How to implement authorization in a Gorilla application

Published by Alex Olivier on January 22, 2024
How to implement authorization in a Gorilla application

Businesses today rise and fall on the quality and integrity of their digital resources. Securing those resources is Job 1 for the IT team and includes not only preventing malware and viruses from gaining entry and wreaking havoc but also ensuring sensitive personal data is not exposed to misuse, even unintentional misuse.

Authentication and authorization are the twin pillars of effective data access protocols and in this post, we'll take a quick look at how to implement Cerbos authorization into your Gorilla application.

A pocket guide to implementing Cerbos authorization in a Gorilla application

The following is a simplified step-by-step guide to implementing Cerbos authorization.

Step 1: Install the Cerbos library

Step 2: Define your access policies using Cerbos policy language and save these policies in a file (example: cerbos.conf)

Step 3: Integrate Cerbos with your application by importing the Cerbos library, creating a path to your policy file and initializing the Cerbos engine.

Step 4: Create a Gorilla handler function that initiates Cerbos to handle authorization prior to allowing access.

Step 5: Use Gorilla middleware to integrate Cerbos authorization into your app. (Note: This step is optional but may help you avoid duplicating authorization logic.)

Step 6: Account for possible errors that might occur during authorization and make sure to return the appropriate HTTP status code (i.e. 401, 500 etc.).

Step 7: Test the implementation by simulating a variety of different scenarios where both authorized and unauthorized individuals attempt to gain access to your Gorilla app.

Step 8: Don’t forget to replace placeholder values such as “your-identity” with real values relevant to your application.

Benefits of integrating Cerbos authorization into your Gorilla app

There are a wide range of benefits to integrating Cerbos authorization into your Gorilla app, including (but not limited to):

Adaptability: Cerbos is easily updated to stay in step with changing industry standards. Modify access control on the fly and stay current with all your compliance obligations.

Centralized control: Cerbos provides centralized control over access control policies, enabling you to manage roles and permissions from a single central platform.

Easy integration: Cerbos access control language is agnostic making it easy to integrate with your existing system regardless of which programming language is present.

Scalability: Cerbos easily scales with your business as it grows, adapting quickly to changing requirements and providing uninterrupted service.

Real-time monitoring: Cerbos provides you with the ability to monitor access activity in real-time, generate detailed reports and enhance your enforcement capabilities.

Reduced development time: Cerbos’ standardized pre-built authorization solution enables you to bypass having to develop your own authorization system.


In conclusion, implementing Cerbos authorization in a Gorilla application is both fairly straightforward and highly beneficial for ensuring the application is secure and scalable.

Relevant links

Are you looking to improve your application's authorization logic and security? Look no further than Cerbos! Discover how Cerbos works and explore its powerful features:

  • Cerbos playground, where you can easily build and test policies in an online editor
  • Cerbos ecosystem and its seamless integrations with various SDKs, modern frameworks, and authentication providers
  • Learn more about Cerbos Hub here

Get started building your first policies with ease and join the companies that trust Cerbos in production for their authorization needs.

Book a free Policy Workshop to discuss your requirements and get your first policy written by the Cerbos team