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GitHub Authentication

JuptyerHub is working, but a problem is that we have to add new users(students) to the serever manually. It would be better if users could log in to JupyterHub with their own usernames and passwords. It would also be nice to not have to manage any of these usernames or passwords.

One solution to this problem is have students log into JupyterHub with GitHub usernames and passwords.

In the current setup, users (students) have to be added to the JupyterHub server before they can log in. This is OK for a small team or a couple users, but for a college class, creating a new user on the server for each student, then emailing each student a seperate username and password...

Ah! what a mess.

One solution is to give JupyterHub the authority to create new users on the server. Then allow users (students) to login to JupyterHub with usernames and passwords they already have.

One of the ways students could log into JupyterHub is using their GitHub credentials. This solution requires each student to have a GitHub account. A GitHub account for each student might be worth it. A benefit is a GitHub account gives students exposure to git and GitHub as a tools.

So let's give the GitHub authenticator for JupyterHub a whirl. The GitHub authenticator is also pretty well documented, so it's good authenticator to try first.

Install oauthenticator

To use the GitHub authenticator in JupyterHub, first we need to install oauthenticator. I couldn't find oauthenticator on conda-forge so I installed it with pip. Remember we need to be in the (jupyterhubenv) virtual environment when we run the pip command.

$ conda activate jupyterhubenv
(jupyterhubenv)$ pip install conda install oauthenticator

Create GitHub OAuth App

Next we need to log into GitHub and create an OAuth App. After the GitHub OAuth App is created, copy the Client ID and Client Secret. The processes is:

GitHub profile --> Settings --> Developer Settings --> OAuth Apps --> Register a new application

GitHub settings

GitHub developer settings

GitHub register new applicaiton

Set the Homepage URL as:

Set the Authorization call-back URL as:

Then click [Register Application]

GitHub register new app

In the App Settings page, we need to copy two settings:

  • Client ID
  • Client Secret

GitHub client id and secret

The Client ID and Client Secret strings will be pasted into the file.

Modify to use GitHub OAuth

Now we'll edit the file to include a couple additional lines.

Note in the configuration below, #c.Authenticator.whitelist is commented out. We want to see if a GitHub user can log onto the server (which will automatically create a new user and spawn a Jupyter notebook server) and run notebooks. Once we know the server is working, we can un-comment the #c.Authenticator.whitelist and only allow in specific GitHub usernames. Also Note c.LocalGitHubOAuthenticator.client_id = 'xxxx' and c.LocalGitHubOAuthenticator.client_secret='xxxx' are the long strings from our GitHub OAuth App.

# /etc/jupyterhub/

# Configuration file for JupyterHub to run GitHub OAuth.
# Need to get client ID and client secret from GitHub --> User Settings --> Developer Settings --> OAuth Apps
# also need to pip install oauthenticator

from oauthenticator.github import LocalGitHubOAuthenticator
c.JupyterHub.authenticator_class = LocalGitHubOAuthenticator

# Set up config
c = get_config()
c.JupyterHub.log_level = 10
c.Spawner.cmd = '/opt/miniconda3/envs/jupyterhubenv/bin/jupyterhub-singleuser'

# Cookie Secret Files
c.JupyterHub.cookie_secret_file = '/srv/jupyterhub/jupyterhub_cookie_secret'
c.ConfigurableHTTPProxy.auth_token = '/srv/jupyterhub/proxy_auth_token'

# GitHub OAuth Login
c.LocalGitHubOAuthenticator.oauth_callback_url = ''
c.LocalGitHubOAuthenticator.client_id = 'XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX'
c.LocalGitHubOAuthenticator.create_system_users = True

#c.Authenticator.whitelist = {'peter','username1','username2'}
c.Authenticator.admin_users = {'peter'}

Restart JupyterHub and login with GitHub

Restart JupyterHub with:

$ sudo systemctl stop jupyterhub
$ sudo systemctl start jupyterhub
$ sudo systemctl status jupyterhub
# [Ctrl]-[c] to exit

Browse over to our server's URL. We see [Sign in with GitHub] in the middle of the page. Log into JupyterHub with a GitHub username and password.

Sign in with GitHub

After we log in using a GitHub username and password, we can see if JupyterHub created a new user (with our GitHub username) on the server. The command below produces a long list of users. The long list of users contains the non-root sudo user peter and the GitHub user.

$ awk -F':' '{ print $1}' /etc/passwd


We can also verify the GitHub user logged in by going to the /home/ directory on the server. Inside of /home/ should be a home directory for the GitHub user. Inside the GitHub user's directory are any notebooks we just created after we logged in with our GitHub credentials.

$ cd /home
$ ls
peter  githubusername
$ cd githubusername
$ ls

Next Steps

The next step is to program JupyterHub to accept Google usernames and passwords. This will allow students to log into JupyterHub using their college usernames and passwords.