When a client connects to the MySQL server, the server uses the user name provided by the client and the client
host to select the appropriate account row from the
mysql.user table. It then uses
this row to authenticate the client.
In MySQL 5.7, the server authenticates clients using plugins, as follows:
The server determines from the account row which authentication plugin applies for the client:
If the account row specifies no plugin name, the server uses native
authentication; that is, authentication against the password stored in the
Password column of the account row. This is the same
authentication method provided by MySQL servers older than 5.5.7, before pluggable
authentication was implemented, but now is implemented using two plugins that are built in
and cannot be disabled.
If the account row specifies a plugin, the server invokes it to authenticate the user. If the server cannot find the plugin, an error occurs.
The plugin returns a status to the server indicating whether the user is permitted to connect.
Pluggable authentication enables two important capabilities:
External authentication: Pluggable
authentication makes it possible for clients to connect to the MySQL server with credentials that are
appropriate for authentication methods other than native authentication based on passwords stored in the
mysql.user table. For example, plugins can be created to use external
authentication methods such as PAM, Windows login IDs, LDAP, or Kerberos.
Proxy users: If a user is permitted to connect, an authentication plugin can return to the server a user name different from the name of the connecting user, to indicate that the connecting user is a proxy for another user. While the connection lasts, the proxy user is treated, for purposes of access control, as having the privileges of a different user. In effect, one user impersonates another. For more information, see Section 6.3.8, "Proxy Users".
Several authentication plugins are available in MySQL. The following sections provide details about specific plugins.
Plugins that perform native authentication that matches the password against the
Password column of the account row. See Section
22.214.171.124, "The Native Authentication Plugins". Native authentication is the default for accounts
that have no plugin named explicitly in their account row.
A plugin that performs authentication using SHA-256 password hashing. This plugin
matches the password against the
authentication_string column of the
account row. This is stronger encryption than that available with native authentication. See Section 126.96.36.199, "The SHA-256 Authentication
A client-side plugin that sends the password to the server without hashing or encryption. This plugin can be used by server-side plugins that require access to the password exactly as provided by the client user. See Section 188.8.131.52, "The Cleartext Client-Side Authentication Plugin".
A plugin that authenticates clients that connect from the local host through the Unix socket file. See Section 184.108.40.206, "The Socket Peer-Credential Authentication Plugin".
A test plugin that authenticates using MySQL native authentication. This plugin is intended for testing and development purposes, and as an example of how to write an authentication plugin. See Section 220.127.116.11, "The Test Authentication Plugin".
For information about current restrictions on the use of pluggable authentication, including which connectors support which plugins, see Section D.9, "Restrictions on Pluggable Authentication".
Third-party connector developers should read that section to determine the extent to which a connector can take advantage of pluggable authentication capabilities and what steps to take to become more compliant.
If you are interested in writing your own authentication plugins, see Section 18.104.22.168, "Writing Authentication Plugins".
In general, pluggable authentication uses corresponding plugins on the server and client sides, so you use a given authentication method like this:
On the server host, install the appropriate library containing the server plugin, if necessary, so that the server can use it to authenticate client connections. Similarly, on each client host, install the appropriate library containing the client plugin for use by client programs.
Create MySQL accounts that specify use of the plugin for authentication.
When a client connects, the server plugin tells the client program which client plugin to use for authentication.
The remainder of this section provides general instructions for installing and using authentication plugins. The instructions use an an example authentication plugin included in MySQL distributions (see Section 22.214.171.124, "The Test Authentication Plugin"). The procedure is similar for other authentication plugins; substitute the appropriate plugin and file names.
The example authentication plugin has these characteristics:
The server-side plugin name is
The client-side plugin name is
Both plugins are located in the shared library object file named
auth_test_plugin.so in the plugin directory (the directory named by the
plugin_dir system variable). The file name suffix might differ on your
Install and use the example authentication plugin as follows:
Make sure that the plugin library is installed on the server and client hosts.
Install the server-side test plugin at server startup or at runtime:
To install the plugin at startup, use the
--plugin-load option. With this plugin-loading method, the
option must be given each time you start the server. For example, use these lines in a
my.cnf option file:
To install the plugin at runtime, use the
INSTALL PLUGIN statement:
INSTALL PLUGIN test_plugin_server SONAME 'auth_test_plugin.so';
This installs the plugin permanently and need be done only once.
PAM authentication, when not done through proxy users or groups, requires the MySQL account to have the same user name as the Unix account. Because MySQL user names are limited to 16 characters (see Section 6.2.2, "Privilege System Grant Tables"), this limits PAM nonproxy authentication to Unix accounts with names of at most 16 characters.
Verify that the plugin is installed. For example, use
SHOW PLUGINS\G...*************************** 21. row *************************** Name: test_plugin_server Status: ACTIVE Type: AUTHENTICATIONLibrary: auth_test_plugin.soLicense: GPL
For other ways to check the plugin, see Section 126.96.36.199, "Obtaining Server Plugin Information".
To specify that a MySQL user must be authenticated using the plugin, name it in the
IDENTIFIED WITH clause of the
CREATE USER statement that creates the user:
CREATE USER 'testuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH test_plugin_server;
Connect to the server using a client program. The test plugin authenticates the
same way as native MySQL authentication, so provide the usual
--password options that you normally use to connect to the server. For
For connections by
testuser, the server sees that the account must be
authenticated using the server-side plugin named
communicates to the client program which client-side plugin it must use—in this case,
In the case that the account uses the authentication method that is the default for both the server
and the client program, the server need not communicate to the client which plugin to use, and a
round trip in client/server negotiation can be avoided. Currently this is true for accounts that use
native MySQL authentication (
--default-auth= option can be specified on the mysql command line to make explicit which
client-side plugin the program can expect to use, although the server will override this if the user
account requires a different plugin.
If you start the server with the
--skip-grant-tables option, authentication plugins are not used even if loaded
because the server performs no client authentication and permits any client to connect. Because this is
insecure, you might want to use
--skip-grant-tables in conjunction with
--skip-networking to prevent remote clients from connecting.