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Role-based Access control

This document forms the specifications for Role-Based Access Control which was introduced as part of the Unleash v4 release.

Core principles

Unleash has two levels in its hierarchy of resources:

  1. Global resources - Everything that lives across the entire Unleash instance. Examples of this include:
    • activation strategies
    • context field definitions
    • addon configurations
    • applications
    • users
  2. Project resources - Resources which are only available under a project. Today this is only “feature toggles” (but we expect more resources to live under a project in the future). A feature toggle will belong to only one single project. In Unleash-Open source there exists only a single project, the “default” project, while Unleash Enterprise supports multiple projects.

RBAC overview

Unleash v4 allows you control access to both global resources and individual project resources.

Standard roles

Unleash comes with a set of built-in roles that you can use. The global roles are available to all Unleash users, while the project-based roles are only available to Pro and Enterprise users. The below table lists the roles, what they do, and what plans they are available in. Additionally, enterprise users can create their own custom project roles.

When you add a new user, you can assign them one of the global roles listed below.

AdminGlobalUsers with the global admin role have superuser access to Unleash and can perform any operation within the Unleash platform.All versions
EditorGlobalUsers with the editor role have access to most features in Unleash but can not manage users and roles in the global scope. Editors will be added as project owners when creating projects and get superuser rights within the context of these projects. Users with the editor role will also get access to most permissions on the default project by default.All versions
ViewerGlobalUsers with the viewer role can read global resources in Unleash.All versions
OwnerProjectUsers with this the project owner role have full control over the project, and can add and manage other users within the project context; manage feature toggles within the project; and control advanced project features like archiving and deleting the project.Pro and Enterprise
MemberProjectUsers with the project member role are allowed to view, create, and update feature toggles within a project, but have limited permissions in regards to managing the project's user access and can not archive or delete the project.Pro and Enterprise

Custom Project Roles


Custom project roles were introduced in Unleash 4.6 and are only available in Unleash Enterprise.

Custom project roles let you define your own roles with a specific set of project permissions down to the environment level. The roles can then be assigned to users in specific projects. All users have viewer access to all projects and resources, but must be assigned a project role to be allowed to edit a project's resources. For a step-by-step walkthrough of how to create and assign custom project roles, see how to create and assign custom project roles.

Each custom project role consists of:

  • a name (required)
  • a role description (optional)
  • a set of project permissions (optional)
  • a set of environment permissions (optional)

Project permissions

You can assign the following project permissions. The permissions will be valid across all of the project's environments.

  • update the project

    Lets the user update project settings, such as enabling/disabling environments, add users, etc.

  • delete the project

    Lets the user delete the project.

  • create feature toggles within the project

    Lets the user create feature toggles within the project and create variants for said toggle. Note that they can not assign strategies to toggles without having the create activation strategy permission for the corresponding environment.

  • update feature toggles within the project

    Lets the user update feature toggle descriptions; mark toggles as stale / not stale; add, update, and remove toggle tags; and update toggle variants within the project.

  • delete feature toggles within the project

    Lets the user archive feature toggles within the project.

  • change feature toggle project

    Lets the user move toggles to other projects they have access to.

  • create/edit variants

    Lets the user create and edit variants within the project. (Deprecated with v4.21 in favor of environment-specific permissions for working with variants1.)

Environment permissions

You can assign the following permissions on a per-environment level within the project:

  • create activation strategies

    Lets the user assign feature toggle activation strategies within the environment.

  • update activation strategies

    Lets the user update feature toggle activation strategies within the environment.

  • delete activation strategies

    Lets the user delete feature toggle activation strategies within the environment.

  • enable/disable toggles

    Lets the user enable and disable toggles within the environment.

  • update variants

    Lets the user create, edit and remove variants within the environment.

  • approve a change request

    Lets the user approve change requests in the environment.

  • apply a change request

    Lets the user apply change requests in the environment.

  • skip change requests

    Lets the user ignore change request requirements. This applies only when using the API directly; when using the admin UI, users with this permission will still need to go through the normal change request flow. You can find more details in the section on circumventing change requests.

User Groups


User groups are available to Unleash Enterprise users since Unleash 4.14.

User groups allow you to assign roles to a group of users within a project, rather than to a user directly. This allows you to manage your user permissions more easily when there's lots of users in the system. For a guide on how to create and manage user groups see how to create and manage user groups.

A user group consists of the following:

  • a name (required)
  • a description (optional)
  • a list of users (required)
  • a list of SSO groups to sync from (optional)

Groups do nothing on their own. They must be given a role on a project to assign permissions. You can assign both standard roles and custom project roles to groups.

While a user can only have one role in a given project, a user may belong to multiple groups, and each of those groups may be given a role on a project. In the case where a given user is given permissions to a project through more than one group, the user will inherit most permissive permissions of all their groups in that project.

User Group SSO Integration


User group syncing is planned to be released in Unleash 4.18 and will be available for enterprise customers.

User groups also support integration with your Single Sign-On (SSO) provider. This allows you to automatically assign users to groups when they log in through SSO. Check out how to set up group SSO sync for a step-by-step walkthrough.

Users that have been added to a group through your SSO provider will be automatically removed next time they log in if they've been removed from the SSO group. Users that have been manually added to the group will not be affected.

To enable group sync, you'll need to set two fields in your SSO provider configuration options:

  • enable group syncing:

    Turns on group syncing. This is disabled by default.

  • group field JSON path

    A JSON path that should point to the groups field in your token response. This should match the exact field returned by the provider. For example, if your token looks like this:


    "iss": "",
    "azp": "",
    "aud": "",
    "sub": "10769150350006150715113082367",
    "at_hash": "HK6E_P6Dh8Y93mRNtsDB1Q",
    "hd": "",
    "email": "",
    "email_verified": "true",
    "groups": ["test-group", "test-group-2"], //the field where groups are specified
    "iat": 1353601026,
    "exp": 1353604926,
    "nonce": "0394852-3190485-2490358"

    You need to set the "Group Field JSON path" to "groups".

Once you've enabled group syncing and set an appropriate path, you'll need to add the SSO group names to the Unleash group. This can be done by navigating to the Unleash group you want to enable sync for and adding the SSO group names to the "SSO group ID/name" property.

  1. The project-level permission is still required for the create/overwrite variants (PUT) and update variants (PATCH) API endpoints, but it is not used for anything within the admin UI. The API endpoints have been superseded by the create/overwrite environment variants (PUT) and update environment variants (PATCH) endpoints, respectively.