User Management

User Configuration

User management

Proxmox Backup Server supports several authentication realms, and you need to choose the realm when you add a new user. Possible realms are:

pam:Linux PAM standard authentication. Use this if you want to authenticate as Linux system user (Users need to exist on the system).
pbs:Proxmox Backup Server realm. This type stores hashed passwords in /etc/proxmox-backup/shadow.json.

After installation, there is a single user root@pam, which corresponds to the Unix superuser. User configuration information is stored in the file /etc/proxmox-backup/user.cfg. You can use the proxmox-backup-manager command line tool to list or manipulate users:

# proxmox-backup-manager user list
│ userid      │ enable │ expire │ firstname │ lastname │ email          │ comment            │
│ root@pam    │      1 │        │           │          │                │ Superuser          │
Add a new user

The superuser has full administration rights on everything, so you normally want to add other users with less privileges. You can add a new user with the user create subcommand or through the web interface, under the User Management tab of Configuration -> Access Control. The create subcommand lets you specify many options like --email or --password. You can update or change any user properties using the update subcommand later (Edit in the GUI):

# proxmox-backup-manager user create john@pbs --email
# proxmox-backup-manager user update john@pbs --firstname John --lastname Smith
# proxmox-backup-manager user update john@pbs --comment "An example user."

The resulting user list looks like this:

# proxmox-backup-manager user list
│ userid   │ enable │ expire │ firstname │ lastname │ email            │ comment          │
│ john@pbs │      1 │        │ John      │ Smith    │ │ An example user. │
│ root@pam │      1 │        │           │          │                  │ Superuser        │

Newly created users do not have any permissions. Please read the Access Control section to learn how to set access permissions.

If you want to disable a user account, you can do that by setting --enable to 0

# proxmox-backup-manager user update john@pbs --enable 0

Or completely remove the user with:

# proxmox-backup-manager user remove john@pbs

API Tokens

API Token Overview

Any authenticated user can generate API tokens which can in turn be used to configure various clients, instead of directly providing the username and password.

API tokens serve two purposes:

  1. Easy revocation in case client gets compromised
  2. Limit permissions for each client/token within the users’ permission

An API token consists of two parts: an identifier consisting of the user name, the realm and a tokenname (user@realm!tokenname), and a secret value. Both need to be provided to the client in place of the user ID (user@realm) and the user password, respectively.

API secret value

The API token is passed from the client to the server by setting the Authorization HTTP header with method PBSAPIToken to the value TOKENID:TOKENSECRET.

Generating new tokens can done using proxmox-backup-manager or the GUI:

# proxmox-backup-manager user generate-token john@pbs client1
Result: {
  "tokenid": "john@pbs!client1",
  "value": "d63e505a-e3ec-449a-9bc7-1da610d4ccde"


The displayed secret value needs to be saved, since it cannot be displayed again after generating the API token.

The user list-tokens sub-command can be used to display tokens and their metadata:

# proxmox-backup-manager user list-tokens john@pbs
│ tokenid          │ enable │ expire │ comment │
│ john@pbs!client1 │      1 │        │         │

Similarly, the user delete-token subcommand can be used to delete a token again.

Newly generated API tokens don’t have any permissions. Please read the next section to learn how to set access permissions.

Access Control

By default new users and API tokens do not have any permission. Instead you need to specify what is allowed and what is not. You can do this by assigning roles to users/tokens on specific objects like datastores or remotes. The following roles exist:

Disable Access - nothing is allowed.
Can do anything.
Can view things, but is not allowed to change settings.
Can do anything on datastores.
Can view datastore settings and list content. But is not allowed to read the actual data.
Can Inspect datastore content and can do restores.
Can backup and restore owned backups.
Can backup, restore, and prune owned backups.
Can do anything on remotes.
Can view remote settings.
Is allowed to read data from a remote.
Add permissions for user

Access permission information is stored in /etc/proxmox-backup/acl.cfg. The file contains 5 fields, separated using a colon (‘:’) as a delimiter. A typical entry takes the form:


The data represented in each field is as follows:

  1. acl identifier
  2. A 1 or 0, representing whether propagation is enabled or disabled, respectively
  3. The object on which the permission is set. This can be a specific object (single datastore, remote, etc.) or a top level object, which with propagation enabled, represents all children of the object also.
  4. The user(s)/token(s) for which the permission is set
  5. The role being set

You can manage permissions via Configuration -> Access Control -> Permissions in the web interface. Likewise, you can use the acl subcommand to manage and monitor user permissions from the command line. For example, the command below will add the user john@pbs as a DatastoreAdmin for the datastore store1, located at /backup/disk1/store1:

# proxmox-backup-manager acl update /datastore/store1 DatastoreAdmin --auth-id john@pbs

You can list the ACLs of each user/token using the following command:

# proxmox-backup-manager acl list
│ ugid     │ path              │ propagate │ roleid         │
│ john@pbs │ /datastore/store1 │         1 │ DatastoreAdmin │

A single user/token can be assigned multiple permission sets for different datastores.


Naming convention is important here. For datastores on the host, you must use the convention /datastore/{storename}. For example, to set permissions for a datastore mounted at /mnt/backup/disk4/store2, you would use /datastore/store2 for the path. For remote stores, use the convention /remote/{remote}/{storename}, where {remote} signifies the name of the remote (see Remote below) and {storename} is the name of the datastore on the remote.

API Token permissions

API token permissions are calculated based on ACLs containing their ID independent of those of their corresponding user. The resulting permission set on a given path is then intersected with that of the corresponding user.

In practice this means:

  1. API tokens require their own ACL entries
  2. API tokens can never do more than their corresponding user

Effective permissions

To calculate and display the effective permission set of a user or API token you can use the proxmox-backup-manager user permission command:

# proxmox-backup-manager user permissions john@pbs --path /datastore/store1
Privileges with (*) have the propagate flag set

Path: /datastore/store1
- Datastore.Audit (*)
- Datastore.Backup (*)
- Datastore.Modify (*)
- Datastore.Prune (*)
- Datastore.Read (*)
- Datastore.Verify (*)

# proxmox-backup-manager acl update /datastore/store1 DatastoreBackup --auth-id 'john@pbs!client1'
# proxmox-backup-manager user permissions 'john@pbs!client1' --path /datastore/store1
Privileges with (*) have the propagate flag set

Path: /datastore/store1
- Datastore.Backup (*)