Eloquent roles and abilities.

v1.1.1 2023-08-17 22:26 UTC




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Bouncer is an elegant, framework-agnostic approach to managing roles and abilities for any app using Eloquent models.

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Bouncer is an elegant, framework-agnostic approach to managing roles and abilities for any app using Eloquent models. With an expressive and fluent syntax, it stays out of your way as much as possible: use it when you want, ignore it when you don't.

For a quick, glanceable list of Bouncer's features, check out the cheat sheet.

Bouncer works well with other abilities you have hard-coded in your own app. Your code always takes precedence: if your code allows an action, Bouncer will not interfere.

Once installed, you can simply tell the bouncer what you want to allow at the gate:

// Give a user the ability to create posts
Bouncer::allow($user)->to('create', Post::class);

// Alternatively, do it through a role
Bouncer::allow('admin')->to('create', Post::class);

// You can also grant an ability only to a specific model
Bouncer::allow($user)->to('edit', $post);

When you check abilities at Laravel's gate, Bouncer will automatically be consulted. If Bouncer sees an ability that has been granted to the current user (whether directly, or through a role) it'll authorize the check.


Note: Bouncer requires PHP 7.2+ and Laravel/Eloquent 6.0+

If you're not up to date, use Bouncer RC6. It supports all the way back to PHP 5.5 & Laravel 5.1, and has no known bugs.

Installing Bouncer in a Laravel app

  1. Install Bouncer with composer:

    composer require silber/bouncer
  2. Add Bouncer's trait to your user model:

    use Silber\Bouncer\Database\HasRolesAndAbilities;
    class User extends Model
        use HasRolesAndAbilities;
  3. Now, to run Bouncer's migrations. First publish the migrations into your app's migrations directory, by running the following command:

    php artisan vendor:publish --tag="bouncer.migrations"
  4. Finally, run the migrations:

    php artisan migrate


Whenever you use the Bouncer facade in your code, remember to add this line to your namespace imports at the top of the file:

use Bouncer;

For more information about Laravel Facades, refer to the Laravel documentation.

Installing Bouncer in a non-Laravel app

  1. Install Bouncer with composer:

    composer require silber/bouncer
  2. Set up the database with the Eloquent Capsule component:

    use Illuminate\Database\Capsule\Manager as Capsule;
    $capsule = new Capsule;
    $capsule->addConnection([/* connection config */]);

    Refer to the Eloquent Capsule documentation for more details.

  3. Run the migrations by either of the following methods:

  4. Add Bouncer's trait to your user model:

    use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;
    use Silber\Bouncer\Database\HasRolesAndAbilities;
    class User extends Model
        use HasRolesAndAbilities;
  5. Create an instance of Bouncer:

    use Silber\Bouncer\Bouncer;
    $bouncer = Bouncer::create();
    // If you are in a request with a current user
    // that you'd wish to check permissions for,
    // pass that user to the "create" method:
    $bouncer = Bouncer::create($user);

    If you're using dependency injection in your app, you may register the Bouncer instance as a singleton in the container:

    use Silber\Bouncer\Bouncer;
    use Illuminate\Container\Container;
    Container::getInstance()->singleton(Bouncer::class, function () {
        return Bouncer::create();

    You can now inject Bouncer into any class that needs it.

    The create method creates a Bouncer instance with sensible defaults. To fully customize it, use the make method to get a factory instance. Call create() on the factory to create the Bouncer instance:

    use Silber\Bouncer\Bouncer;
    $bouncer = Bouncer::make()

    Check out the Factory class to see all the customizations available.

Enabling cache

By default, Bouncer's queries are cached for the current request. For better performance, you may want to enable cross-request caching.


Adding roles and abilities to users is made extremely easy. You do not have to create a role or an ability in advance. Simply pass the name of the role/ability, and Bouncer will create it if it doesn't exist.

Note: the examples below all use the Bouncer facade. If you don't use facades, you can instead inject an instance of Silber\Bouncer\Bouncer into your class.

Creating roles and abilities

Let's create a role called admin and give it the ability to ban-users from our site:


That's it. Behind the scenes, Bouncer will create both a Role model and an Ability model for you.

If you want to add additional attributes to the role/ability, such as a human-readable title, you can manually create them using the role and ability methods on the Bouncer class:

$admin = Bouncer::role()->firstOrCreate([
    'name' => 'admin',
    'title' => 'Administrator',

$ban = Bouncer::ability()->firstOrCreate([
    'name' => 'ban-users',
    'title' => 'Ban users',


Assigning roles to a user

To now give the admin role to a user, simply tell the bouncer that the given user should be assigned the admin role:


Alternatively, you can call the assign method directly on the user:


Giving a user an ability directly

Sometimes you might want to give a user an ability directly, without using a role:


Here too you can accomplish the same directly off of the user:


Restricting an ability to a model

Sometimes you might want to restrict an ability to a specific model type. Simply pass the model name as a second argument:

Bouncer::allow($user)->to('edit', Post::class);

If you want to restrict the ability to a specific model instance, pass in the actual model instead:

Bouncer::allow($user)->to('edit', $post);

Allowing a user or role to "own" a model

Use the toOwn method to allow users to manage their own models:


Now, when checking at the gate whether the user may perform an action on a given post, the post's user_id will be compared to the logged-in user's id (this can be customized). If they match, the gate will allow the action.

The above will grant all abilities on a user's "owned" models. You can restrict the abilities by following it up with a call to the to method:


// Or pass it an array of abilities:
Bouncer::allow($user)->toOwn(Post::class)->to(['view', 'update']);

You can also allow users to own all types of models in your application:


// And to restrict ownership to a given ability

Retracting a role from a user

The bouncer can also retract a previously-assigned role from a user:


Or do it directly on the user:


Removing an ability

The bouncer can also remove an ability previously granted to a user:


Or directly on the user:


Note: if the user has a role that allows them to ban-users, they will still have that ability. To disallow it, either remove the ability from the role or retract the role from the user.

If the ability has been granted through a role, tell the bouncer to remove the ability from the role instead:


To remove an ability for a specific model type, pass in its name as a second argument:

Bouncer::disallow($user)->to('delete', Post::class);

Warning: if the user has an ability to delete a specific $post instance, the code above will not remove that ability. You will have to remove the ability separately - by passing in the actual $post as a second argument - as shown below.

To remove an ability for a specific model instance, pass in the actual model instead:

Bouncer::disallow($user)->to('delete', $post);

Note: the disallow method only removes abilities that were previously given to this user/role. If you want to disallow a subset of what a more-general ability has allowed, use the forbid method.

Forbidding an ability

Bouncer also allows you to forbid a given ability, for more fine-grained control. At times you may wish to grant a user/role an ability that covers a wide range of actions, but then restrict a small subset of those actions.

Here are some examples:

  • You might allow a user to generally view all documents, but have a specific highly-classified document that they should not be allowed to view:

    Bouncer::allow($user)->to('view', Document::class);
    Bouncer::forbid($user)->to('view', $classifiedDocument);
  • You may wish to allow your superadmins to do everything in your app, including adding/removing users. Then you may have an admin role that can do everything besides managing users:

  • You may wish to occasionally ban users, removing their permission to all abilities. However, actually removing all of their roles & abilities would mean that when the ban is removed we'll have to figure out what their original roles and abilities were.

    Using a forbidden ability means that they can keep all their existing roles and abilities, but still not be authorized for anything. We can accomplish this by creating a special banned role, for which we'll forbid everything:


    Then, whenever we want to ban a user, we'll assign them the banned role:


    To remove the ban, we'll simply retract the role from the user:


As you can see, Bouncer's forbidden abilities gives you a lot of granular control over the permissions in your app.

Unforbidding an ability

To remove a forbidden ability, use the unforbid method:

Bouncer::unforbid($user)->to('view', $classifiedDocument);

Note: this will remove any previously-forbidden ability. It will not authomatically allow the ability if it's not already allowed by a different regular ability granted to this user/role.

Checking a user's roles

Note: Generally speaking, you should not have a need to check roles directly. It is better to allow a role certain abilities, then check for those abilities instead. If what you need is very general, you can create very broad abilities. For example, an access-dashboard ability is always better than checking for admin or editor roles directly. For the rare occasion that you do want to check a role, that functionality is available here.

The bouncer can check if a user has a specific role:


If the role you're checking starts with a vowel, you might want to use the an alias method:


For the inverse, you can also check if a user doesn't have a specific role:



You can check if a user has one of many roles:

Bouncer::is($user)->a('moderator', 'editor');

You can also check if the user has all of the given roles:

Bouncer::is($user)->all('editor', 'moderator');

You can also check if a user has none of the given roles:

Bouncer::is($user)->notAn('editor', 'moderator');

These checks can also be done directly on the user:



$user->isAll('editor', 'moderator');

Querying users by their roles

You can query your users by whether they have a given role:

$users = User::whereIs('admin')->get();

You may also pass in multiple roles, to query for users that have any of the given roles:

$users = User::whereIs('superadmin', 'admin')->get();

To query for users who have all of the given roles, use the whereIsAll method:

$users = User::whereIsAll('sales', 'marketing')->get();

Getting all roles for a user

You can get all roles for a user directly from the user model:

$roles = $user->getRoles();

Getting all abilities for a user

You can get all abilities for a user directly from the user model:

$abilities = $user->getAbilities();

This will return a collection of the user's allowed abilities, including any abilities granted to the user through their roles.

You can also get a list of abilities that have been explicitly forfidden:

$forbiddenAbilities = $user->getForbiddenAbilities();

Authorizing users

Authorizing users is handled directly at Laravel's Gate, or on the user model ($user->can($ability)).

For convenience, the Bouncer class provides these passthrough methods:

Bouncer::can($ability, $model);

Bouncer::canAny($abilities, $model);

Bouncer::cannot($ability, $model);

Bouncer::authorize($ability, $model);

These call directly into their equivalent methods on the Gate class.

Blade directives

Bouncer does not add its own blade directives. Since Bouncer works directly with Laravel's gate, simply use its @can directive to check for the current user's abilities:

@can ('update', $post)
    <a href="{{ route('post.update', $post) }}">Edit Post</a>

Since checking for roles directly is generally not recommended, Bouncer does not ship with a separate directive for that. If you still insist on checking for roles, you can do so using the general @if directive:

@if ($user->isAn('admin'))

Refreshing the cache

All queries executed by Bouncer are cached for the current request. If you enable cross-request caching, the cache will persist across different requests.

Whenever you need, you can fully refresh the bouncer's cache:


Note: fully refreshing the cache for all users uses cache tags if they're available. Not all cache drivers support this. Refer to Laravel's documentation to see if your driver supports cache tags. If your driver does not support cache tags, calling refresh might be a little slow, depending on the amount of users in your system.

Alternatively, you can refresh the cache only for a specific user:



Bouncer fully supports multi-tenant apps, allowing you to seamlessly integrate Bouncer's roles and abilities for all tenants within the same app.

The scope middleware

To get started, first publish the scope middleware into your app:

php artisan vendor:publish --tag="bouncer.middleware"

The middleware will now be published to app/Http/Middleware/ScopeBouncer.php. This middleware is where you tell Bouncer which tenant to use for the current request. For example, assuming your users all have an account_id attribute, this is what your middleware would look like:

public function handle($request, Closure $next)
    $tenantId = $request->user()->account_id;


    return $next($request);

You are of course free to modify this middleware to fit your app's needs, such as pulling the tenant information from a subdomain et al.

Now with the middleware in place, be sure to register it in your HTTP Kernel:

protected $middlewareGroups = [
    'web' => [
        // Keep the existing middleware here, and add this:

All of Bouncer's queries will now be scoped to the given tenant.

Customizing Bouncer's scope

Depending on your app's setup, you may not actually want all of the queries to be scoped to the current tenant. For example, you may have a fixed set of roles/abilities that are the same for all tenants, and only allow your users to control which users are assigned which roles, and which roles have which abilities. To achieve this, you can tell Bouncer's scope to only scope the relationships between Bouncer's models, but not the models themselves:


Furthermore, your app might not even allow its users to control which abilities a given role has. In that case, tell Bouncer's scope to exclude role abilities from the scope, so that those relationships stay global across all tenants:


If your needs are even more specialized than what's outlined above, you can create your own Scope with whatever custom logic you need:

use Silber\Bouncer\Contracts\Scope;

class MyScope implements Scope
    // Whatever custom logic your app needs

Then, in a service provider, register your custom scope:

Bouncer::scope(new MyScope);

Bouncer will call the methods on the Scope interface at various points in its execution. You are free to handle them according to your specific needs.


Bouncer ships with sensible defaults, so most of the time there should be no need for any configuration. For finer-grained control, Bouncer can be customized by calling various configuration methods on the Bouncer class.

If you only use one or two of these config options, you can stick them into your main AppServiceProvider's boot method. If they start growing, you may create a separate BouncerServiceProvider class in your app/Providers directory (remember to register it in the providers config array).


By default, all queries executed by Bouncer are cached for the current request. For better performance, you may want to use cross-request caching:


Warning: if you enable cross-request caching, you are responsible to refresh the cache whenever you make changes to user's roles/abilities. For how to refresh the cache, read refreshing the cache.

On the contrary, you may at times wish to completely disable the cache, even within the same request:


This is particularly useful in unit tests, when you want to run assertions against roles/abilities that have just been granted.

Custom models

You can easily extend Bouncer's built-in Role and Ability models:

use Silber\Bouncer\Database\Ability;

class MyAbility extends Ability
    // custom code
use Silber\Bouncer\Database\Role;

class MyRole extends Role
    // custom code

Alternatively, you can use Bouncer's IsAbility and IsRole traits without actually extending any of Bouncer's models:

use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;
use Silber\Bouncer\Database\Concerns\IsAbility;

class MyAbility extends Model
    use IsAbility;

    // custom code
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;
use Silber\Bouncer\Database\Concerns\IsRole;

class MyRole extends Model
    use IsRole;

    // custom code


In Bouncer, the concept of ownership is used to allow users to perform actions on models they "own".

By default, Bouncer will check the model's user_id against the current user's primary key. If needed, this can be set to a different attribute:


If different models use different columns for ownership, you can register them separately:

Bouncer::ownedVia(Post::class, 'created_by');
Bouncer::ownedVia(Order::class, 'entered_by');

For greater control, you can pass a closure with your custom logic:

Bouncer::ownedVia(Game::class, function ($game, $user) {
    return $game->team_id == $user->team_id;


There are some concepts in Bouncer that people keep on asking about, so here's a short list of some of those topics:

Where do I set up my app's roles and abilities?

Seeding the initial roles and abilities can be done in a regular Laravel seeder class. Start by creating a specific seeder file for Bouncer:

php artisan make:seeder BouncerSeeder

Place all of your seeding roles & abilities code in the seeder's run method. Here's an example of what that might look like:

use Bouncer;
use Illuminate\Database\Seeder;

class BouncerSeeder extends Seeder
    public function run()


        Bouncer::allow('editor')->to('create', Post::class);

        // etc.

To actually run it, pass the seeder's class name to the class option of the db:seed command:

php artisan db:seed --class=BouncerSeeder

Can I use a different set of roles & abilities for the public & dashboard sections of my site, respectively?

Bouncer's scope can be used to section off different parts of the site, creating a silo for each one of them with its own set of roles & abilities:

  1. Create a ScopeBouncer middleware that takes an $identifier and sets it as the current scope:

    use Bouncer, Closure;
    class ScopeBouncer
        public function handle($request, Closure $next, $identifier)
            return $next($request);
  2. Register this new middleware as a route middleware in your HTTP Kernel class:

    protected $routeMiddleware = [
        // Keep the other route middleware, and add this:
        'scope-bouncer' => \App\Http\Middleware\ScopeBouncer::class,
  3. In your route service provider, apply this middleware with a different identifier for the public routes and the dashboard routes, respectively:

    Route::middleware(['web', 'scope-bouncer:1'])
    Route::middleware(['web', 'scope-bouncer:2'])

That's it. All roles and abilities will now be separately scoped for each section of your site. To fine-tune the extent of the scope, see Customizing Bouncer's scope.

I'm trying to run the migration, but I'm getting a SQL error that the "specified key was too long"

Starting with Laravel 5.4, the default database character set is now utf8mb4. If you're using older versions of some databases (MySQL below 5.7.7, or MariaDB below 10.2.2) with Laravel 5.4+, you'll get a SQL error when trying to create an index on a string column. To fix this, change Laravel's default string length in your AppServiceProvider:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Schema;

public function boot()

You can read more in this Laravel News article.

I'm trying to run the migration, but I'm getting a SQL error that there is a "Syntax error or access violation: 1064 ... to use near json not null)"

JSON columns are a relatively new addition to MySQL (5.7.8) and MariaDB (10.2.7). If you're using an older version of these databases, you cannot use JSON columns.

The best solution would be to upgrade your DB. If that's not currently possible, you can change your published migration file to use a text column instead:

- $table->json('options')->nullable();
+ $table->text('options')->nullable();

Console commands


The bouncer:clean command deletes unused abilities. Running this command will delete 2 types of unused abilities:

  • Unassigned abilities - abilities that are not assigned to anyone. For example:

    Bouncer::allow($user)->to('view', Plan::class);
    Bouncer::disallow($user)->to('view', Plan::class);

    At this point, the "view plans" ability is not assigned to anyone, so it'll get deleted.

    Note: depending on the context of your app, you may not want to delete these. If you let your users manage abilities in your app's UI, you probably don't want to delete unassigned abilities. See below.

  • Orphaned abilities - model abilities whose models have been deleted:

    Bouncer::allow($user)->to('delete', $plan);

    Since the plan no longer exists, the ability is no longer of any use, so it'll get deleted.

If you only want to delete one type of unused ability, run it with one of the following flags:

php artisan bouncer:clean --unassigned
php artisan bouncer:clean --orphaned

If you don't pass it any flags, it will delete both types of unused abilities.

To automatically run this command periodically, add it to your console kernel's schedule:


Cheat Sheet

// Adding abilities for users
Bouncer::allow($user)->to('edit', Post::class);
Bouncer::allow($user)->to('delete', $post);



// Removing abilities uses the same syntax, e.g.
Bouncer::disallow($user)->to('delete', $post);

// Adding & removing abilities for roles

// You can also forbid specific abilities with the same syntax...
Bouncer::forbid($user)->to('delete', $post);

// And also remove a forbidden ability with the same syntax...
Bouncer::unforbid($user)->to('delete', $post);

// Re-syncing a user's abilities

// Assigning & retracting roles from users

// Re-syncing a user's roles

// Checking the current user's abilities
$boolean = Bouncer::can('ban-users');
$boolean = Bouncer::can('edit', Post::class);
$boolean = Bouncer::can('delete', $post);

$boolean = Bouncer::cannot('ban-users');
$boolean = Bouncer::cannot('edit', Post::class);
$boolean = Bouncer::cannot('delete', $post);

// Checking a user's roles
$boolean = Bouncer::is($user)->a('subscriber');
$boolean = Bouncer::is($user)->an('admin');
$boolean = Bouncer::is($user)->notA('subscriber');
$boolean = Bouncer::is($user)->notAn('admin');
$boolean = Bouncer::is($user)->a('moderator', 'editor');
$boolean = Bouncer::is($user)->all('moderator', 'editor');



Some of this functionality is also available directly on the user model:

$user->allow('edit', Post::class);
$user->allow('delete', $post);

$user->disallow('edit', Post::class);
$user->disallow('delete', $post);


$boolean = $user->isAn('admin');
$boolean = $user->isAn('editor', 'moderator');
$boolean = $user->isAll('moderator', 'editor');
$boolean = $user->isNotAn('admin', 'moderator');

// Querying users by their roles
$users = User::whereIs('superadmin')->get();
$users = User::whereIs('superadmin', 'admin')->get();
$users = User::whereIsAll('sales', 'marketing')->get();

$abilities = $user->getAbilities();
$forbidden = $user->getForbiddenAbilities();


Among the bajillion packages that Spatie has so graciously bestowed upon the community, you'll find the excellent laravel-permission package. Like Bouncer, it nicely integrates with Laravel's built-in gate and permission checks, but has a different set of design choices when it comes to syntax, DB structure & features.


Bouncer is open-sourced software licensed under the MIT license