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Elasticsearch Authentication

Elasticsearch Authentication

Elasticsearch Authentication


In today’s digital landscape, data security is paramount. As organizations increasingly rely on Elasticsearch, a powerful open-source search and analytics engine, ensuring proper authentication and authorization becomes crucial. Elasticsearch provides a range of security measures to protect your data from unauthorized access. This article will explain the basics of Elasticsearch authentication.

It will cover the process of authentication and authorization, security measures, and user access control.

Authentication and Authorization in Elasticsearch

We’ll start with the first. Authentication verifies the identity of users or systems trying to access Elasticsearch, while authorization determines what actions they are allowed to perform once authenticated.

Authentication Methods

Elasticsearch supports various authentication methods, including:

  1. Basic Authentication: Users enter a username and password. Security subsystem checks the input against the Elasticsearch database.
  2. API Key Authentication: Users generate API keys. Elasticsearch uses them to authenticate requests.
  3. JSON Web Token (JWT) Authentication: Elasticsearch engine verifies the validity of JWT tokens issued by a trusted identity provider.


curl -u username:password http://localhost:9200/_search

In this example, basic authentication is used to access the Elasticsearch search API.


Once a user is authenticated, Elasticsearch security subsystem uses role-based access control (RBAC) to authorize their actions. RBAC allows you to define roles with specific permissions and assign users to those roles. Elasticsearch provides a set of built-in roles, such as superuser, admin, and user, each with predefined permissions.

Security Measures in Elasticsearch

The main configuration file for Elasticsearch is elasticsearch.yml. This file has settings for Elasticsearch node like cluster name, node name, network settings, security settings, and more. You can modify this file to customize your Elasticsearch configuration. Full path for Debian or RPM installation is: /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml

Elasticsearch offers several security measures to control user access and protect your data:

SSL/TLS Encryption

Configuring SSL/TLS encrypts all data transmitted over the network, preventing unauthorized interception.

http.ssl.enabled: true
http.ssl.key: /path/to/key.pem
http.ssl.certificate: /path/to/cert.pem

In this example, the Elasticsearch configuration file enables SSL/TLS.

IP Filtering

Elasticsearch allows you to restrict access to specific IP addresses or ranges. By configuring IP filtering, you can limit access to trusted clients and prevent unauthorized connections from untrusted sources.

In this example, we configure Elasticsearch to listen only on the specified IP address.

Audit Logging

Elasticsearch provides audit logging capabilities to track and monitor user activities. Audit logs capture information such as authentication attempts, access to indices and documents, and administrative actions. You can use these logs for security auditing, compliance, and troubleshooting purposes.

Example: true

In this example, the Elasticsearch configuration file enables audit logging.

User Access Control

Elasticsearch offers granular user access control through its security features. Let’s explore how you can manage users and their permissions effectively.

User Management

Elasticsearch lets you make and control user accounts for secure access to data in the Elasticsearch cluster. Every user gets their own special username and password to prove who they are when logging into the cluster.

You can create users using the Elasticsearch REST API or through the Kibana user interface. The API helps manage user accounts through code, while Kibana offers a simpler way to manage users.

Admins can manage who can see or change data in Elasticsearch by making user accounts. This ensures only approved users can access certain resources. This helps to maintain the security and integrity of the data stored within Elasticsearch.

POST /_security/user/john
   "password": "password123",
   "roles": ["user"]

In this example, we create a new user named “John” with the password “password123” and assign them the “user” role.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Elasticsearch uses RBAC to control user permissions. Roles define a set of permissions that determine what actions users can perform on specific indices, documents, or clusters. You can create custom roles tailored to your organization’s security requirements.

POST /_security/role/custom_role
   "indices": [
         "names": ["index1", "index2"],
         "privileges": ["read", "write"]

In this example, we create a custom role named “custom_role” that grants read and write privileges on “index1” and “index2”.


Elasticsearch authentication and security measures are essential for protecting your data from unauthorized access. To make sure your Elasticsearch environment is secure, use authentication, SSL/TLS encryption, IP filtering, and user access control with RBAC.

Check your security settings regularly. Monitor user activities. Update your Elasticsearch cluster with the latest security patches.

For a user-friendly and flexible solution to enhance your database security, consider exploring the tools offered by DataSunrise. Our comprehensive database security, audit, and compliance solutions can help you fortify your database deployment. Visit the DataSunrise team for an online demo and discover how we can assist you in securing your valuable data.


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