Version: Search Guard 5 / This is an older version of Search Guard. Switch to Latest version

Map users, backend roles and hosts to Search Guard roles

Depending on your configuration, you can use the following data to assign a request to one or more Search Guard roles:

  • username
    • the name of the authenticated user.
  • backend roles
    • the roles fetched by the authorization backend(s), like LDAP, JWT or the internal user database.
  • hostname / IP
    • the hostname or IP the request originated from.
  • Common name
    • the DN of the client certificate sent with the request.

Backend roles and Search Guard roles

Backend roles are roles that Search Guard retrieves during the authentication and authorization process. These roles are then mapped to the roles Search Guard uses to define which permissions a given user or host possesses. The permissions themselves can be defined in sg_action_groups, and the Search Guard (not backend) roles are defined in sg_roles, while sg_roles_mapping defined the connection between particular users and specific roles.

Backend roles can come from:

  • An LDAP server configured in the authz section of sg_config.yml
  • Roles defined in sg_internal_users.yml for particular users
  • A JSON web token, if you’re using JWT authentication
  • HTTP headers, if you’re using Proxy authentication


Backend users, roles and hosts are mapped to Search Guard roles in the file sg_roles_mapping.yml.


<Search Guard role name>:
    - <username>
    - ...
    - <rolename>
    - ...
    - <hostname>
    - ...


    - janedoe
    - johndoe
    - management
    - operations
    - 'cn=ldaprole,ou=groups,dc=example,dc=com'
    - "*"

A request can be assigned to one or more Search Guard roles. If a request is mapped to more than one role, the permissions of these roles are combined.