Authentication works in two ways:

  • with an account-name / password pair
  • with an authentication token

The initial authentication must occur with an accountname/password pair. This will generate an authentication token which is valid for a some time. Subsequent calls to secured routes can use this token. The token can be given as a normal http header or via a cookie header.

These settings apply only to the REST server.

docspell.server.auth {
  server-secret = "hex:caffee" # or "b64:Y2FmZmVlCg=="
  session-valid = "5 minutes"

The server-secret is used to sign the token. If multiple REST servers are deployed, all must share the same server secret. Otherwise tokens from one instance are not valid on another instance. The secret can be given as Base64 encoded string or in hex form. Use the prefix hex: and b64:, respectively. If no prefix is given, the UTF8 bytes of the string are used.

The session-valid determines how long a token is valid. This can be just some minutes, the web application obtains new ones periodically. So a rather short time is recommended.

OpenID Connect / OAuth2🔗

You can integrate Docspell into your SSO solution via OpenID Connect (OIDC). This requires to set up an OpenID Provider (OP) somewhere and to configure Docspell accordingly to act as the relying party.

You can define multiple OPs to use. For some examples, please see the default configuration.

The configuration of a provider highly depends on how it is setup. Here is an example for a setup using keycloak:

provider = {
  provider-id = "keycloak",
  client-id = "docspell",
  client-secret = "example-secret-439e-bf06-911e4cdd56a6",
  scope = "profile", # scope is required for OIDC
  authorize-url = "http://localhost:8080/auth/realms/home/protocol/openid-connect/auth",
  token-url = "http://localhost:8080/auth/realms/home/protocol/openid-connect/token",
  #User URL is not used when signature key is set.
  #user-url = "http://localhost:8080/auth/realms/home/protocol/openid-connect/userinfo",
  #logout-url = "http://localhost:8080/auth/realms/home/protocol/openid-connect/logout?redirect_uri=…"
  sign-key = "b64:MII…ZYL09vAwLn8EAcSkCAwEAAQ==",
  sig-algo = "RS512"

The provider-id is some identifier that is used in the URL to distinguish between possibly multiple providers. The client-id and client-secret define the two parameters required for a "confidential client". The different URLs are best explained at the keycloak docs. They are available for all OPs in some way. The user-url is not required, if the access token is already containing the necessary data. If not, then docspell performs another request to the user-url, which must be the user-info endpoint, to obtain the required user data.

The logout-url is optional. If specified the browser will be redirected to this url when a user logsout from Docspell. It should then logout the user from the authentication provider as well. If not given, the user is logged out from Docspell, but may still hold a SSO session. In this case a warning is rendered on the login screen. Note that this currently only applies if oidc-auto-redirect=true.

If the data is taken from the token directly and not via a request to the user-info endpoint, then the token must be validated using the given sign-key and sig-algo. These two values are then required to specify! However, if the user-info endpoint should be used, then leave the sign-key empty and specify the correct url in user-url. When specifying the sign-key use a prefix of b64: if it is Base64 encoded or hex: if it is hex encoded. Otherwise the unicode bytes are used, which is most probably not wanted for this setting.

Once the user is authenticated, docspell tries to setup an account and does some checks. For this it must get to the username and collective name somehow. How it does this, can be specified by the user-key and collective-key settings:

# The collective of the user is given in the access token as
# property `docspell_collective`.
collective-key = "lookup:docspell_collective",
# The username to use for the docspell account
user-key = "preferred_username"

The user-key is some string that is used to search the JSON response from the OP for an object with that key. The search happens recursively, so the field can be in a nested object. The found value is used as the user name. Keycloak transmits the preferred_username when asking for the profile scope. This can be used as the user name.

The collective name can be obtained by different ways. For example, you can instruct your OP (like keycloak) to provide a collective name in the token and/or user-info responses. If you do this, then use the lookup: prefix as in the example above. This instructs docspell to search for a value the same way as the user-key. You can also set a fixed collective, using fixed: prefix; in this case all users are in the same collective! A third option is to prefix it with account: - then the value that is looked up is interpreted as the full account name, like collective/user and the user-key setting is ignored. If you want to put each user in its own collective, you can just use the same value as in user-key, only prefixed with lookup:. In the example it would be lookup:preferred_username.

If you find that these methods do not suffice for your case, please open an issue.

Auto-redirect to the OIDC provider🔗

If there is only one single configured openid provider and this setting:

oidc-auto-redirect = true

Then the webui will redirect immediately to the login page of the oidc provider, skipping the login page for Docspell.

For logging out, you can specify a logout-url for the provider which is used to redirect the browser after logging out from Docspell.

Mixing OIDC and local accounts🔗

Local accounts and those created from an openid provider can live next to each other. There is only a caveat for accounts with same login name that may occur from local and openid providers. By default, docspell treats OIDC and local accounts always as different when logging in.

That means when a local user exists and the same account is trying to login via an openid provider, docspell fails the authentication attempt by default. It could be that these accounts belong to different persons in reality.

The other way around is the same: signing up an account that exists due to an OIDC login doesn't work, because the collective already exists. And obviously, logging in without a password doesn't work either :). Even if a password would exists for an account created by an OIDC flow, logging in with it doesn't work. It would allow to bypass the openid provider (which may not be desired)

This behavior can be changed by setting:

on-account-source-conflict = convert

in the config file (or environment variable). With this setting, accounts with same name are treated identical, independet where they came from. So you can login either locally or via the configured openid provider. Note that this also allows users to set a local password by themselves (which may not adhere to the password rules you can potentially define at an openid provider).