REST API Authorization and Authentication

In a REST API, Authorization and Authentication are two distinct but related concepts that are used to ensure that only authorized users can access the API and its resources.

What is Authentication?

Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or an application that attempts to access the API. It is used to identify the user and their associated roles and permissions.

Common authentication methods include using a username and password, OAuth tokens, or JSON Web Tokens (JWT).

What is Authorization?

Authorization, on the other hand, is the process of determining whether an authenticated user has the rights to access a specific resource or perform a specific action.

It is used to ensure that a user can only access resources and perform actions that they are authorized to do based on their role and permissions.

This can be done through role-based access control (RBAC), where a user’s role is used to determine their permissions, or through access control lists (ACLs), where specific permissions are associated with individual resources.

Advantages of using both

Together, authentication and authorization provide a means for the API to ensure that only authorized users can access the resources and perform the actions. This is important for maintaining the security and integrity of the API and its data.