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NATS Server Authentication

You can enable authentication on the NATS server so that a client must authenticate its identity when connecting. The NATS server supports single user authentication via the command line or using a configuration file, and multi-user authentication via a configuration file. Single user authentication is truly single user. The server will accept one set of credentials and no other.

Command Line Options

You can start the NATS server with single-user authentication enabled by passing in the required credentials on the command line. The following server authentication options are supported on the command line:

--user user         User required for connections
--pass password     Password required for connections
--auth token        Authorization token required for connections

Token is mutually exclusive from user and password, so only use one of those.

For example:

gnatsd -DV --user foo --pass bar

will allow the user foo to log in with the password bar, but no other users to access the server.

Using the command line with an authorization token:

gnatsd -DV -auth 'S3Cr3T0k3n!'

will allow clients with that token to connect, and no others.

Single User Configuration Options

Single-user authentication can be configured in the configuration file:

authorization {
  user:     derek
  password: T0pS3cr3t
  timeout:  1

If the server is part of a cluster, you can set up single-user authentication for route connections as well:

cluster {
  authorization {
    user: route_user
    password: T0pS3cr3tT00!
    timeout: 0.5

Both of these configurations set a user and password as well as a connect timeout. The auth option can also be set to use tokens instead of user/password.

Multi-User Authentication

Multi-user Authentication can only be set up in the configuration file. Users are defined in a list with user/password pairs.

For example, to define two users alice and bob:

authorization {
  users = [
    {user: alice, password: foo}
    {user: bob,   password: bar}

You can also use variables to set user and password values. For example, here a password is declared as a variable named PASS and assigned to Joe.

authorization {
  PASS: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789
  users = [
    {user: alice, password: foo}
    {user: bob,   password: bar}
    {user: joe,   password: $PASS}

The gnatsd source code includes a tool that can be used to bcrypt passwords for the config file:

> go run mkpasswd.go -p
> password: password
> bcrypt hash: $2a$11$1oJy/wZYNTxr9jNwMNwS3eUGhBpHT3On8CL9o7ey89mpgo88VG6ba

This allows you to store hashed passwords instead of plain text ones.

Client connection string

To connect to the server as an authenticated client, you can pass in the credentials in the connection string.

For example, user ‘foo’ with password ‘bar’:


Using token ‘S3Cr3T0k3n!’


or use other methods discussed in the developer doc.