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Role-Based Access Control
User Experience

Comprehensive Guide To Role-Based Access Control In Strapi

09 February 2024 by Daria Andrieieva

Managing access to resources is paramount for ensuring security and maintaining data integrity. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a widely adopted method for controlling access to resources within an application. 

Strapi, a leading open-source headless CMS, offers robust capabilities for managing user roles and permissions, making it an ideal platform for implementing RBAC. 

Join Kapsys as we explore the role-based access control concept and how it can be implemented in Strapi, discuss best practices for role-based permissions management, and provide code examples to illustrate key concepts.

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Introducing Strapi 

Unlike traditional CMS platforms, Strapi follows a headless architecture, separating the backend content management capabilities from the frontend presentation layer. 

This decoupling allows developers to use any frontend framework or technology stack, such as ReactAngular, or Vue.js, to consume content from Strapi via its robust API.


Key features of Strapi include:

Custom content types

Strapi allows developers to define custom content types like articles, products, or events and create structured content using a flexible Content Type Builder.

Content management

Strapi allows users to easily create, edit, and manage content through an intuitive administration panel. Content can include text, images, videos, and other media types.

API-first approach

Strapi provides a robust API that exposes content and data, enabling developers to fetch and manipulate content programmatically. This API-first approach allows seamless integration with any frontend or third-party applications.

User authentication and authorization

Strapi includes built-in user authentication and role-based access control features, allowing administrators to effectively manage user accounts, roles, and permissions.

Plugins and extensions

Strapi offers a rich ecosystem of plugins and extensions that extend its functionality, including support for authentication providers, email services, and data validation.

Customization and scalability

Developers can extend and customize Strapi to meet the specific requirements of their projects. Strapi's modular architecture and plugin system allow easy scalability and adaptation to different use cases.

Read: A Quick Guide To Strapi Headless CMS

What is Role Based Access Control

Role-Based Access Control is a security model restricting system access to authorized users based on organizational roles. 

Each role is associated with a set of permissions that define what actions users assigned to that role can perform. Role-based access control simplifies access management by categorizing users into roles, reducing the complexity of permissions management, and enhancing security.

Read: Why Strapi is the Leading Choice for Headless CMS in 2024

strapi user roles

Before We Begin

Before implementing role-based access control in Strapi, it's essential to ensure that specific prerequisites are met. Here are some requirements for implementing RBAC in Strapi:

  • Understanding Strapi Basics: Ensure familiarity with Strapi's core concepts and architecture.

  • User Authentication Setup: Configure user authentication using Strapi's built-in or third-party methods.

  • Permissions Mapping: Map out permissions required for each role based on application needs.

  • Granular Permission Control: Determine the level of granularity needed for permissions.

  • Role Hierarchy Design: Design a role hierarchy if needed, considering organizational structure.

Read: A Step-by-Step Guide for Strapi Applications

Implementing RBAC in Strapi

Role-based access control is crucial for managing user permissions and access control in Strapi applications. Let's explore the step-by-step process for implementing RBAC in Strapi, starting with defining user roles.

Step 1. Defining user roles

Defining user roles is the first step in implementing role-based access control in Strapi. Roles represent different system access levels, such as admin, editor, moderator, or subscriber. Strapi's user roles feature allows administrators to create custom roles and assign them meaningful names and descriptions.

// Example: Define custom roles in Strapi
// Navigate to Admin Panel > Users & Permissions > Roles
module.exports = {
 permissions: [
 // Define permissions here

Step 2. Assigning permissions to roles

Once roles are defined, assigning permissions to each role is next in role-based access control. Permissions determine what actions users assigned to a particular role can perform within the application. Strapi offers granular control over permissions, allowing administrators to specify which content types, fields, and API endpoints are accessible to each role.

// Example: Assign permissions to custom roles in Strapi
module.exports = {
 permissions: [
 action: 'plugins::content-manager.explorer.create',
 subject: 'application::article.article',
 fields: ['title', 'content'],
 // Define more permissions here

Step 3. Managing role-based permissions

Strapi provides an intuitive interface for managing role-based permissions. Administrators can easily assign or revoke permissions for individual roles, ensuring that users have the appropriate level of access to resources. 

Strapi's role-based access control system also supports inheritance, allowing roles to inherit permissions from parent roles, thereby streamlining permissions management.

Read: Custom Controllers and Services in Strapi: Enhancing the Default Behavior

Step 4. Authentication and authorization

In addition to role-based permissions, Strapi integrates seamlessly with authentication providers such as JWT (JSON Web Tokens) and OAuth, enabling administrators to authenticate users and enforce access control based on their roles. 

By combining authentication with role-based authorization, Strapi ensures that only authorized users can access protected resources.

// Example: Implement JWT authentication with Strapi
module.exports = {
 jwtSecret: process.env.JWT_SECRET || 'jwt_secret',

Step 5. Testing and validation

Once the role-based access control implementation is complete, thorough testing and validation are essential to enforce permissions correctly. 

Conduct comprehensive testing for each role to validate proper access control. It's crucial to test various scenarios to verify the functionality of role-based access control across different user roles and permissions.

Step 6. Documentation and training

Documenting the role-based access control setup and providing training for users and administrators is essential for successful implementation. Create comprehensive documentation that outlines role definitions, permissions, and access control policies. 

Conduct training sessions to educate users about their roles and responsibilities within the application and provide guidance on managing user roles and permissions. 

Read: Integrating Strapi with Popular Frontend Frameworks

role based permissions

Best Practices for Role-Based Access Control in Strapi

Following best practices that enhance access management, security, and compliance is crucial to implement effective role-based access control. 

Let's explore: 

Role hierarchy

Establish a clear role hierarchy to organize roles based on their level of authority and access rights. This hierarchy simplifies permissions management and ensures consistency across user roles in role-based access control.

Least privilege principle

Adhere to the principle of least privilege by granting users the minimum permissions required to perform their tasks. Avoid giving excessive permissions that could compromise the security of role-based access control.

Regular auditing and review

Conduct regular user roles and permissions audits to identify discrepancies or security vulnerabilities. Periodically review and update role assignments to reflect organizational roles and responsibilities changes.


Troubleshooting common issues is essential to ensure the role-based access control system's effective functioning and to maintain your application's integrity. 

Let's discuss common troubleshooting steps and strategies for resolving RBAC-related issues in Strapi.

1. Permission assignment errors

Users may experience access errors or unexpected behavior due to incorrect permission assignments.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Review the permissions assigned to each role and ensure they align with the intended access requirements.

  • Verify that the correct permissions are applied at the appropriate levels (e.g., content types, fields, API endpoints).

  • Check for any conflicting or overlapping permissions that may be causing access issues.

  • Test access control for different user roles to identify specific permission assignment errors.

2. Role inheritance issues

Role inheritance may not function as expected, leading to inconsistencies in role-based access control.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Review the role hierarchy and ensure that parent roles correctly inherit permissions to child roles.

  • Verify that role inheritance settings are configured accurately in Strapi's role management interface.

  • Check any conflicts or overrides in inherited permissions that may impact role inheritance.

  • Test role-based access control for roles at different hierarchy levels to identify inheritance issues.

3. Authentication and authorization problems

Users may encounter authentication or authorization errors when accessing protected resources in role-based access control.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Verify that user authentication is properly configured and functioning correctly.

  • Ensure that users are assigned the correct roles and permissions based on their authentication credentials.

  • Check for any misconfigurations or errors in the authentication provider settings (e.g., JWT secret key).

  • Test authentication and authorization workflows for different user roles to identify issues with access control.

Read: GraphQL API Customizations Explained: Fine-Tuning Your Strapi Experience

what is role based access control


Implementing role-based access control in Strapi is essential for maintaining the security and integrity of your application. By defining user roles, assigning permissions, and enforcing access control policies, administrators can effectively manage access to resources and mitigate security risks. 

Strapi's flexible user management system and role-based permissions model provide the necessary tools to implement role-based access control efficiently. 

By following best practices and regularly reviewing permissions, organizations can ensure that their Strapi-powered applications remain secure and compliant with regulatory requirements.

Keep up with Kapsys to learn all about Strapi and so much more!