Troubleshoot Kerberos Authentication

New in version 2.4.

Kerberos Configuration Debugging Strategies

If you have difficulty starting or authenticating against mongod or mongos with Kerberos:

  • Ensure that you are running MongoDB Enterprise, not MongoDB Community Edition. Kerberos authentication is a MongoDB Enterprise feature and will not work with MongoDB Community Edition binaries.

    To verify MongoDB Enterprise binaries, pass the --version command line option to the mongod or mongos:

    mongod --version

    In the output from this command, look for the string modules: subscription or modules: enterprise to confirm your system has MongoDB Enterprise.

  • Ensure that the canonical system hostname of the mongod or mongos instance is a resolvable, fully qualified domain name.

    On Linux, you can verify the system hostname resolution with the hostname -f command at the system prompt.

  • On Linux, ensure that the primary component of the service principal name (SPN) of the SPN is mongodb. If the primary component of the SPN is not mongodb, you must specify the primary component using --setParameter saslServiceName.

  • On Linux, ensure that the instance component of the service principal name (SPN) in the keytab file matches the canonical system hostname of the mongod or mongos instance. If the mongod or mongos instance’s system hostname is not in the keytab file, authentication will fail with a GSSAPI error acquiring credentials. error message.

    If the hostname of your mongod or mongos instance as returned by hostname -f is not fully qualified, use --setParameter saslHostName to set the instance’s fully qualified domain name when starting your mongod or mongos.

  • Ensure that each host that runs a mongod or mongos instance has A and PTR DNS records to provide both forward and reverse DNS lookup. The A record should map to the mongod or mongos‘s FQDN.

  • Ensure that clocks on the servers hosting your MongoDB instances and Kerberos infrastructure are within the maximum time skew: 5 minutes by default. Time differences greater than the maximum time skew prevent successful authentication.

Kerberos Trace Logging on Linux

MIT Kerberos provides the KRB5_TRACE environment variable for trace logging output. If you are having persistent problems with MIT Kerberos on Linux, you can set KRB5_TRACE when starting your mongod, mongos, or mongo instances to produce verbose logging.

For example, the following command starts a standalone mongod whose keytab file is at the default /etc/krb5.keytab path and sets KRB5_TRACE to write to /logs/mongodb-kerberos.log:

env KRB5_KTNAME=/etc/krb5.keytab \
    KRB5_TRACE=/logs/mongodb-kerberos.log \
    mongod --dbpath /data/db --logpath /data/db/mongodb.log \
    --auth --setParameter authenticationMechanisms=GSSAPI --fork

Common Error Messages

In some situations, MongoDB will return error messages from the GSSAPI interface if there is a problem with the Kerberos service. Some common error messages are:

GSSAPI error in client while negotiating security context.

This error occurs on the client and reflects insufficient credentials or a malicious attempt to authenticate.

If you receive this error, ensure that you are using the correct credentials and the correct fully qualified domain name when connecting to the host.

GSSAPI error acquiring credentials.
This error occurs during the start of the mongod or mongos and reflects improper configuration of the system hostname or a missing or incorrectly configured keytab file.