User Authentication Using Social and Institutional Identities

This page explains how to configure this feature as an administrator, for user-specific docs, please refer to the Use page.

Leveraging the OpenID Connect (OIDC) protocol users can login to Galaxy using their social and institutional identities (e.g., their University or Google account). This method allows for new user registration or linking of an existing Galaxy user account with external identities.

Related publications:

Supported Identity Providers

Before using OIDC-based login, it is necessary for a Galaxy system administrator to configure their Galaxy instance (see below) as well as obtain the necessary registrations from the Identity Providers (IdP).The IdP needs to support the OIDC protocol and Galaxy currently supports the following OIDC IdPs:

Enable OIDC-based Login

The OIDC-based login in Galaxy is disabled by default, and to enable it take the following steps:

  1. In your Galaxy home directory, go to the config folder and create a copy of galaxy.yml.sample and name it galaxy.yml if you have not done that yet.
  2. Open the config/galaxy.yml file, and uncomment enable_oidc, oidc_config_file, and oidc_backends_config_file attributes and set them as follows:

    # Enables and disables OpenID Connect (OIDC) support.
    enable_oidc: true
    # Sets the path to OIDC configuration file.
    oidc_config_file: config/oidc_config.xml
    # Sets the path to OIDC backends configuration file.
    oidc_backends_config_file: config/oidc_backends_config.xml
  3. Create the config/oidc_config.xml and config/oidc_backends_config.xml files by copying their .sample files. The following sections describe the attributes of those files while the IdP-specific pages listed above provide details on setting up the specific provider. Make sure to refer to the provider-specific documentation because each provider requires and supports a slightly different set of attributes.

Global OIDC Configuration

Some configurations are common between all the IdPs. These configurations are set in the config/oidc_config.xml file. Currently, the following properties are set via this file:

  • Verify SSL: sets whether the hosts SSL certificates for HTTPS requests shall be verified or not. See this documentation for details.
  • Requests Timeout: sets the maximum number of seconds Galaxy should wait for a response from the IdP. See this documentation for details.
  • ID Token Max Age: sets the duration of time, in seconds, starting from the token issue time, during which the token must be valid. This number will be sent to IdP, requesting the token to be valid for the number of given seconds. Note that this number set the maximum duration for token validity. A token may be invalidated by an IdP upon the resource owner's request, even before the expiration time has reached.

To configure OIDC IdPs with these attributes, you would need to add a Setter tag in the oidc_config.xml file. The Setter tag takes Property (e.g., VERIFY_SSL), Value, and Type attributes that define the desired property. For instance:

<Setter Property="VERIFY_SSL" Value="False" Type="bool"/>

See the following table for the currently supported values for each attribute:

Property Default Value Type
1 VERIFY_SSL False bool
3 ID_TOKEN_MAX_AGE 3600 float

The following is an example on how to setup this file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <Setter Property="VERIFY_SSL" Value="False" Type="bool"/>
    <Setter Property="REQUESTS_TIMEOUT" Value="3600" Type="float"/>
    <Setter Property="ID_TOKEN_MAX_AGE" Value="3600" Type="float"/>

OIDC configuration options for Identity Providers

Which OIDC IdPs are enabled and configured is defined in the config/oidc_backends_config.xml file. Each provider block enables and defines an IdP. There could be multiple providers defined in this file and each provider needs to be configured with settings specific to that IdP. Note that you may define multiple different IdPs, but you cannot define multiple instances of same IdP (e.g., you cannot have multiple Google configurations).

The following is a sample configuration for a provider. Configuration attributes required by all providers are described below. Each provider supports additional attributes, some required and some optional so make sure to look at the provider-specific pages for how to configure it.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <provider name="Custos">

Client ID

The client_id is a required string attribute that identifies your Galaxy instance to the IdP. It is obtained from the IdP and it is unique to the IdP. The client identifier is not a secret; it is exposed to the resource owner and must not be used alone for client authentication.

You need to obtain this ID by registering your Galaxy instance with an IdP. See the aforementioned links on how to register your Galaxy instance (aka client) with the specific providers. Having obtained the ID, set it using the following attribute:

<client_id> ... </client_id>

Client Secret

The client_secret is a required string attribute generated by IdP for your Galaxy client upon its registration with the IdP. You may use the following configuration option for client secret:

<client_secret> ... </client_secret>

Redirect URI

The redirect_uri is a required attribute representing the absolute endpoint of your Galaxy instance. You provide the redirect URI to the IdP when registering your Galaxy instance and the IdP will call back your Galaxy instance at that URI upon successful user authentication.

In the case of Galaxy, this redirect URI has the following structure:

<Host URI>/authnz/<provider>/callback

where the Host URI is the domain name of your Galaxy server and the provider is one of the OIDC provider names supported by Galaxy, as listed above. For instance:

  • When using localhost to authenticate with Google:

  • When using localhost to authenticate with Globus:

  • When using an instance hosted at with Google:

Please mind http and https.

Having defined your instance URI for an IdP following the aforementioned template, set it as the following configuration attribute and use the same URI for when registering your Galaxy as a client with an IdP.

<redirect_uri> ... </redirect_uri>

For instance:


As mentioned, each provider supports additional attributes, some required and some optional so make sure to look at the provider-specific pages for how to configure the specific provider.