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Authentication Guide

Note on terminology:

  • Authentication refers to a user identifying themselves. Within this document, we abbreviate Authentication to Auth.
  • Access Control refers to the specific actions an authenticated or anonymous user can take. Often referred to as authorization elsewhere. The specifics of how this is done is outside the scope of this document. See Access Control for more.

Admin UI

Username / Password authentication can be enabled on the Admin UI.

NOTE: Admin Authentication will only restrict access to the Admin UI.

To also restrict access to the API, you must setup Access Control config.

To setup authentication, you must instantiate an Auth Strategy, and create a list used for authentication in index.js:

Here, we will setup a PasswordAuthStrategy instance:

const { Text, Password } = require('@keystone-alpha/fields');
const { PasswordAuthStrategy } = require('@keystone-alpha/keystone');
const { AdminUIApp } = require('@keystone-alpha/app-admin-ui');

const keystone = keystone.createList('User', {
  // ...
  fields: {
    username: { type: Text },
    password: { type: Password },

const authStrategy = keystone.createAuthStrategy({
  type: PasswordAuth,
  list: 'User',
  config: {
    identityField: 'username', // default: 'email'
    secretField: 'password', // default: 'password'

// Enable Admin UI login by adding the authentication strategy
const admin = new AdminUIApp({ authStrategy });

Once your Keystone server is restarted, the Admin UI will now enforce authentication.

Logging in to the Admin UI

The first time you setup authentication, you may not be able to login. This is because there are no Users who can do the logging in.

First, disable authentication on the Admin UI by removing authStrategy from the new AdminUIApp() call:

- const admin = new AdminUIApp({ authStrategy });
+ const admin = new AdminUIApp({ });

Restart your Keystone App, and visit http://localhost:3000/users - you should now be able to access the Admin UI without logging in.

Next, create a User (be sure to set both a username and password).

Add the authStrategy config back to the new AdminUIApp() call

- const admin = new AdminUIApp({ });
+ const admin = new AdminUIApp({ authStrategy });

Restart your Keystone App once more, and try to visit http://localhost:3000/users; you will be presented with the login screen.

Finally; login with the newly created User's credentials.

API Access Control

Adding Authentication as above will only enable login to the Admin UI, it will not restrict API access.

To also restrict API access, you must setup Access Control.

Have you found a mistake, something that is missing, or could be improved on this page? Please edit the Markdown file on GitHub and submit a PR with your changes.

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