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Access policies

Cloudflare Access determines who can reach your application by applying the Access policies you configure.

An Access policy consists of an Action as well as rules which determine the scope of the action. To build a rule, you need to choose a Rule type, Selector, and a Value for the selector.

​​ Actions

Actions let you grant or deny permission to a certain user or user group. You can set only one action per policy.

​​ Allow

The Allow action allows users that meet certain criteria to reach an application behind Access.

The following example lets any user with an email address, as validated against an IdP, reach the application:

ActionRule typeSelectorValue
AllowIncludeEmails Ending

You can add a Require rule in the same policy action to enforce additional checks. Finally, if the policy contains an Exclude rule, users meeting that definition are prevented from reaching the application.

For example, this second configuration lets any user from Portugal with a email address, as validated against an IdP, reach the application, except for user-1 and user-2:

ActionRule typeSelectorValue
RequireEmails Ending
ExcludeEmail[email protected], [email protected]

​​ Block

The Block action prevents users from reaching an application behind Access.

For example, this configuration blocks every request to the application, except for requests from [email protected]:

ActionRule typeSelectorValue
ExcludeEmail[email protected]

​​ Bypass

The Bypass action disables any Access enforcement for traffic that meets the defined rule criteria. Bypass is typically used to enable applications that require specific endpoints to be public. For example, some applications have an endpoint under the /admin route that must be publicly routable. In this situation, you could create an Access application for the domain<your-url> and add the following Bypass policy:

ActionRule typeSelectorValue

As part of implementing a Zero Trust security model, we do not recommend using Bypass to grant direct permanent access to your internal applications. To enable seamless and secure access for on-network employees, use Cloudflare Tunnel to connect your private network and have users connect through WARP.

​​ Service Auth

Service Auth rules enforce authentication flows that do not require an identity provider IdP login, such as service tokens and mutual TLS.

ActionRule typeSelector
Service AuthIncludeValid certificate

​​ Rule types

Rules work like logical operators. They help you define which categories of users your policy will affect.

The Include rule is similar to an OR logical operator. In case more than one Include rule is specified, users need to meet only one of the criteria.The Exclude rule works like a NOT logical operator. A user meeting any Exclusion criteria will not be allowed access to the application.The Require rule works like an AND logical operator. A user must meet all specified Require rules to be allowed access.

All Access policies must contain an Include rule. This is what defines the initial pool of eligible users who can access an application. You can then add Exclude and Require rules to enforce specific policies for those users.

​​ Requiring multiple conditions

When setting up a Require rule for an Access policy, keep in mind that any values you add to the rule will be concatenated by an AND operator. For example, let’s say you want to grant access to an application to both the full-time employees and the contractors, and only the ones based in specific countries — say Portugal and the United States. If you set up a rule with the following configuration:

ActionRule typeSelectorValue
AllowRequireEmails ending,
RequireCountryUnited States, Portugal

the policy will only grant access to people reaching the application from both the United States AND Portugal, and who have both an email ending in AND in Therefore, nobody will have access to the application.

Instead, you can address this need by using Access groups. First, you can set up a group (we will call it My Access Group) that includes users in Portugal OR in the United States:

Rule typeSelectorValue
IncludeCountryUnited States, Portugal

Next, you can create a policy for your application that requires the group, and that also includes users with emails ending in either OR

ActionRule typeSelectorValue
AllowRequireMy Access Group-
IncludeEmails ending,

​​ Selectors

When you add a rule to your policy, you will be asked to specify the criteria/attributes you want users to meet. These attributes are available for all Access application types, including SaaS, self-hosted, and non-HTTP applications.

Identity-based attributes are only checked when a user authenticates to Access, whereas non-identity attributes are polled continuously for changes during the user session. If you have configured SCIM provisioning, you can force a user to re-attest all attributes with Access whenever you revoke the user in the IdP or update their IdP group membership.

SelectorDescriptionChecked at loginChecked continuously1
Emails[email protected]
Emails ending
External EvaluationAllows or denies access based on custom logic in an external API.
IP ranges192.168.100.1/24 (supports IPv4/IPv6 addresses and CIDR ranges)
CountryUses the IP address to determine country.
EveryoneAllows, denies, or bypasses access to everyone.
Common NameThe request will need to present a valid certificate with an expected common name.
Valid CertificateThe request will need to present any valid client certificate.
Service TokenThe request will need to present the correct service token headers configured for the specific application.
Any Access Service TokenThe request will need to present the headers for any service token created for this account.
Login MethodsChecks the identity provider used at the time of login.
Authentication MethodChecks the multifactor authentication method used by the user, if supported by the identity provider.
Identity provider groupChecks the user groups you configured with your identity provider (IdP). This selector only displays if you use AzureAD, GitHub, Google, or Okta as your IdP.
SAML GroupChecks a SAML attribute name / value pair. This selector only displays if you use a generic SAML identity provider.
OIDC ClaimChecks an OIDC claim name / value pair. This selector only displays if you use a generic OIDC identity provider.
Device postureChecks device posture signals from the WARP client or a third-party service provider.
WarpChecks that the device is connected to WARP, including the consumer version.
GatewayChecks that the device is connected to your Zero Trust instance through the WARP client.

1 For SaaS applications, Access can only enforce policies at the time of initial sign on and when reissuing the SaaS session. Once the user has authenticated to the SaaS app, session management falls solely within the purview of the SaaS app.

​​ Order of execution

Policies are evaluated based on their action type and ordering. Bypass and Service Auth policies are evaluated first, from top to bottom as shown in the UI. Then, Block and Allow policies are evaluated based on their order.

For example, if you have a list of policies arranged as follows:

  • Allow A
  • Block B
  • Service Auth C
  • Bypass D
  • Allow E

The policies will execute in this order: Service Auth C > Bypass D > Allow A > Block B > Allow E. Once a user matches an Allow or Block policy, evaluation stops and no subsequent policies can override the decision.