OAuth 2 for REST API Security with Java Code Examples

The rise of REST APIs has revolutionized the way we exchange data between applications. But with this rise also comes the need for proper security measures to ensure that sensitive data is protected. OAuth 2 is one of the most widely adopted solutions for securing REST APIs. In this blog post, we will explain what OAuth 2 is, how it works, and provide a comprehensive example of how to implement it in a Java application.

What is OAuth 2:

OAuth 2 is an open-standard authorization framework that allows clients to access resources from a resource server via an authorization server. It provides a secure and simple way to grant access to sensitive information without having to share login credentials. OAuth 2 provides several different grant types, each suited for different use cases, such as authorization code, implicit, password, client credentials, and refresh token grants.

How OAuth 2 Works:

OAuth 2 works by establishing a secure flow of communication between a client application, an authorization server, and a resource server. The client requests access to a resource from the resource server via the authorization server. If the request is granted, the authorization server returns an access token, which the client can then use to access the requested resource.

OAuth 2 Grant Types:

  • Authorization Code Grant: The authorization code grant is used for applications running on a web server. It involves a redirect to the authorization server where the user is asked to grant access to their resources. The authorization server returns an authorization code, which the client can then use to obtain an access token.
  • Implicit Grant: The implicit grant is used for client-side applications, such as single-page applications, where the client has limited server-side capabilities. The authorization server returns an access token directly, without requiring an authorization code.
  • Password Grant: The password grant is used when the client wants to access a resource on behalf of a user. The client provides the user’s credentials directly to the authorization server, which returns an access token.
  • Client Credentials Grant: The client credentials grant is used for machine-to-machine communication, where the client is acting on its own behalf and not on behalf of a user. The client provides its own credentials directly to the authorization server, which returns an access token.
  • Refresh Token Grant: The refresh token grant is used to obtain a new access token when the previous access token has expired. The client provides the refresh token to the authorization server, which returns a new access token.

Implementing OAuth 2 in Java:

Here is a comprehensive example of how to implement OAuth 2 in a Java application using the Spring Security framework. We will be using the authorization code grant type in this example.

1. Set up the Maven Project:


2. Configure the Authorization Server:

public class AuthorizationServerConfig extends AuthorizationServerConfigurerAdapter {

    private AuthenticationManager authenticationManager;

    public void configure(ClientDetailsServiceConfigurer clients) throws Exception {
                .scopes("read", "write")
	public void configure(AuthorizationServerEndpointsConfigurer endpoints) throws Exception {
				.authorizationCodeServices(new JdbcAuthorizationCodeServices(dataSource))

	public TokenStore tokenStore() {
		return new JdbcTokenStore(dataSource);

	public ApprovalStore approvalStore() {
		return new JdbcApprovalStore(dataSource);

3. Configure the Resource Server:

public class ResourceServerConfig extends ResourceServerConfigurerAdapter {
	private TokenStore tokenStore;

	public void configure(ResourceServerSecurityConfigurer resources) {

	public void configure(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {

4. Request Access:

String authorizationRequest = "http://localhost:8080/oauth/authorize?client_id=clientId&response_type=code&redirect_uri=http://localhost:8080/callback";

5. Handle the Authorization Response:

String code = request.getParameter("code");

RestTemplate restTemplate = new RestTemplate();
MultiValueMap<String, String> map = new LinkedMultiValueMap<>();
map.add("grant_type", "authorization_code");
map.add("code", code);
map.add("redirect_uri", "http://localhost:8080/callback");
map.add("client_id", "clientId");
map.add("client_secret", "clientSecret");

HttpHeaders headers = new HttpHeaders();

HttpEntity<MultiValueMap<String, String>> requestEntity = new HttpEntity<>(map, headers);

ResponseEntity<OAuth2AccessToken> responseEntity = restTemplate.exchange("http://localhost:8080/oauth/token", HttpMethod.POST, requestEntity, OAuth2AccessToken.class);

OAuth2AccessToken accessToken = responseEntity.getBody();

6. Use the Access Token:

HttpHeaders headers = new HttpHeaders();

HttpEntity<String> requestEntity = new HttpEntity<>(headers);

ResponseEntity<String> responseEntity = restTemplate.exchange("http://localhost:8080/resource", HttpMethod.GET, requestEntity, String.class);

String resource = responseEntity.getBody();


OAuth 2 is a widely adopted solution for securing REST APIs, providing a secure and simple way to grant authorization to third-party applications. In this post, we covered the basics of OAuth 2 and showed how to implement it in a Java-based application using Spring Security OAuth2. With this implementation, users can grant access to their protected resources without sharing their passwords, and third-party applications can access these resources with the user’s consent.

It is important to remember that OAuth 2 is just one option for securing REST APIs and may not be suitable for all use cases. Other alternatives include basic authentication and API keys, and it’s crucial to choose the right approach based on your specific needs.

By following the steps outlined in this post, you can easily secure your REST APIs using OAuth 2 and ensure that sensitive data is protected.