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Jersey Java Framework - How to add HTTP Basic Authentication to RESTful web services?


I have shown you in the following post how to develop the RESTful web services using the Jersey Java Framework

Jersey JAX-RS Framework - Step by Step Guide for Developing RESTful web services

There are different security levels that we can add to web services

  • a) Authentication
  • b) Authorization
  • c) Encryption

The scope of this post is for Authentication. If we look at the available options then we have

  • a) OpenID
  • b) OAuth
  • c) HTTP Basic Authentication 

HTTP Basic level authentication is the weakest among the above three available options but it is still preferable over no Authentication :)

Let's start how to implement the Basic HTTP Authentication.

Requirements for this tutorial
  •  Eclipse
  •  Maven
  • Jersey Framework
  • Tomcat


First, we will code our filter to process the request before redirecting it to the respective resource. We will achieve it by implementing the ContainerRequestFilter. We will add the following dependency to the maven



package com.techieshah.filters;


import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.xml.bind.DatatypeConverter;

 * @author
public class HTTPBasicAuthenticationFilter implements ContainerRequestFilter{

HttpServletRequest httpServletRequest;

public void filter(ContainerRequestContext containerRequest) throws IOException {
final String AUTHENTICATION_HEADER = "Authorization";
String auth = containerRequest
        if(auth == null){
        throw new WebApplicationException(Status.UNAUTHORIZED);
        String lap[] = decode(auth);     
      //If login or password fail
        if(lap == null || lap.length < 2){
            throw new WebApplicationException(Status.UNAUTHORIZED);
        if( ! ( "testUser".equals( lap[0] ) || "test01".equals( lap[1] ) ) ){
        throw new WebApplicationException(Status.UNAUTHORIZED);

private String[] decode(String auth) {
        //Replacing "Basic THE_BASE_64" to "THE_BASE_64" directly
        auth = auth.replaceFirst("[B|b]asic ", "");
        byte[] bytes = DatatypeConverter.parseBase64Binary(auth);
        if(bytes == null || bytes.length == 0){
            return null;
        return new String(bytes).split(":",2);           

In the above code, we have overridden the filter method in order to look for authentication credentials.


In the last step, we will add the above filter in the init-param to the web.xml file


403 Unauthorized status code in response will be returned if Basic Authentication header is missing OR wrong credentials are provided.

Source code for this tutorial can be found on the github address i.e. JerseyHTTPBasicAuthentication


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