Authorization: Security Clearance and Permissions

  • X.509 certificates are used for authentication - validating that users are who they say they are. Once a connection is authenticated, RavenDB uses the certificate for authorization as well.

  • Each certificate is associated with a security clearance and access permissions per database.

  • It is the administrator's responsibility to generate client certificates and assign permissions. Read more in the Certificate Management page.

  • A client certificate's security clearance can be one of the following: Cluster Admin, Operator, User.

  • In this page:

Cluster Admin

Cluster Admin is the highest security clearance. There are no restrictions. A Cluster Admin certificate has admin permissions to all databases. It also has the ability to modify the cluster itself.


The server certificate security clearance is called Cluster Node. The server certificate can also be used as a client certificate, and in that case Cluster Node is equivalent to Cluster Admin in terms of permissions.

The following operations are allowed only for Cluster Admin certificates:

  • All cluster operations
  • Manage Cluster Admin certificates
  • Replace and renew server certificates
  • Use the Admin JS Console
  • Activate or update the license
  • Get SNMP used OIDs


A client certificate with an Operator security clearance has admin access to all databases but is unable to modify the cluster. It cannot perform operations such as add/remove/promote/demote nodes from the cluster. This is useful in a hosted solution (such as RavenDB Cloud). If you are running on your own machines, you'll typically ignore that level in favor of Cluster Admin or User.

The following operations are allowed for both Operator and Cluster Admin certificates and are not allowed for User certificates:

  • Operations on databases (put, delete, enable, disable)
  • Manage Operator and User certificates
  • Enable and disable an ongoing task
  • Define External Replication
  • Create and delete RavenDB ETL and SQL ETL
  • Migrate databases
  • View cluster observer logs
  • View admin logs
  • Gather local and cluster debug info (process, memory, cpu, threads)
  • Use smuggler
  • Use the traffic watch
  • Put cluster-wide client configuration (Max number of requests per session, Read balance behavior)
  • Get the database record
  • Manage database groups in the cluster
  • Restore databases from backup
  • Perform database and index compaction
  • Get server metrics (request/sec, indexed/sec, batch size, etc...)
  • Get remote server build info


A client certificate with a User security clearance cannot perform any admin operations at the cluster level.
Unlike the other clearance levels, a User client certificate can grant different access levels to different databases.
These access levels are, from highest to lowest:

  • Admin
  • Read/Write
  • Read Only

If no access level is defined for a particular database, the certificate doesn't grant access to that database at all.


The following operations are permitted at the Admin access level but not for Read/Write or Read Only:

  • Operations on indexes (put, delete, start, stop, enable and disable)
  • Solve replication conflicts
  • Configure revisions and delete revision documents
  • Define expiration
  • Create backups and define periodic backups
  • Operations on connection strings (put, get, delete)
  • Put client configuration for the database (Max number of requests per session, Read balance behavior)
  • Get transaction info
  • Perform SQL migration


A User certificate with a Read/Write access level can perform all operations except for those listed above in the 'Admin' and 'Operator'sections.

Read Only

The ReadOnly access level allows clients to:

  • Read data from a database, but not to write or modify data.
  • Be subscription workers to consume data subscriptions.
  • Query the databases that are configured in the client certificate.

    An Auto-index is built if there is no existing index that satisfies a query.

Unauthorized actions for ReadOnly client certificates

The following operations are forbidden:

  • Creating documents or modifying existing documents
  • Changing any configurations or settings
  • Creating or modifying ongoing tasks
  • Defining static indexes (the database will create auto-indexes if there is no existing index that satisfies a query.)

Learn more about the Read Only access level here.