Spring Security Authentication Providers

In this post, we will look in to the Spring security authentication providers. This post will focus on the DaoAuthenticationProvider which we will use for our login process.


1. Spring Security Authentication Providers

Authentication providers are responsible to perform a specific authentication. Spring security provides several AuthenticationProvider. Remember these AuthenticationProviders can’t execute directly, but spring security uses ProviderManager class which delegates to a list of configured authentication providers.

public interface AuthenticationProvider {
    Authentication authenticate(Authentication authentication) throws AuthenticationException;
    boolean supports(Class<?> authentication);

Our application configuration will determine what all authentication providers will be executed for given application (Will cover in this article). For a successful authentication, it will return a fully populated Authentication object, else it will throw an exception.


2. DaoAuthenticationProvider

For a standard login process, Spring security needs the customer information. Every project is unique in terms of the data model and how the customer data stored in the system.

  1. Some application can use email id as unique and login id.
  2. Other application design can let customer choose login id of their choice.
  3. For an intranet application, your employee id is your login id.

There should be a way to feed this information to the Spring security. In this article, we will look at the  DaoAuthenticationProvider to authenticate customer using username and password. You can also use the JDBC authentication. DaoAuthenticationProvider use the UserDetailsService to authenticate a username and password.


2.1 UserDetailsService

For the DaoAuthenticationProvider, spring security needs a way to retrieving user information using the and other attributes for authenticating with a username and password. Spring security provide UserDetailsService interface. This interface contains only one method.

public interface UserDetailsService {
    UserDetails loadUserByUsername(String var1) throws UsernameNotFoundException;

We can define custom authentication by exposing a custom UserDetailsService as a bean. Our custom user service can load user based on our data model. In our case, we have defined email is as login id. Let’s define UserDetailsService to load and provide the user data to the spring security. We will add this to our application available on GitHub.

public class CustomUserDetailService implements UserDetailsService {

    UserRepository userRepository;

    public UserDetails loadUserByUsername(String email) throws UsernameNotFoundException {
        final UserEntity customer = userRepository.findByEmail(email);
        if (customer == null) {
            throw new UsernameNotFoundException(email);
        UserDetails user = User.withUsername(customer.getEmail())
        return user;

So our custom UserDetailsService service is using the UserRepository to load the customer information by email. We also need to extend the UserRepository interface to add the findByEmail method. Main confirmations are complete. It’s time to configure our DaoAuthenticationProvider

For more detail, please read Spring Security UserDetailsService


3. DaoAuthenticationProvider Workflow

Before we configure our application, let’s look at how the authentication provider works:

Spring Security Authentication Providers

  1. We create an UsernamePasswordAuthenticationTokem from the supplied username and password.
  2. We pass this token to the authentication manager.
  3. The provider manager will delegate the authentication to the DaoAuthenticationProvider including the authentication token.
  4. The DaoAuthenticationProvider use the custom UserDetailsService service to get the customer information from the database.
  5. On successful authentication, the authentication object will contain the fully populated object including the authorities details.
  6. The returned UsernamePasswordAuthenticationToken will be set on the SecurityContextHolder by the authentication Filter.


4. Authentication Provider Configurations

The last step is to configure the authentication provider. We want the DaoAuthenticationProvider  to use our customer UserDetailsService service to get the user information. This is done by extending the WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter.

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.security.authentication.dao.DaoAuthenticationProvider;
import org.springframework.security.config.annotation.authentication.builders.AuthenticationManagerBuilder;
import org.springframework.security.config.annotation.web.configuration.EnableWebSecurity;
import org.springframework.security.config.annotation.web.configuration.WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter;
import org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.UserDetailsService;
import org.springframework.security.crypto.password.PasswordEncoder;
import javax.annotation.Resource;

public class SecurityConfig extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter {

    private UserDetailsService userDetailsService;

    PasswordEncoder passwordEncoder;

    public DaoAuthenticationProvider authProvider() {
        DaoAuthenticationProvider authProvider = new DaoAuthenticationProvider();
        return authProvider;

    protected void configure(AuthenticationManagerBuilder auth) throws Exception {
  1. The @EnableWebSecurity enable Spring Security’s web security support and provide the Spring MVC integration.
  2. We are extending WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter class, which provides a convenient base class for creating a WebSecurityConfigurer instance.
  3. Injecting custom UserDetailsService in the DaoAuthenticationProvider
  4. We are encoding the password during registration. Need to inject the same password encoder to the authentication provider, else our login process will not work as expected.



In this article, we looked at the spring security authentication providers. We covered the following points.

  1. What is spring security authentication providers?
  2. Why we need authentication providers?
  3. We checked details for the DaoAuthenticationProvider.
  4. Checked how DaoAuthenticationProvider use an UserDetailsService to get the user details from the database.
  5. How to configure authentication provider for our application.

The source code for this series is available on the GitHub.

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