How to set up KeyCloak for OAuth2 client credentials flow?

We live in the age of microservices.

Microservices are often deployed as REST APIs.

And the most popular way to protect and access these REST APIs is through OAuth2 protocol.

And in OAuth2 protocol ,the preferred way to protect REST APIs is through client credentials.

To set this,

You first need an Identity and Access Management provider or in OAuth2 terms ,an authorization server.

KeyCloak is one such authorization server.

This post explains how to set up a KeyCloak server for client credentials flow in OAuth2.

Once the set up is done you will be able to protect your REST APIs / microservices using OAuth2(these are called resource servers in OAuth2)

And also you will be able to access OAuth2 protected resources using client credentials from other microservices (these are called clients in OAuth2 terms).

Below is the algorithm to set up client credentials flow in KeyCloak:

STEP 1: Download KeyCloak

STEP 2: Run KeyCloak

STEP 3: Create an admin user

STEP 4: Create a realm

STEP 5: Create an OAuth2 client

STEP 6: Get OAuth2 configuration details

STEP 7: Test

STEP 1: Download KeyCloak

You can download keycloak from here

STEP 2: Run KeyCloak

To run keycloak first unzip the folder downloaded in step 1.

Go to bin folder and run the command:

This will start keycloak server at port 8080.

Launch http://localhost:8080:

Your keycloak server is up and running now.

STEP 3: Create an admin user

To create an admin user , enter username ,password and password confirmation in the home page

This will create an admin user.

Then click on “Administration Console” link.

A login page will be displayed:

Login using your admin credentials.


STEP 4: Create a realm

Once logged in as admin ,create a realm. This is a top level organization method followed by most IAM(Identity and Access Management) providers.

You can create a new realm by hovering over Master drop down menu on the left:

STEP 5: Create a client

Once you create a realm, go to Client on the left pane and create a new client:

Once you create the client you will be shown a lot of configuration options.

Remember we need to set this client for “client credentials” flow in OAuth2.

So do the below three configuration here:

i) Set access type as “confidential”

ii) Switch ON “Service Accounts Enabled”

iii) Switch OFF other modes (Standard Flow enabled ,Direct Access Grants Enabled etc)

Click on “save”.

Once you do this your client secret is automatically generated:

You need to use this secret and you client id (“myclient” in the above case) to generate access token which will be used to access OAuth2 protected “resource servers”.

Our keycloak set up is now complete.


STEP 6: Get OAuth2 configuration details

Now you need to know what the “resource server” url is.

what the “access token url” (to get access token) is.

You can get this by hitting this url:


Notice that you need to use the realm name which you created here.

I have used “myrealm”

Notice the “issuer” .This is the resource server url. If you want to protect your microservice you need to use this url.

Notice the “token_endpoint” url . This is the url to fetch tokens if you are an OAuth2 client.

STEP 7: Test

Now let’s test by creating a simple microservice in Spring Boot and protecting it with OAuth2.

Also we will try to hit the service using the client credentials we created in STEP 5.

This is explained in this post.

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