Setup authentication

Setup authentication

In case data is access controlled, you need to authenticate yourself. In MOLGENIS you can sign in using three methods.

  • Username/password sign in

  • Single sign-on

  • Token-authentication

Username/password sign in

The default way to authenticate in MOLGENIS is to click 'Sign in'. You can register a new account by using the 'Sign-up'-link. If there is no 'Sign-up'-link, you'll have to contact the administrator to register an account.

note: If you want to use reCaptcha when you enable 'Sign up' then you can configure that here.

Two-factor authentication

If you have an existing MOLGENIS-account you can secure it with two-factor authentication, depending on the server's settings.

prompted: Two-factor authentication cannot be combined with single sign-on

When two-factor authentication is enabled and you sign in for the first time, you will be promted to secure your account with an authenticator app. The authentication can be configured by scanning a QR-code.

You have to scan the QR-code with an authenticator-app. Examples of authenticator-apps are:

When the QR-code is scanned, your authenticator-app will create an account for MOLGENIS and also generate a verification code for that account. You have to fill in the verification code in de box below the QR-code. If you have entered the verification code you will be redirected to the Account-Security-tab. This will show the recovery-codes.

Make sure you store the recovery codes somewhere (not in MOLGENIS) so you can access them when you for example lose your phone. Each time you sign in, you will have to enter the verification code.

Depending on the server's settings, you can enable, disable and reset your two-factor authentication in your account settings (under Security).


When you have lost your phone or misplaced it, you have to use one of the recovery codes to unlock your account. You can view your recovery codes in the Account-Security-tab. Make sure to store the recovery codes somewhere outside MOLGENIS. You can click on the 'Enter a recovery code'-link, in the screen where you have to enter the verification code. You can then enter the recovery code to unlock your account.

Single sign-on

In addition to username/password authentication MOLGENIS supports authentication with identity providers that support OpenID Connect such as Google and SURFconext.

Once enabled the sign in dialog will display additional sign in options:

Selecting e.g. Google will redirect the browser to their website so the user can authenticate there and return to MOLGENIS once authentication has successfully completed. The permissions you have once authenticated are the default user permissions set by an administrator.

Configuring single sign-on

As administrator single sign-on configuration consists of the following one-time steps: 1. Register MOLGENIS with the ID providers 2. Configure one or more OpenID Connect clients, one for each identity provider 3. Modify the authentication settings, activating clients for the identity providers.

Registering MOLGENIS with an ID provider

Your MOLGENIS server needs to be registered with the identity provider as a client. The identity provider typically has a web interface where you can do this.

  • A client ID and a client secret are issued by the identity provider and used

    by MOLGENIS to authenticate with the provider.

  • The provider will typically also ask you how it can validate the

    redirect URI.

    The redirect URI is an endpoint on the MOLGENIS server:


    The registration ID is an ID that you assign to the provider when you register the

    OIDC client.

  • Since the user will be authenticating with the ID provider in the browser,

    the provider may allow you to add some branding to the login page,

    such as a logo or styling.

Registering an ID provider with MOLGENIS

MOLGENIS uses an OpenID Connect client to communicate with the ID provider. OpenID Connect clients can be configured by adding entities to the 'OIDC client' entity type (e.g. using the data explorer, importer or REST API).

Registration ID

This is the registration ID that ends up in the redirect URI on the MOLGENIS server.

Client ID and secret

You need to fill in the client ID and client secret that you got from the ID provider.

Client name

How the end user sees the identity provider. This becomes the label on the button on the login page.

Scopes and claims

MOLGENIS requires at least the sub and email claims and ideally the given_name and family_name claims as well. These claims are requested by specifying the scopes openid,email,profile.


The identity provider specifies a set of endpoints where the user and MOLGENIS can interact with the provider. These are provided by the ID provider but may be nontrivial to find. Here are suggested values for a couple of common OpenID providers:

Many providers have a discovery endpoint where they present these endpoints. Here's the discovery endpoints for some common providers:

Activating OpenID Connect clients

The OpenID Connect clients you have created in the previous step can now be selected in the 'Authentication settings' part of the 'Settings manager' plugin.

N.B. Only the clients that are created in entity 'OIDC client' can be selected.

Activating clients requires 'Allow users to sign up' to be set to 'Yes' and 'Sign up moderation' to be set to 'No'.

Beware of time skew between the servers

The authentication tokens from the ID provider are signed with a timestamp. If the server times are skewed, token validation may fail. Activating NTP will help fix this.

Advanced: OpenID Connect user to MOLGENIS user mapping

When a user signs in through e.g. Google the user is automatically mapped to a MOLGENIS user based on the email address. If no MOLGENIS user exists a new MOLGENIS user is created. The mapping from an OpenID client user to MOLGENIS user is persisted in the 'OIDC user mapping' entity type and can be modified by an administrator if required. Multiple mappings to the same user are allowed such that when a user signs in with e.g. either a Google and SURFconext account will be identified as the same MOLGENIS user.


When you use the REST API you have to authenticate using a token. There are 3 ways you can generate a token.

  • Create a token via the REST API v1 /login route (only available without two-factor authentication)

  • Create a token via the UI (e.g. DataExplorer)

Create a token via REST API v1/login

When you create a POST request to v1/login you have to put the username and password in JSON in the body of the request.

  username: #username#,
  password: #password#

You can't login in via this route when two-factor authentication is enabled for the current user.

Automatically generated token

When you run scripts in MOLGENIS a token is generated automatically with the credentials of the current user.

Manually created token

When you want to manage your tokens manually there are different methods in MOLGENIS to do that. We now explore on of the ways to create new tokens. You can create manually tokens in the DataExplorer. When you search on "token", you can edit the existing tokens.

When you click on the add-button you can manually assign a token to a user. This token can be used to access the API's of MOLGENIS.

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