Course – LSS (cat=Security/Spring Security)

I just announced the new Learn Spring Security course, including the full material focused on the new OAuth2 stack in Spring Security:


1. Overview

Security is a fundamental concern in modern web applications, particularly with the abundance of AI-powered apps heavily reliant on user data. Safeguarding this sensitive information and ensuring a secure user experience are non-negotiable priorities. Spring Security, designed to tackle these concerns, hinges on two critical components: HttpSecurity and WebSecurity.

In this tutorial, we’ll extensively explore and compare HttpSecurity and WebSecurity. Our aim will be to understand their unique roles and functionalities.

2. Spring Security

Spring Security, an extension of the Spring Framework, is a powerful and highly customizable security framework. It provides comprehensive security services for Java EE-based enterprise software applications. It’s designed to handle authentication, authorization, protection against common security vulnerabilities, and more.

Spring Security tightly integrates with two vital components; HttpSecurity and WebSecurity.

HttpSecurity is primarily responsible for configuring security for HTTP requests, while WebSecurity focuses on configuring web-based security.

At its core, Spring Security relies on essential components such as AuthenticationManager, UserDetailsService, and UserDetails. These components form the foundation of Spring Security. They allow us to implement authentication, manage user details, and define access control efficiently.

3. HttpSecurity

HttpSecurity is central to configuring authorization for HTTP requests. It allows us to define access rules based on various criteria. This includes URLs, HTTP methods, and user roles, ensuring secure access to different parts of our application.

Method chaining is a powerful feature of HttpSecurity that allows us to express security configurations fluently. By chaining methods, we can define the security behavior for specific endpoints, handle authentication mechanisms, and set up custom access rules seamlessly.

One of the key features of HttpSecurity is the ability to configure access based on roles and authorities. We can specify which roles or authorities are required to access particular URLs. Therefore, we’ll have fine-grained control over our application’s security.

HttpSecurity also enables smooth handling of login and logout functionality. So we can configure custom login pages, authentication success, and failure handling. It also allows us to implement custom logout behavior, enhancing the user experience and security.

While configuring authorization with HttpSecurity, it’s important to address security concerns. These include protecting against unauthorized access, ensuring secure authentication mechanisms, preventing session fixation, and guarding against common web vulnerabilities.

Let’s configure authorization with HttpSecurity:

public class HttpSecurityConfig {

    public SecurityFilterChain filterChain{



Here, we define access based on URLs and HTTP methods. This we achieve by implementing the authorizeRequests() method, which allows us to specify rules for different endpoints. In addition, we use formLogin() to configure login for all users and logout() to handle logout operations.

4. WebSecurity

WebSecurity in Spring Security focuses on authentication configurations for web-based security. It allows us to define how our applications handle authentication, ensuring only authorized users access certain endpoints and resources.

One approach is configuring authentication to use in-memory details. This is useful for small-scale applications or testing purposes, providing a quick way to set up authentication using hardcoded credentials.

Alternatively, we can leverage UserDetailsService, a crucial interface in Spring Security, which enables database-backed authentication. This approach fetches user details from a database, allowing for a dynamic and scalable authentication mechanism.

WebSecurity permits the customization of authentication mechanisms. We can tailor authentication processes to suit our application’s specific requirements. This might include integrating external authentication providers or utilizing multifactor authentication.

Let’s configure a simple UserDetailsService with a default password encoder:

public class WebSecurityConfig {

    private UserDetailsService userDetailsService;

    public PasswordEncoder passwordEncoder() {
        return new BCryptPasswordEncoder();

    public SecurityFilterChain filterChain(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {

        AuthenticationManagerBuilder authenticationManagerBuilder = http.getSharedObject(AuthenticationManagerBuilder.class);
        AuthenticationManager authenticationManager =;




In this instance, our focus shifts toward authentication configurations for web-based security. Within the filterChain method, we use a password encoder for enhanced security.

As in the previous HttpSecurity configuration, we override the configure(HttpSecurity http) method to allow us to configure authorization rules for various endpoints. While configuring authentication, it’s essential for us to consider potential security vulnerabilities.

Common concerns include inadequate password policies, insufficient session management, and susceptibility to common web application attacks. For instance, cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

5. HttpSecurity vs. WebSecurity

HttpSecurity and WebSecurity have distinct roles in Spring Security. The former provides fine-grained control over endpoints and methods, while the latter offers a more encompassing approach, focusing on overall web-based security configurations.

5.1. Use Cases for HttpSecurity and WebSecurity in Spring Security

The choice between HttpSecurity and WebSecurity depends on the level of control and scope of security needed for our application. We can use HttpSecurity when precise configuration at the HTTP request level is necessary. It’s ideal for defining detailed access rules, and authentication mechanisms, and handling specific HTTP requests.

Conversely, WebSecurity is more suitable for configuring general security settings for a web application, covering aspects beyond HTTP, such as authentication providers, user services, and session management. In summary, it provides a broader security strategy for the entire application.

5.2. Best Practices for Effective Security Configurations

Implementing effective security configurations is important for robust protection. It’s advisable to adhere to the principle of least privilege, granting the minimum access necessary for each user. We can enforce strong password policies and ensure secure communication through HTTPS.

Additionally, making regular updates to security configurations and libraries is crucial to patching known vulnerabilities. To maintain a robust security posture, we should also conduct periodic security audits, diligently identifying and addressing potential weaknesses.

Finally, we can consider implementing multi-factor authentication, especially for sensitive operations, just to add an extra layer of security.

5.3. Comparison Table for HttpSecurity and WebSecurity

Let’s summarize the key differences:

Aspect HttpSecurity WebSecurity
Primary Role Configuring security for HTTP requests Configuring overall web-based security
Scope Specific to HTTP requests Broader, covering aspects beyond HTTP
Focus Endpoints and methods Handling filters, authentication providers, session management
Use Cases – Defining access rules for HTTP paths – Configuring security for web applications
– Specifying authentication mechanisms – Configuring authentication providers
– Handling specific HTTP requests – Handling filters
Flexibility and Control Offers precise control over HTTP request security Provides a comprehensive approach to web security
Method Chaining Usage Widely used for defining security configurations fluently Less frequently used, typically for broader configurations
Customization Level High Moderate
Overall Application Security Focuses on a subset of application security (HTTP) Encompasses broader application security
Implementation Examples – Configuring access based on roles and authorities – Configuring global security settings
– Specifying login and logout functionality – Handling custom authentication mechanisms

6. Conclusion

In this article, we compared HttpSecurity and WebSecurity, two vital components of Spring Security, highlighting their roles, use cases, and best practices for effective security configurations.

Understanding these concepts is essential for a robust security posture in Spring applications.

As always, the full source code is available over on GitHub.

Course – LSS (cat=Security/Spring Security)

I just announced the new Learn Spring Security course, including the full material focused on the new OAuth2 stack in Spring Security:

res – Security (video) (cat=Security/Spring Security)
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