Skip to main content

Authorization Policy

An authorization policy defines what resources a user or group can access within an organization. When applying an authorization policy, factors like access management to on-premises or cloud services, authentication flows, and device identity introduce complexity that only scales with organization size.

Pomerium meets you where you are by allowing you to configure granular policies that support or extend your existing policies on a per-route, per-request basis.

Pomerium authorization policy

You can apply policies in Pomerium to Namespaces or Routes.


Pomerium Enterprise

Namespace support is available only for Enterprise customers.

Administrators can create a namespace, add users, groups, and routes to it, and configure a policy that applies to that specific namespace.


You can build TLS-encrypted routes to upstream applications and configure policy that restricts access based on the policy criteria.

Pomerium Enterprise and Core customers can configure and apply policies to routes.

Continuous verification

Pomerium continuously evaluates policy on every request.

Policy applied to any route or namespace will enforce authorization checks throughout a session, ensuring that only the intended user with the right context can access a protected resource.

Apply authorization policy

Pomerium offers three methods to configure and apply policies:

Pomerium Policy Language (PPL)

Pomerium Policy Language (PPL) is a declarative, YAML-based access control policy language you can use to configure authorization policies.

PPL is intuitive by design and defines policy with one or more rules composed of actions, logical operators, and criteria. Each criterion has a name and corresponding data.

In Pomerium Core, you can build a policy with PPL and apply it to a route in your configuration file:

- allow:
- email:

In this example, only a user with the email can access the target application.

Enterprise Console GUI

Pomerium Enterprise

The Enterprise Console provides a policy builder GUI so you can build policies and reapply them to multiple routes and namespaces. See our Enterprise page to learn more.

Use the BUILDER tab to build your policy:

Build policy with Console GUI

In this example, a user will have access if their email address ends in and their device ID matches the ID in the Value field.

Reapply policies

Reapply policies as necessary to any route or namespace:

Reapply policies to multiple routes or namespaces

Rego support

Pomerium supports policies expressed in Rego for organizations that prefer to use OPA.

See the Outputs, Inputs, and Functions reference sections below to learn how they apply to policy evaluation.


Authorization policy written in Rego is expected to return results in allow and/or deny rules:

# a policy that always allows access
allow := true
# a policy that always denies access
deny := true

Pomerium grants access according to the same rules as PPL:

Only two actions are supported: allow and deny. deny takes precedence over allow. More precisely: a user will have access to a route if at least one allow rule matches and no deny rules match.

allow and deny rules support four forms:

  1. A simple boolean:
allow := true
  1. An array with a single boolean value:
deny := [true]
  1. An array with two values: a boolean and a reason:
allow := [false, "user-unauthorized"]
  1. An array with three values: a boolean, a reason, and additional data:
allow := [false, "user-unauthorized", { "key": "value" }]

The reason value is useful for debugging, since it appears in authorization logs. There are two special reasons that trigger functionality in Pomerium:

  • user-unauthenticated indicates that the user needs to sign in, and results in a redirect to the Authenticate service
  • device-unauthenticated indicates that the user needs to register a new device


Rego scripts are evaluated with inputs available on the input object:

allow if input.http.method == "POST"

Rego defines the following inputs:

Input nameTypeDescription
httpObjectRepresents the HTTP request
http.methodStringThe method used in the HTTP request
http.hostnameStringThe hostname in the HTTP request
http.pathStringThe path in the HTTP request
http.urlStringThe full URL in the HTTP request
http.headersObjectThe headers in the HTTP request
http.client_certificateObjectThe client certificate details
http.client_certificate.presentedBooleantrue if the client presented a certificate
http.client_certificate.leafStringThe leaf certificated provided by the client (unvalidated)
http.client_certificate.intermediatesStringThe remainder of the client certificate chain
http.ipStringThe user's IP address
http.sessionObjectRepresents the user's session
http.session.idStringThe session ID
http.is_valid_client_certificateBooleantrue if the presented client certificate is valid


The function below is available in Rego scripts:

  • get_databroker_record(record_type, record_id): Returns data from the Databroker service.

For example:

session := get_databroker_record("",
Example Rego Policy

This example policy compares the given_name claim from a user's session against a list of popular first names, and only allows the 100 most popular first names.

package pomerium.policy
session = s {
s = gset_databroker_record("",
s != null
} else = s {
s = get_databroker_record("",
s != null
} else = {} {
user = u {
u = get_databroker_record("", session.user_id)
} else = {} {
allow = [true, {"custom-rego-authorized"}] {
# grab all the claims from the user and session objects
session_claims := object.get(session, "claims", {})
user_claims := object.get(user, "claims", {})
all_claims := object.union(session_claims, user_claims)
# get the given_name claim. claim values are always an array of strings
given_names := object.get(all_claims, "given_name", [])
# query a JSON dump of the most popular baby names from 2020
response := http.send({
"method": "GET",
"url": "",
"force_json_decode": true,
# only include the top 100 names
all_names := response.body.names
popular_names := array.slice(all_names, 0, 99)
# check that there's a given name in the popular names
some i
some j
popular_names[i] == given_names[j]
} else = [false, {"custom-rego-unauthorized"}] { != ""
} else = [false, {"user-unauthenticated"}] {

This example pulls session data from the Databroker service using for users and for service accounts.

Pomerium Enterprise

In the Enterprise Console, you can write policies in Rego with the PPL builder:

Apply Rego in Console editor


A policy can only support PPL or Rego. Once one is set, the other tab is disabled.

Policy overrides

Pomerium Core and Enterprise offer the following options for overriding your authorization policy:

  • Any Authenticated User: Allows access to a route with this policy attached to any user who can authenticate to your identity provider
  • CORS Preflight: Allows unauthenticated HTTP OPTIONS requests as per the CORS spec
  • Public Access: Allows complete, unrestricted access to an associated route (use this setting with caution)
robots.txt behavior

By default, Pomerium serves a robots.txt response directly, instructing search engines not to crawl the route domain:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

For routes with policies that allow public, unauthenticated access, Pomerium will not serve robots.txt directly. Instead, Pomerium will proxy requests for /robots.txt to the upstream service.

Manage devices

Pomerium Enterprise

Device identity is an Enterprise feature. Check out our Enterprise page to learn more.

The Manage Devices feature in the Enterprise Console allows you to enroll and manage user devices for policy-based authorization.

Enroll devices

The Devices List displays enrolled devices for each user and the approval status. Administrators can inspect, approve, or delete registered devices from this table.

List of user devices