SPN configurations for Kerberos Authentication – A quick reference


Many people consider configuring Kerberos authentication and making it work as a daunting task. One of the reasons for this is different configuration elements involved in the process.

One such important configuration is setting the appropriate SPN.

There are three important elements that needs to be considered while setting the Kerberos SPN for our application. I have listed them below:

1.How users will browse the application?

                       Users can browse the application with machine name or with a custom domain name. In most of the cases browsing with machine name does not need an SPN registered. But there are few exceptions.

2.The application pool identity

3. How server is going to decrypt the Kerberos token forwarded by the client.

There are two important properties under

             system.webServer/security/authentication/windowsAuthentication

  • useAppPoolCredentials: When we have useAppPoolCredentials set to true, server will decrypt the Kerberos traffic using application pool identity.
  • useKernelMode: When we have useKernelMode set to true, server will decrypt the Kerberos traffic using machine account.

Even with good understanding of Kerberos workflow and above-mentioned elements, sometimes people get confused on what SPN to set.

I have included the below table, which can be a quick reference for the SPN’s needed for different combinations of host name and application pool identities.

URL

Use Kernel Mode

Use App pool Credentials

Application pool Identity

SPN requirement

Browsed with machine name

True

False

Machine account

No additional SPN’s are needed

HOST SPN will be sufficient

Browsed with machine name

True

False

Custom domain account

No additional SPN’s are needed

HOST SPN will be sufficient

Browsed with machine name

False

True

Machine account

No additional SPN’s are needed

HOST SPN will be sufficient

Browsed with machine name

False

True

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<machine name> <custom account name>

Browsed with machine name

True

True

Machine account

No additional SPN’s are needed

HOST SPN will be sufficient

Browsed with machine name

True

True

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<machine name> <custom account name>

Browsed with custom host name

True

False

Machine account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <machine name>

Browsed with custom host name

True

False

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <machine name>

Browsed with custom host name

False

True

Machine account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <machine name>

Browsed with custom host name

False

True

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <custom account name>

Browsed with custom host name

True

True

Machine account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <machine name>

Browsed with custom host name

True

True

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <custom account name>

Browsed with machine name

False

False

Machine account

No additional SPN’s are needed

HOST SPN will be sufficient

Browsed with machine name

False

False

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<machine name> <custom account name>

Browsed with custom host name

False

False

Machine account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <machine name>

Browsed with custom host name

False

False

Custom domain account

Setspn –a HTTP/<custom host name> <custom account name>

 

Hope this helps.

Comments (1)

  1. jai says:

    Great stuff looking for this for a very long time. Thanks Ganesh

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