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User Roles & Metadata


Roles and user information are passed to Platformatic DB from an external authentication service as a string (JWT claims or HTTP headers). We refer to this data as user metadata.


Understanding User Roles

User roles in Platformatic DB are represented as strings and are passed via the X-PLATFORMATIC-ROLE HTTP header. These roles are specified as a list of comma-separated names. The key used to pass roles is configurable, allowing integration with various authentication systems.

For detailed configuration options, refer to our configuration documentation

Reserved roles

Platformatic DB reserves certain role names for internal use:

  • platformatic-admin: Identifies a user with admin powers.
  • anonymous: Automatically assigned when no other roles are specified.

Anonymous Role

By default, if a user does not have an assigned role, the anonymous role is applied. You can define specific rules for users with this role as shown below:

"role": "anonymous",
"entity": "page",
"find": false,
"delete": false,
"save": false

This configuration ensures that users with the anonymous role cannot perform find, delete, or save operations on the page entity.

Role Impersonation

Role impersonation allows an admin to perform actions on behalf of another user by specifying roles to impersonate in the X-PLATFORMATIC-ROLE HTTP header. This feature requires a valid X-PLATFORMATIC-ADMIN-SECRET header.

Role impersonation

If a request includes a valid X-PLATFORMATIC-ADMIN-SECRET HTTP header it is possible to impersonate a user roles. The roles to impersonate can be specified by sending a X-PLATFORMATIC-ROLE HTTP header containing a comma separated list of roles.

X-PLATFORMATIC-ADMIN-SECRET: <shared-admin-secret>

Role impersonation is disabled when JWT or Webhook authentication methods are set. In such cases, the role is automatically set to platformatic-admin if the X-PLATFORMATIC-ADMIN-SECRET HTTP header is specified.

Role configuration

The roles key in user metadata defaults to X-PLATFORMATIC-ROLE. It's possible to change it using the roleKey field in configuration. Same for the anonymous role, which value can be changed using anonymousRole.

 "authorization": {
"anonymousRole": "anonym",
"rules": [

Another option is to use the rolePath field to specify a path to the role in the user metadata. This is useful when the role is nested in the user data extracted from the JWT claims, e.g. if we have a JWT token with:

"user": {
"roles": ["admin", "editor"]

We can specify the rolePath as user.roles:

 "authorization": {
"rolePath": "user.roles",

Note that the rolePath has the precedence on roleKey. If both are set, the rolePath will be used and the roleKey will be ignored.

User metadata

User roles and other user data, such as userId, are referred to by Platformatic DB as user metadata.

User metadata is parsed from an HTTP request and stored in a user object on the Fastify request object. This object is populated on-demand, but it's possible to populate it explicity with await request.setupDBAuthorizationUser().

await request.setupDBAuthorizationUser();
const userRoles = request.user.roles;


If you run into a bug or have a suggestion for improvement, please raise an issue on GitHub or join our Discord feedback channel.