API Authentication

By default, Pulp has two types of authentication enabled, and both are tried before rejecting a request as unauthenticated.

  1. Basic Authentication, which is checked against an internal users database

  2. Webserver authentication that relies on the webserver to perform the authentication.


This authentication is only for the REST API. Client’s fetching binary data have their identity verified and authorization checked using a ContentGuard.

Which URLs Require Authentication?

All URLs in the REST API require authentication except the Status API, /pulp/api/v3/status/, which is served to unauthenticated users too. This is true regardless of the type of authentication you configure.

Basic Auth

Pulp by default uses Basic Auth authentication which checks the user submitted header against an internal database of users. If the username and password match, the request is considered authenticated as that username.


For the 3.0 release, Pulp expects the user table to have exactly 1 user in it named ‘admin’, which is created automatically when the initial migration is applied. The password for this user can be set with the django-admin reset-admin-password command, but defaults to ‘password’. To articulate what you’d like to see future versions of Pulp file a feature request here or reach out via pulp-list@redhat.com.

Disabling Basic Auth

To disable Basic Auth, remove the 'django.contrib.auth.backends.ModelBackend' from the AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS setting in Pulp.

You can configure Django Rest Framework to not trust users authenticated with Basic Auth by removing 'rest_framework.authentication.BasicAuthentication' from the REST_FRAMEWORK['DEFAULT_AUTHENTICATION_CLASSES'] .

Webserver Auth

Pulp by default can use authentication configured in the webserver, e.g. Apache 2.4 configured with mod_ldap. By default Pulp trusts a WSGI environment variable named REMOTE_USER, and will create a Django user in the user list to represent that user. These are the typical behaviors provided by Django’s REMOTE_USER middleware which is enabled by default with Pulp.

Webserver Auth with Reverse Proxy

For example purposes, assume you’re using Nginx with LDAP authentication required and after authenticating it reverse proxies your request to the gunicorn process running the pulpcore.app.wsgi application. That would look like this:

nginx <----> gunicorn <----> pulpcore.app.wsgi application

With nginx knowing REMOTE_USER and acting as a proxy it can’t set the environment variable for the wsgi request because that happens in gunicorn. To give the REMOTE_USER information to Pulp a header should be used, and the nginx config should include a line like:

proxy_set_header REMOTE_USER $remote_user;

Per the WSGI standard, any incoming headers will be prepended with a HTTP_. The above line would send the header named REMOTE_USER to gunicorn, and the WSGI application would receive it as HTTP_REMOTE_USER. The default configuration of Pulp is expecting REMOTE_USER in the WSGI environment not HTTP_REMOTE_USER, so this won’t work.

Pulp provides a setting named REMOTE_USER_ENVIRON_NAME which allows you to specify another WSGI environment variable to read the authenticated username from.


Configuring this has serious security implications. See the Django warning at the end of this section in their docs for more details.

Disabling Webserver Auth

To disable Pulp from using webserver authentication remove the 'django.contrib.auth.backends.RemoteUserBackend' from the AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS setting in Pulp.

You can configure Django Rest Framework to not trust webserver authenticated users by removing 'rest_framework.authentication.RemoteUserAuthentication' from the REST_FRAMEWORK['DEFAULT_AUTHENTICATION_CLASSES'] .

Custom Authentication

Pulp is a Django app, so additional Django authentication can be added as long as it’s correctly configured for both Django and Django Rest Frameowork.

See the Django docs on configuring custom authentication and the Django Rest Framework docs on configuring custom authentication.