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(2.10.0) Setting up Kerberos authentication

What is Kerberos?  

Kerberos is a network authentication protocol designed to provide strong authentication for client/server applications. Shinydocs’ Enterprise Search (Discovery Search), Shinydocs Pro, and Automation Review use Internet Information Services (IIS) and Windows Authentication with Kerberos to authenticate a user from their browser. 

The following guide walks through how to set up a Windows Server environment to support Kerberos pass-through (2 hop authentication).



In order to setup either Kestrel or Microsoft IIS to authenticate using Kerberos, the process needs to run as a named user from the domain controller. This can be either a regular user account on the domain, or a group managed service account (For more information, see: Group Managed Service Accounts Overview | Microsoft Learn)

Setting the Spns

  1. Open a command prompt or powershell prompt as a user that has the ability to modify spns. An active directory admin has the correct rights, but the right can be delegated by a domain admin to a user that has lesser rights.

  2. Determine the hostnames of the systems that Shinydocs Enterprise Search will be running on. This may be one machine or multiple machines, if running a load balanced cluster. If running a load balanced cluster, ensure that you include the DNS name that will be used for the load balancer in the list of host names.

e.g: When running a single instance, the host name may be search.example.local

e.g. When running a clustered instance, the host names may be search01.example.local, search02.example.local and search.example.local for the load balancer DNS entry.

  1. Run the following commands to add the spns to the service account created above for each of the hostnames. Note, if using a group managed service account, the account name will always end with a $.

    setspn -S HTTP/<hostname> <domain>\<serviceAccount>
    setspn -S HTTP/<fqdn> <domain>\<serviceAccount>
    e.g: single instance with the service account called searchService on the domain example
    setspn -S HTTP/search example\searchService
    setspn -S HTTP/search.example.local example\searchService
    e.g: load balanced instance with the service account called searchService on the domain example
    setspn -S HTTP/search01 example\searchService
    setspn -S HTTP/search01.example.local example\searchService
    setspn -S HTTP/search02 example\searchService
    setspn -S HTTP/search02.example.local example\searchService
    setspn -S HTTP/search example\searchService
    setspn -S HTTP/search.example.local example\searchService
  2. Verify that the spns were set correctly by running the command

    setspn -l <domain>\<serviceAccount>
  3. Continue to the next section. If you are running the Shinydocs Search windows service, you will want to proceed to the Kestrel Section. Otherwise if you are running Shinydocs Search in Internet Information Services (IIS), proceed to the IIS Configuration section.


Ensure the pre-requisites have been met above prior to configuring Kestrel with the service account.

  1. Open the Services panel on the servers that search is being configured on.

  2. Navigate to the Shinydocs Search service.

  3. Open the properties for the Shinydocs Search service.

  4. Select the Log On tab for the service.

  5. Change the radio button from Local System account to This account:

  6. Enter the username and password for the service account. Note, if you are using the group managed service account, enter the domain\serviceAccount followed by a $, and blank out the password fields.

  7. Click Apply.

  8. You may be prompted that the user has been given Logon as a Service right.

  9. Start / Restart the service for the login user to take effect.

  10. Attempt to login to the website from another machine to ensure kerberos authentication is working.

IIS Configuration

Ensure the pre-requisites have been met above prior to configuring IIS with the service account.

  • Configure the Application Pool in IIS for this user account

    • Click on Application Pool running site

    • right-click and select Advanced Settings

    • Under Process Model select Identity

    • Select the Custom account radio button.

    • Enter username and password

  • Turn On Windows Authentication in Advanced Settings ->

    • Turn Extended Protection is Off

    • Turn Kernel Mode Authentication is Off

  • With Windows Authentication turned on, the provider should be set to Negotiate:Kerberos.  This ensures that the user is being authenticated using Kerberos only. The generic negotiate will fallback to other authentication types, which will not work with double hop. 

  • Turn On Impersonation for and set it to authenticate user

If setting up Kerberos to allow machines to delegate (as opposed to the user method outlined in this document, please refer to the following for assistance: )

Source Specific Settings

Content Server

Active Directory User Setup

  • Find the user configured for the Shinydocs application in Active Directory Users and Computers

    • Right click on the user and select Properties

    • Select the Delegation tab

    • Select Trust this user for delegation to the specified services only

    • Select Use Kerberos only

    • Select Add -> new window pops up

    • Select Users or Computers

    • Search for the configured content server user above. It will show you the service type, domain name for the spn set on the content server user

    • Select the spns set for the content server user above, and click Add.

    • Select Apply to save the settings.

Authorization to OTDS

  • Ensure there is a user account created for Content Server / OTDS on the domain controller

  • Ensure OTDS is running from the user account mentioned above.  Either tomcat (External OTDS) or Content Server (internal otds) needs to run as the content server user created above.

  • Set spns for the host name(s) that the content server is running on.  If using a load balancer, ensure the spns are set for all machines in the cluster, as well as the load balancer DNS entry for the virtual ip.

setspn -S HTTP/otdsHostName domain\contentserveruser

setspn -S HTTP/ domain\contentserveruser

setspn -S HTTP/otdsHostName2 domain\contentserveruser

setspn -S HTTP/ domain\contentserveruser

setspn -S HTTP/otdsloadbalancer domain\contentserveruser

setspn -S HTTP/ domain\contentserveruser

File Share: Authorization
  • You must authorize the discoveryserverHostName as Principals that the FileShareServerName can delegate to.

  • To do this, check to see if there is any existing authorizations already set for the FileShareServerName using this command in PowerShell (as an Administrator). Any existing authorizations must be put into the next query otherwise they will get deleted when the new authorizations are set.

    Get-ADComputer FileShareServerName -Properties PrincipalsAllowedToDelegateToAccount
  • Next, set the discoveryserverHostName as well as any results returned from the above query as Principals that the FileShareServerName can delegate to with the following command. If no results are returned from the above query then you only need to pass into the below query the discoveryserverHostName.

    $Server1 = Get-ADComputer -Identity discoveryserverHostName
    $Server2 = Get-ADComputer -Identity optioncomputer1fromabovequery
    $Server3 = Get-ADComputer -Identity optioncomputer2fromabovequery
    Set-ADComputer FileShareServerName -PrincipalsAllowedToDelegateToAccount @($Server1, $Server2, $Server3)
  • Note: If Shinydocs Enterprise Search’s discovery server is load balanced, then all nodes in the load balanced cluster must be added.

Initial Testing

After configuring the above settings, you should test from your desktop and search for documents that you know you already have access to. From your desktop, you should be seamlessly authenticated to the Discovery Search server and be presented the default search screen. In the upper right hand corner you should see that you are logged in as your network account and not be presented with an authentication dialogue.

If you are not logged in automatically, check the following items first:

  • You are logged into your computer as a network user that is on the same network as the Shinydocs Enterprise (Discovery) Search server.

  • For the Enterprise (Discovery) Search server URL, you are using either the computer name, fully qualified computer name or DNS entry name and that there is an HTTP SPN registered for the service account running Kestrel or IIS for this name (you cannot use localhost if you are on the server directly)

  • The name used above is part of your trusted sites. To check this, go to Internet Options in the Control Panel and under the Security Tab, select Local Intranet and then click on sites and click on Advanced and ensure that the Enterprise (Discovery) Search server either added or matches one of the wild card entries in the list

  • If you are still prompted to login, ensure that you prefix the username with the domain you are logging into ( in the format of <DOMAIN>\<USER NAME>)


  • If the user is being endlessly prompted for authentication on IIS, this could means that Kerberos SPN's are not correctly configured.

  • Kerberos logging can be enabled by editing the following registry key:


Registry Value: LogLevel

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Value Data: 0x1

If the Parameters subkey does not exist, create it.


  • Further details at:

  • The logging events will show in the System event log, in the windows event viewer.

  • The command line tool klist can be used to see the Kerberos tickets issues on both the client machine, and the IIS server.  In the case of the client machine, it should see tickets issued for both the IIS server and OTDS server or OTDS load balancer, if it is working correctly.

  • More details about klist can be found at:

  • Ensure that the OTDS server is running as the content server user account created above, and negotiate authentication is enabled within otds.

  • Review the OTDS logs, otds.log, directory_access.log for any errors during authentication.

  • Review the security log on the iis and otds server to verify the user is being logged.  If there are lots of anonymous users being referenced in both the otds directory_access.log and the security event log, it is a clear sign delegation is not working correctly.

  • Ensure the spns have been replicated though the domain.

  • If using a fully qualified domain name, ensure that the fqdn of the machine, or the domain suffix is either in the trusted sites, or intranet sites in IE 11, Edge and Chrome.  Note, Edge and Chrome uses these site settings shown in the windows control panel Internet Options (looks exactly the same as IE 11 setttings).  These sites are found under the security tab, Local Intranet -> Sites -> Advanced.  If this is not set, the browser will not send the credentials to IIS for authentication.

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