based authentications and allows the underlying JDBC DataSource to handle optimizations like database connection pooling.

A rich set of additional attributes lets you configure the name of the JNDI JDBC DataSource, as well as the table and column names used to retrieve the required information:

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

When this attribute has the value of authOnly or strictAuthOnly, the roleNameCol and userRoleTable attributes become optional. If those two attributes are omitted, the user's roles will not be loaded by this Realm.

dataSourceName

The name of the JNDI JDBC DataSource for this Realm.

digest

The name of the MessageDigest algorithm used to encode user passwords stored in the database. If not specified, user passwords are assumed to be stored in clear-text.

localDataSource

When the realm is nested inside a Context element, this allows the realm to use a DataSource defined for the Context rather than a global DataSource. If not specified, the default is false: use a global DataSource.

roleNameCol

Name of the column, in the "user roles" table, which contains a role name assigned to the corresponding user.

This attribute is required in majority of configurations. See allRolesMode attribute for a rare case when it can be omitted.

userCredCol

Name of the column, in the "users" table, which contains the user's credentials (i.e. password(. If a value for the digest attribute is specified, this component will assume that the passwords have been encoded with the specified algorithm. Otherwise, they will be assumed to be in clear text.

userNameCol

Name of the column, in the "users" and "user roles" table, that contains the user's username.

userRoleTable

Name of the "user roles" table, which must contain columns named by the userNameCol and roleNameCol attributes.

This attribute is required in majority of configurations. See allRolesMode attribute for a rare case when it can be omitted.

userTable

Name of the "users" table, which must contain columns named by the userNameCol and userCredCol attributes.

X509UsernameRetrieverClassName

When using X509 client certificates, this specifies the class name that will be used to retrieve the user name from the certificate. The class must implement the org.apache.catalina.realm.X509UsernameRetriever interface. The default is to use the certificate's SubjectDN as the username.

See the DataSource Realm HOW-TO for more information on setting up container managed security using the DataSource Database Realm component.

JNDI Directory Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.JNDIRealm

The JNDI Directory Realm connects Catalina to an LDAP Directory, accessed through an appropriate JNDI driver, that stores usernames, passwords, and their associated roles. Changes to the directory are immediately reflected in the information used to authenticate new logins.

The directory realm supports a variety of approaches to using LDAP for authentication:

  • The realm can either use a pattern to determine the distinguished name (DN) of the user's directory entry, or search the directory to locate that entry.
  • The realm can authenticate the user either by binding to the directory with the DN of the user's entry and the password presented by the user, or by retrieving the password from the user's entry and performing a comparison locally.
  • Roles may be represented in the directory as explicit entries found by a directory search (e.g. group entries of which the user is a member), as the values of an attribute in the user's entry, or both.

A rich set of additional attributes lets you configure the required behaviour as well as the connection to the underlying directory and the element and attribute names used to retrieve information from the directory:

AttributeDescription
adCompat

Microsoft Active Directory often returns referrals. When iterating over NamingEnumerations these lead to PartialResultExceptions. If you want us to ignore those exceptions, set this attribute to "true". Unfortunately there's no stable way to detect, if the Exceptions really come from an AD referral. The default value is "false".

allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

alternateURL

If a socket connection can not be made to the provider at the connectionURL an attempt will be made to use the alternateURL.

authentication

A string specifying the type of authentication to use. "none", "simple", "strong" or a provider specific definition can be used. If no value is given the providers default is used.

commonRole

A role name assigned to each successfully authenticated user in addition to the roles retrieved from LDAP. If not specified, only the roles retrieved via LDAP are used.

connectionName

The directory username to use when establishing a connection to the directory for LDAP search operations. If not specified an anonymous connection is made, which is often sufficient unless you specify the userPassword property.

connectionPassword

The directory password to use when establishing a connection to the directory for LDAP search operations. If not specified an anonymous connection is made, which is often sufficient unless you specify the userPassword property.

connectionTimeout

The timeout in milliseconds to use when establishing the connection to the LDAP directory. If not specified, a value of 5000 (5 seconds) is used.

connectionURL

The connection URL to be passed to the JNDI driver when establishing a connection to the directory.

contextFactory

Fully qualified Java class name of the factory class used to acquire our JNDI InitialContext. By default, assumes that the standard JNDI LDAP provider will be utilized.

derefAliases

A string specifying how aliases are to be dereferenced during search operations. The allowed values are "always", "never", "finding" and "searching". If not specified, "always" is used.

digest

The digest algorithm to apply to the plaintext password offered by the user before comparing it with the value retrieved from the directory. Valid values are those accepted for the algorithm name by the java.security.MessageDigest class. If not specified the plaintext password is assumed to be retrieved. Not required unless userPassword is specified

protocol

A string specifying the security protocol to use. If not given the providers default is used.

referrals

How do we handle JNDI referrals? Allowed values are "ignore", "follow", or "throw" (see javax.naming.Context.REFERRAL for more information). Microsoft Active Directory often returns referrals. If you need to follow them set referrals to "follow". Caution: if your DNS is not part of AD, the LDAP client lib might try to resolve your domain name in DNS to find another LDAP server.

roleBase

The base directory entry for performing role searches. If not specified the top-level element in the directory context will be used.

roleName

The name of the attribute that contains role names in the directory entries found by a role search. In addition you can use the userRoleName property to specify the name of an attribute, in the user's entry, containing additional role names. If roleName is not specified a role search does not take place, and roles are taken only from the user's entry.

roleSearch

The LDAP filter expression used for performing role searches. Use {0} to substitute the distinguished name (DN) of the user, and/or {1} to substitute the username. If not specified a role search does not take place and roles are taken only from the attribute in the user's entry specified by the userRoleName property.

roleSubtree

Set to true if you want to search the entire subtree of the element specified by the roleBase property for role entries associated with the user. The default value of false causes only the top level to be searched.

userBase

The base element for user searches performed using the userSearch expression. Not used if you are using the userPattern expression.

userPassword

Name of the attribute in the user's entry containing the user's password. If you specify this value, JNDIRealm will bind to the directory using the values specified by connectionName and connectionPassword properties, and retrieve the corresponding attribute for comparison to the value specified by the user being authenticated. If you do not specify this value, JNDIRealm will attempt a simple bind to the directory using the DN of the user's entry and the password presented by the user, with a successful bind being interpreted as an authenticated user.

userPattern

Pattern for the distinguished name (DN) of the user's directory entry, with {0} marking where the actual username should be inserted. You can use this property instead of userSearch, userSubtree and userBase when the distinguished name contains the username and is otherwise the same for all users.

userRoleName

The name of an attribute in the user's directory entry containing zero or more values for the names of roles assigned to this user. In addition you can use the roleName property to specify the name of an attribute to be retrieved from individual role entries found by searching the directory. If userRoleName is not specified all the roles for a user derive from the role search.

userSearch

The LDAP filter expression to use when searching for a user's directory entry, with {0} marking where the actual username should be inserted. Use this property (along with the userBase and userSubtree properties) instead of userPattern to search the directory for the user's entry.

userSubtree

Set to true if you want to search the entire subtree of the element specified by the userBase property for the user's entry. The default value of false causes only the top level to be searched. Not used if you are using the userPattern expression.

X509UsernameRetrieverClassName

When using X509 client certificates, this specifies the class name that will be used to retrieve the user name from the certificate. The class must implement the org.apache.catalina.realm.X509UsernameRetriever interface. The default is to use the certificate's SubjectDN as the username.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the JNDI Directory Realm component.

UserDatabase Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.UserDatabaseRealm

The UserDatabase Realm is a Realm implementation that is based on a UserDatabase resource made available through the global JNDI resources configured for this Tomcat instance.

The UserDatabase Realm implementation supports the following additional attributes:

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

resourceName

The name of the global UserDatabase resource that this realm will use for user, password and role information.

X509UsernameRetrieverClassName

When using X509 client certificates, this specifies the class name that will be used to retrieve the user name from the certificate. The class must implement the org.apache.catalina.realm.X509UsernameRetriever interface. The default is to use the certificate's SubjectDN as the username.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the UserDatabase Realm component and the JNDI resources how-to for more information on how to configure a UserDatabase resource.

Memory Based Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.MemoryRealm

The Memory Based Realm is a simple Realm implementation that reads user information from an XML format, and represents it as a collection of Java objects in memory. This implementation is intended solely to get up and running with container managed security - it is NOT intended for production use. As such, there are no mechanisms for updating the in-memory collection of users when the content of the underlying data file is changed.

The Memory Based Realm implementation supports the following additional attributes:

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

digest

The digest algorithm used to store passwords in non-plaintext formats. Valid values are those accepted for the algorithm name by the java.security.MessageDigest class. If not specified, passwords are stored in clear text.

pathname

Absolute or relative (to $CATALINA_BASE) pathname to the XML file containing our user information. See below for details on the XML element format required. If no pathname is specified, the default value is conf/tomcat-users.xml.

X509UsernameRetrieverClassName

When using X509 client certificates, this specifies the class name that will be used to retrieve the user name from the certificate. The class must implement the org.apache.catalina.realm.X509UsernameRetriever interface. The default is to use the certificate's SubjectDN as the username.

The XML document referenced by the pathname attribute must conform to the following requirements:

  • The root (outer) element must be <tomcat-users>.
  • Each authorized user must be represented by a single XML element <user>, nested inside the root element.
  • Each <user> element must have the following attributes:
    • username - Username of this user (must be unique within this file).
      For compatibility, it is allowed to use name as an alternative name for this attribute.
    • password - Password of this user (in clear text).
    • roles - Comma-delimited list of the role names assigned to this user.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the Memory Based Realm component.

JAAS Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.JAASRealm

JAASRealm is an implementation of the Tomcat 6 Realm interface that authenticates users through the Java Authentication & Authorization Service (JAAS) framework which is now provided as part of the standard J2SE API.

Using JAASRealm gives the developer the ability to combine practically any conceivable security realm with Tomcat's CMA.

JAASRealm is prototype for Tomcat of the JAAS-based J2EE authentication framework for J2EE v1.4, based on the JCP Specification Request 196 to enhance container-managed security and promote 'pluggable' authentication mechanisms whose implementations would be container-independent.

Based on the JAAS login module and principal (see javax.security.auth.spi.LoginModule and javax.security.Principal), you can develop your own security mechanism or wrap another third-party mechanism for integration with the CMA as implemented by Tomcat.

The JAAS Realm implementation supports the following additional attributes:

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

appName

The name of the application as configured in your login configuration file (JAAS LoginConfig).

userClassNames

A comma-separated list of the names of the classes that you have made for your user Principals.

roleClassNames

A comma-separated list of the names of the classes that you have made for your role Principals.

useContextClassLoader

Instructs JAASRealm to use the context class loader for loading the user-specified LoginModule class and associated Principal classes. The default value is true, which is backwards-compatible with the way Tomcat 5 works. To load classes using the container's classloader, specify false.

X509UsernameRetrieverClassName

When using X509 client certificates, this specifies the class name that will be used to retrieve the user name from the certificate. The class must implement the org.apache.catalina.realm.X509UsernameRetriever interface. The default is to use the certificate's SubjectDN as the username.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the JAAS Realm component.

Combined Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.CombinedRealm

CombinedRealm is an implementation of the Tomcat 6 Realm interface that authenticates users through one or more sub-Realms.

Using CombinedRealm gives the developer the ability to combine multiple Realms of the same or different types. This can be used to authenticate against different sources, provide fall back in case one Realm fails or for any other purpose that requires multiple Realms.

Sub-realms are defined by nesting Realm elements inside the Realm element that defines the CombinedRealm. Authentication will be attempted against each Realm in the order they are listed. Authentication against any Realm will be sufficient to authenticate the user.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the CombinedRealm component.

The CombinedRealm implementation supports the following additional attributes.

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

LockOut Realm - org.apache.catalina.realm.LockOutRealm

LockOutRealm is an implementation of the Tomcat 6 Realm interface that extends the CombinedRealm to provide lock out functionality to provide a user lock out mechanism if there are too many failed authentication attempts in a given period of time.

To ensure correct operation, there is a reasonable degree of synchronization in this Realm.

This Realm does not require modification to the underlying Realms or the associated user storage mechanisms. It achieves this by recording all failed logins, including those for users that do not exist. To prevent a DOS by deliberating making requests with invalid users (and hence causing this cache to grow) the size of the list of users that have failed authentication is limited.

Sub-realms are defined by nesting Realm elements inside the Realm element that defines the LockOutRealm. Authentication will be attempted against each Realm in the order they are listed. Authentication against any Realm will be sufficient to authenticate the user.

The LockOutRealm implementation supports the following additional attributes.

AttributeDescription
allRolesMode

This attribute controls how the special role name * is handled when processing authorization constraints in web.xml. By default, the specification compliant value of strict is used which means that the user must be assigned one of the roles defined in web.xml. The alternative values are authOnly which means that the user must be authenticated but no check is made for assigned roles and strictAuthOnly which means that the user must be authenticated and no check will be made for assigned roles unless roles are defined in web.xml in which case the user must be assigned at least one of those roles.

cacheRemovalWarningTime

If a failed user is removed from the cache because the cache is too big before it has been in the cache for at least this period of time (in seconds) a warning message will be logged. Defaults to 3600 (1 hour).

cacheSize

Number of users that have failed authentication to keep in cache. Over time the cache will grow to this size and may not shrink. Defaults to 1000.

failureCount

The number of times in a row a user has to fail authentication to be locked out. Defaults to 5.

lockOutTime

The time (in seconds) a user is locked out for after too many authentication failures. Defaults to 300 (5 minutes). Further authentication failures during the lock out time will cause the lock out timer to reset to zero, effectively extending the lock out time. Valid authentication attempts during the lock out period will not succeed but will also not reset the lock out time.

See the Container-Managed Security Guide for more information on setting up container managed security using the LockOutRealm component.

Nested Components

CombinedRealm Implementation

If you are using the CombinedRealm Implementation or a Realm that extends the CombinedRealm, e.g. the LockOutRealm, <Realm> elements may be nested inside it.

Other Realm Implementations

No other Realm implementation supports nested components.

Special Features

See Single Sign On for information about configuring Single Sign On support for a virtual host.


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