Authentication Services

This creates an instance of Spring Security’s ProviderManager class, which needs to be configured with a list of one or more AuthenticationProvider instances. These can either be created using syntax elements provided by the namespace, or they can be standard bean definitions, marked for addition to the list using the authentication-provider element.


Every Spring Security application which uses the namespace must have include this element somewhere. It is responsible for registering the AuthenticationManager which provides authentication services to the application. All elements which create AuthenticationProvider instances should be children of this element.

<authentication-manager> Attributes

  • alias This attribute allows you to define an alias name for the internal instance for use in your own configuration.

  • erase-credentials If set to true, the AuthenticationManager will attempt to clear any credentials data in the returned Authentication object, once the user has been authenticated. Literally it maps to the eraseCredentialsAfterAuthentication property of the ProviderManager.

  • observation-registry-ref A reference to the ObservationRegistry used for the FilterChain and related components

  • id This attribute allows you to define an id for the internal instance for use in your own configuration. It is the same as the alias element, but provides a more consistent experience with elements that use the id attribute.

Child Elements of <authentication-manager>


Unless used with a ref attribute, this element is shorthand for configuring a DaoAuthenticationProvider. DaoAuthenticationProvider loads user information from a UserDetailsService and compares the username/password combination with the values supplied at login. The UserDetailsService instance can be defined either by using an available namespace element (jdbc-user-service or by using the user-service-ref attribute to point to a bean defined elsewhere in the application context).

Parent Elements of <authentication-provider>

<authentication-provider> Attributes

  • ref Defines a reference to a Spring bean that implements AuthenticationProvider.

If you have written your own AuthenticationProvider implementation (or want to configure one of Spring Security’s own implementations as a traditional bean for some reason, then you can use the following syntax to add it to the internal list of ProviderManager:

  <security:authentication-provider ref="myAuthenticationProvider" />
<bean id="myAuthenticationProvider" class="com.something.MyAuthenticationProvider"/>
  • user-service-ref A reference to a bean that implements UserDetailsService that may be created using the standard bean element or the custom user-service element.

Child Elements of <authentication-provider>


Causes creation of a JDBC-based UserDetailsService.

<jdbc-user-service> Attributes

  • authorities-by-username-query An SQL statement to query for a user’s granted authorities given a username.

The default is

select username, authority from authorities where username = ?
  • cache-ref Defines a reference to a cache for use with a UserDetailsService.

  • data-source-ref The bean ID of the DataSource which provides the required tables.

  • group-authorities-by-username-query An SQL statement to query user’s group authorities given a username. The default is

    select, g.group_name, ga.authority
    groups g, group_members gm, group_authorities ga
    gm.username = ? and = ga.group_id and = gm.group_id
  • id A bean identifier, used for referring to the bean elsewhere in the context.

  • role-prefix A non-empty string prefix that will be added to role strings loaded from persistent storage (default is "ROLE_"). Use the value "none" for no prefix in cases where the default is non-empty.

  • users-by-username-query An SQL statement to query a username, password, and enabled status given a username. The default is

    select username, password, enabled from users where username = ?


Authentication providers can optionally be configured to use a password encoder as described in the Password Storage. This will result in the bean being injected with the appropriate PasswordEncoder instance.

Parent Elements of <password-encoder>

<password-encoder> Attributes

  • hash Defines the hashing algorithm used on user passwords. We recommend strongly against using MD4, as it is a very weak hashing algorithm.

  • ref Defines a reference to a Spring bean that implements PasswordEncoder.


Creates an in-memory UserDetailsService from a properties file or a list of "user" child elements. Usernames are converted to lower-case internally to allow for case-insensitive lookups, so this should not be used if case-sensitivity is required.

<user-service> Attributes

  • id A bean identifier, used for referring to the bean elsewhere in the context.

  • properties The location of a Properties file where each line is in the format of


Child Elements of <user-service>


Represents a user in the application.

Parent Elements of <user>

<user> Attributes

  • authorities One of more authorities granted to the user. Separate authorities with a comma (but no space). For example, "ROLE_USER,ROLE_ADMINISTRATOR"

  • disabled Can be set to "true" to mark an account as disabled and unusable.

  • locked Can be set to "true" to mark an account as locked and unusable.

  • name The username assigned to the user.

  • password The password assigned to the user. This may be hashed if the corresponding authentication provider supports hashing (remember to set the "hash" attribute of the "user-service" element). This attribute be omitted in the case where the data will not be used for authentication, but only for accessing authorities. If omitted, the namespace will generate a random value, preventing its accidental use for authentication. Cannot be empty.