XEP-0101: HTTP Authentication using Jabber Tickets

This document defines a protocol for authenticating HTTP requests using Jabber Tickets.
Richard Dobson
© 2003 – 2018 XMPP Standards Foundation. SEE LEGAL NOTICES.


WARNING: This document has been automatically Deferred after 12 months of inactivity in its previous Experimental state. Implementation of the protocol described herein is not recommended for production systems. However, exploratory implementations are encouraged to resume the standards process.
Standards Track
0.2.1 (2018-11-03)
Document Lifecycle
  1. Experimental
  2. Deferred
  3. Proposed
  4. Stable
  5. Final

1. Introduction

Jabber Ticket Authentication is a method of authenticating with HTTP servers using your jabber identification.

This allows you to login to websites using your jabber address in a single sign-on fashion similar to .NET Passport, but unlike .NET Passport is not locked into a single authentication provider.

Tickets also mean the jabber ticket provider and the web server do not need to be tightly integrated for authentication to work, also because it's not tightly integrated it means webmasters do not need to setup their own jabber server to provide tickets, they can use a third party provider even a central "tickets.jabber.org". Also because tickets are not tightly integrated it makes it far easier for webmasters to integrate with Jabber, it also makes web farms far more scalable and reliable.

2. Requirements

The motivations for this document are:

3. Use Cases

3.1 Client web browser window requests a Jabber Ticket Authentication protected web page

Example 1. Request for page
GET http://www.webserver.com/webpage.html HTTP/1.1
Example 2. The server responds with a 401 and WWW-Authenticate header
401 Unauthorised HTTP/1.1
WWW-Authenticate: JabberTicket realm="ticket.server.com"

The realm is the JID you need to request your JabberTicket from.

3.2 Client requests JabberTicket

Example 3. Request for ticket
  <query xmlns="http://jabber.org/protocol/ticket"/>
Example 4. Server responds with jabber ticket
  <query xmlns="http://jabber.org/protocol/ticket">

The ticket is encrypted data represented as a string, the client does not need to decode it since it is passed to the webserver unaltered.

3.3 Client replies to 401 HTTP error

Example 5. Client HTTP request
GET http://www.webserver.com/webpage.html HTTP/1.1
Authorization: JabberTicket 54yudvjhssa76dta6sgdst78r4sadsfjdhs...

3.4 Server responds and allows or denies access to the file

Example 6. Server allows access
200 OK HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: text/html
Example 7. Server denies access
403 Forbidden HTTP/1.1

4. Implementation Notes

The following guidelines may assist developers.

5. Security Considerations

5.1 Man in the middle

This form of HTTP authentication is susceptable to man in the middle attack where the ticket could be captured and retransmitted by someone else, but this can be solved by using an encrypted jabber connection (e.g. HTTPS) and an HTTPS connection to the webserver.

5.2 Key length

It is recommended the encryption key length for the ticket be long enough to make it hard to crack the ticket.

5.3 Ticket expiration

It is recommended the ticket has an expiration and that it be between a few minutes and a few hours, e.g. 60 minutes.

6. IANA Considerations

The HTTP authentication scheme "JabberTicket" may need to be registered with IANA.

7. XMPP Registrar Considerations

The XMPP Registrar [1] will need to register the new namespace of "http://jabber.org/protocol/ticket".


Appendix A: Document Information

XMPP Standards Foundation
Standards Track
Last Updated
Approving Body
XMPP Council
XMPP Core, RFC 2616, RFC 2617, XEP-0030
Superseded By
Short Name
Not yet assigned
Source Control

This document in other formats: XML  PDF

Appendix B: Author Information

Richard Dobson


This XMPP Extension Protocol is copyright © 1999 – 2024 by the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF).


Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this specification (the "Specification"), to make use of the Specification without restriction, including without limitation the rights to implement the Specification in a software program, deploy the Specification in a network service, and copy, modify, merge, publish, translate, distribute, sublicense, or sell copies of the Specification, and to permit persons to whom the Specification is furnished to do so, subject to the condition that the foregoing copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Specification. Unless separate permission is granted, modified works that are redistributed shall not contain misleading information regarding the authors, title, number, or publisher of the Specification, and shall not claim endorsement of the modified works by the authors, any organization or project to which the authors belong, or the XMPP Standards Foundation.

Disclaimer of Warranty

## NOTE WELL: This Specification is provided on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ##

Limitation of Liability

In no event and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or otherwise, unless required by applicable law (such as deliberate and grossly negligent acts) or agreed to in writing, shall the XMPP Standards Foundation or any author of this Specification be liable for damages, including any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising from, out of, or in connection with the Specification or the implementation, deployment, or other use of the Specification (including but not limited to damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses), even if the XMPP Standards Foundation or such author has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

IPR Conformance

This XMPP Extension Protocol has been contributed in full conformance with the XSF's Intellectual Property Rights Policy (a copy of which can be found at <https://xmpp.org/about/xsf/ipr-policy> or obtained by writing to XMPP Standards Foundation, P.O. Box 787, Parker, CO 80134 USA).

Visual Presentation

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Appendix D: Relation to XMPP

The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is defined in the XMPP Core (RFC 6120) and XMPP IM (RFC 6121) specifications contributed by the XMPP Standards Foundation to the Internet Standards Process, which is managed by the Internet Engineering Task Force in accordance with RFC 2026. Any protocol defined in this document has been developed outside the Internet Standards Process and is to be understood as an extension to XMPP rather than as an evolution, development, or modification of XMPP itself.

Appendix E: Discussion Venue

The primary venue for discussion of XMPP Extension Protocols is the <standards@xmpp.org> discussion list.

Discussion on other xmpp.org discussion lists might also be appropriate; see <https://xmpp.org/community/> for a complete list.

Given that this XMPP Extension Protocol normatively references IETF technologies, discussion on the <xsf-ietf@xmpp.org> list might also be appropriate.

Errata can be sent to <editor@xmpp.org>.

Appendix F: Requirements Conformance

The following requirements keywords as used in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119: "MUST", "SHALL", "REQUIRED"; "MUST NOT", "SHALL NOT"; "SHOULD", "RECOMMENDED"; "SHOULD NOT", "NOT RECOMMENDED"; "MAY", "OPTIONAL".

Appendix G: Notes

1. The XMPP Registrar maintains a list of reserved protocol namespaces as well as registries of parameters used in the context of XMPP extension protocols approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation. For further information, see <https://xmpp.org/registrar/>.

Appendix H: Revision History

Note: Older versions of this specification might be available at https://xmpp.org/extensions/attic/

  1. Version 0.2.1 (2018-11-03)
    Fix a bunch of typos, batch-style.
  2. Version 0.2 (2004-01-18)
    Expanded introduction, requirements, implementation notes, security concerns, and added server response use case.
  3. Version 0.1 (2003-06-25)
    Initial version.

Appendix I: Bib(La)TeX Entry

@report{dobson2003not yet assigned,
  title = {HTTP Authentication using Jabber Tickets},
  author = {Dobson, Richard},
  type = {XEP},
  number = {0101},
  version = {0.2.1},
  institution = {XMPP Standards Foundation},
  url = {https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0101.html},
  date = {2003-06-25/2018-11-03},