Version: 7.x-45.0.0
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Configuring the Internal Users Database

Hint: You can also use the Kibana Confguration GUI for configuring the Internal Users Database.

Search Guard ships with an internal user database. You can use this user database if you do not have any external authentication system like LDAP or Active Directory in place. Users, their hashed passwords and roles are stored in the internal Search Guard configuration index on your cluster.

Internal users are configured in sg_internal_users.yml. You can find a template in <ES installation directory>/plugins/search-guard-7/sgconfig/sg_internal_users.yml


  type: "internalusers"
  config_version: 2
  hash: <hashed password>
    - <rolename>
    - <rolename>
    - <backend rolename>
    - <backend rolename>
    key: value
    key: value
  description: <String>


Name Description
username The name of the user. Can be used to map the user to Search Guard roles.
password The BCrypt hash of the user’s password.
search_guard_roles The Search Guard roles. this user is assigned to.
backend_roles The backend roles of the user. Backend roles can be used to group users and them map the groups to Search Guard roles. This provides morre flexibility than using Search Guard roles directly, but introduces a level on indirection.
attributes Any additional attributes of the user. Can be used for variable substitution in index names and DLS queries
description A description of the user. Optional.


  type: "internalusers"
  config_version: 2
  hash: $2a$12$7QIoVBGdO41qSCNoecU3L.yyXb9vGrCvEtVlpnC4oWLt/q0AsAN52
    - kibanauser
    - humanresources_department
    manager: "layne.burton"
  description: "A user from the HR department"
  - hash: ...

Generating hashed passwords

The password is a BCrypt hash of the cleartext password. You can use the script that is shipped with Search Guard to generate them:

plugins/search-guard-7/tools/ -p mycleartextpassword

You can also use any offline or online tool that is able to produce BCrypt hashes, like the

Activating the internal user database

In order to use the internal user database for authentication, set the authentication_backend in sg_config.yml to internal. For example, if you want to use HTTP Basic Authentication and the internal user database, the configuration looks like:

  http_enabled: true
  order: 1
    type: basic
    challenge: true
    type: internal


You can also use the internal user database for authorization only. This is useful when your primary way of authentication does not provide any role information.

For example, you can use LDAP or JWT for authentication, and the internal user database for authorization/assigning roles.

Search Guard will use the name of the authenticated user to look up the corresponding entry in the internal user database. If found, the configures roles will be assigned as backend roles to this user.

If you use the internal user database for authorization only, there is no need to set a password hash. The entries are solely used for assigning backend roles.


    http_enabled: true
      type: internal

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