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9.6 | Instance administration | Delegating authentication

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Delegating authentication

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SonarQube comes with an onboard user database, as well as the ability to delegate authentication via HTTP Headers, GitHub Authentication, GitLab Authentication, SAML, or LDAP. Each method offers user identity management, group synchronization/mapping, and authentication.

Group mapping

When using group mapping, the following caveats apply regardless of which delegated authentication method is used:

  • Membership in synchronized groups will override any membership locally configured in SonarQube at each login
  • Membership in a group is synched only if a group with the same name exists in SonarQube
  • Membership in the default group sonar-users remains (this is a built-in group) even if the group does not exist in the identity provider

HTTP header authentication

You can delegate user authentication to third-party systems (proxies/servers) using HTTP Header Authentication. See the SSO AUTHENTICATION section within file.

When this feature is activated, SonarQube expects that the authentication is handled prior to any query reaching the server. The tool that handles the authentication should:

  • Intercept calls to the SonarQube server
  • Take care of the authentication
  • Update the HTTP request header with the relevant SonarQube user information
  • Re-route the request to SonarQube with the appropriate header information

All the parameters required to activate and configure this feature are available in SonarQube server configuration file (in <SONARQUBE_HOME>/conf/

Using HTTP header authentication is an easy way to integrate your SonarQube deployment with an in-house SSO implementation.

GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket Cloud authentication

You can delegate authentication to GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket Cloud. See the corresponding DevOps Platform integration page for more information:

SAML authentication

You can delegate authentication to a SAML 2.0 Identity Provider using SAML Authentication.

Example: Using Keycloak as a SAML identity provider

The following example may be useful if you're using Keycloak as a SAML identity provider. If you're not using Keycloak, your settings are likely to be different.

In the Keycloak server, create a new SAML client

Create a new client

  1. Client ID: Something like "sonarqube", it must not contain whitespace.
  2. Client Protocolsaml
  3. Client SAML Endpoint: Can be left empty

Configure the new client

  1. Under Settings
    1. Client Signature Required: ON only if the signature of the requests will be active on the SonarQube SAML configuration.
    2. Encrypt Assertions: ON if the responses from the IdP have to be encrypted.
    3. Valid Redirect URIs: "/oauth2/callback/saml" (e.g.,
  2. Under Keys
    1. (Optional) Signing Key: Add the service provider private key and the certificate if the signature of the requests is enabled on the SonarQube side (Keycloak generated keys can be used). This private key will have to be provided in PKCS8 format in SonarQube.
    2. (Optional) Encryption Key: Add the service provider certificate if you want to activate the encryption of Keycloak responses. If request signature is used, you must use the same certificate for the encryption.
  3. In Client Scopes > Default Client Scopes, remove "role_list" from "Assigned Default Client Scopes" (to prevent the error com.onelogin.saml2.exception.ValidationError: Found an Attribute element with duplicated Name during authentication)
  4. Under Mappers, create a mapper for each user attribute:
    1. Create a mapper for the login:
      1. Name: "Login"
      2. Mapper TypeUser Property
      3. Property: "Username" (note that the login should not contain any special characters other than .-_@ to meet SonarQube restrictions)
      4. SAML Attribute Name: "login"
    2. Create a mapper for the name:
      1. Name: "Name"
      2. Mapper TypeUser Property
      3. Property: "Username" (it can also be another attribute you would previously have specified for the users)
      4. SAML Attribute Name: "name"
    3. (Optional) Create a mapper for the email:
      1. Name: "Email"
      2. Mapper TypeUser Property
      3. Property: "Email"
      4. SAML Attribute Name: "email"
    4. (Optional) Create a mapper for the groups (if you rely on a list of roles defined in "Roles" of the Realm , not in "Roles" of the client):
      1. Name: "Groups"
      2. Mapper TypeRole list
      3. Role Attribute Name: "groups"
      4. Single Role AttributeON
    5. If you rely on a list of groups defined in "Groups":
      1. Name: "Groups"
      2. Mapper TypeGroup list
      3. Role Attribute Name: "groups"
      4. Single Role AttributeON
      5. Full Group PathOFF
  5. In Realm Settings > General > Endpoints, click on "SAML 2.0 Identify Provider Metadata" to obtain the XML configuration file from Keycloak.
In SonarQube, configure SAML authentication

Go to Administration > Configuration > General Settings > Security > SAML

  • Enabledtrue
  • Application ID: The value of the "Client ID" you set in Keycloak (for example "sonarqube")
  • Provider ID: The value of the EntityDescriptor > entityID attribute in the XML configuration file (e.g., "http://keycloak:8080/auth/realms/sonarqube")
  • SAML login url: The value of SingleSignOnService > Location attribute in the XML configuration file (e.g., "http://keycloak:8080/auth/realms/sonarqube/protocol/saml")
  • Identity provider certificate: The value you get from Realm Settings > Keys > RS256; click on the Certificate button
  • SAML user login attribute: "login" (or whatever you configured above when doing the mapping)
  • SAML user name attribute: "name" (or whatever you configured above when doing the mapping)
  • (Optional) SAML user email attribute: "email" (or whatever you configured above when doing the mapping)
  • (Optional) SAML group attribute "groups" (or whatever you configured above when doing the mapping)
  • Sign requests: Set to true to activate the signature of the SAML requests. It needs both the service provider private key and certificate to be set.
  • Service provider private key: The service provider private key shared with the identity provider. This key is required for both request signature and response encryption, which can be activated individually. The key should be provided for SonarQube in PKCS8 format without password protection.
  • Service provider certificate: The service provider certificate shared with the identity provider in order to activate the requests signature.

You can find here some instructions to convert different key formats.

In the login form, the new button "Log in with SAML" allows users to connect with their SAML account.

SAML and reverse proxy configuration

When using SAML, make sure your reverse proxy is properly configured. See Operating the Server for more information.

LDAP Authentication

You can configure SonarQube authentication and authorization to an LDAP server (including LDAP Service of Active Directory) by configuring the correct values in <SONARQUBE_HOME>/conf/

The main features are:

  • Password checking against the external authentication engine.
  • Automatic synchronization of usernames and emails.
  • Automatic synchronization of relationships between users and groups (authorization).
  • Ability to authenticate against both the external and the internal authentication systems. There is an automatic fallback on SonarQube internal system if the LDAP server is down.
  • During the first authentication trial, if the user's password is correct, the SonarQube database is automatically populated with the new user. Each time a user logs into SonarQube, the username, the email and the groups this user belongs to that are refreshed in the SonarQube database. You can choose to have group membership synchronized as well, but this is not the default.
Apache DSOpenLDAPOpen DSActive Directory

 Y = successfully tested


  • Configure LDAP by editing <SONARQUBE_HOME>/conf/ (see table below).
  • Restart the SonarQube server and check the log file for:
INFO org.sonar.INFO Security realm: LDAP ...
INFO o.s.p.l.LdapContextFactory Test LDAP connection: OK
  • Log into SonarQube
  • On logout users will be presented a login page (/sessions/login), where they can choose to login as technical user or a domain user by passing appropriate credentials

From SonarScanners, we recommend using local technical users for authentication against SonarQube Server.

General configuration

PropertyDescriptionDefault valueRequiredExample this to LDAP authenticate first against the external sytem. If the external system is not reachable or if the user is not defined in the external system, authentication will be performed against SonarQube's internal database.noneYesLDAP (only possible value)
sonar.authenticator.downcaseSet to true when connecting to a LDAP server using a case-insensitive setup.falseNo
ldap.urlURL of the LDAP server. If you are using ldaps, you should install the server certificate into the Java truststore.noneYesldap://localhost:10389
ldap.bindDnThe username of an LDAP user to connect (or bind) with. Leave this blank for anonymous access to the LDAP directory.noneNocn=sonar,ou=users,o=mycompany
ldap.bindPasswordThe password of the user to connect with. Leave this blank for anonymous access to the LDAP directory.noneNosecret
ldap.authenticationPossible values: simpleCRAM-MD5DIGEST-MD5GSSAPI. See the tutorial on authentication mechanismssimpleNo
ldap.realmSee Digest-MD5 AuthenticationCRAM-MD5
ldap.contextFactoryClassContext factory
ldap.StartTLSEnable use of StartTLSfalseNo
ldap.followReferralsFollow referrals or not. See Referrals in the JNDItrue

User mapping

PropertyDescriptionDefault valueRequiredExample for Active Directory
ldap.user.baseDnDistinguished Name (DN) of the root node in LDAP from which to search for users.NoneYescn=users,dc=example,dc=org
ldap.user.requestLDAP user request.(&(objectClass=inetOrgPerson)(uid={login}))No(&(objectClass=user)(sAMAccountName={login}))
ldap.user.realNameAttributeAttribute in LDAP defining the user’s real name.cnNo
ldap.user.emailAttributeAttribute in LDAP defining the user’s email.mailNo

Group Mapping Only groups (not roles) and static groups (not dynamic groups) are supported. Click here for more information.

For the delegation of authorization, groups must be first defined in SonarQube. Then, the following properties must be defined to allow SonarQube to automatically synchronize the relationships between users and groups.

PropertyDescriptionDefault valueRequiredExample for Active Directory Name (DN) of the root node in LDAP from which to search for groups.noneNocn=groups,dc=example,dc=org group request.(&(objectClass=groupOfUniqueNames)(uniqueMember={dn}))No(&(objectClass=group)(member={dn})) used to specifiy the attribute to be used for returning the list of user groups in the compatibility mode.cnNosAMAccountName

Sample configuration

# LDAP configuration
# General Configuration
# User Configuration
# Group Configuration,dc=sonarsource,dc=com{uid}))

Advanced LDAP Topics

Authentication methods

  • Anonymous - Used when only read-only access to non-protected entries and attributes is needed when binding to the LDAP server.
  • Simple Simple authentication is not recommended for production deployments not using the ldaps secure protocol since it sends a cleartext password over the network.
  • CRAM-MD5 - The Challenge-Response Authentication Method (CRAM) based on the HMAC-MD5 MAC algorithm (RFC 2195).
  • DIGEST-MD5 - This is an improvement on the CRAM-MD5 authentication method (RFC 2831).
  • GSSAPI - GSS-API is Generic Security Service API (RFC 2744). One of the most popular security services available for GSS-API is the Kerberos v5, used in Microsoft's Windows 2000 platform.

For a full discussion of LDAP authentication approaches, see RFC 2829 and RFC 2251.

Multiple servers

To configure multiple servers:

# List the different servers
# Configure server1
# Configure server2

Authentication will be tried on each server, in the order that they are listed in the configuration until one succeeds. User/group mapping will be performed against the first server on which the user is found.

Note that all the LDAP servers must be available while (re)starting the SonarQube server.

Migrate users to a new authentication method

If you are changing your delegated authentication method and migrating existing users from your previous authentication method, you can use the api/users/update_identity_provider web API to update your users' identity provider.


  • Detailed connection logs (and potential error codes received from LDAP server) are output to SonarQube's <SONARQUBE_HOME>/logs/web.log when logging is in DEBUG mode.
  • Time out when running SonarQube analysis using LDAP Java parameters are documented here: Such parameters can be set in sonar.web.javaAdditionalOpts in <SONARQUBE_HOME>/conf/

Revoking tokens for deactivated users

When SonarQube authentication is delegated to an external identity provider (LDAP, SAML, GitHub, or GitLab), deactivating a user on the identity provider side does not remove any tokens associated with the user on the SonarQube side. We recommend deactivating the user in SonarQube at Administration > Security > Users by selecting Deactivate from the gear drop-down menu to ensure tokens associated with that user can no longer be used.

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