This guide covers using a custom authentication setup with Spree, such as one provided by your own application. This is ideal in situations where you want to handle the sign-in or sign-up flow of your application uniquely, outside the realms of what would be possible with Spree. After reading this guide, you will be familiar with:
  • Setting up Spree to work with your custom authentication

The User Model

This guide assumes that you have a pre-existing model inside your application that represents the users of your application already. This model could be provided by gems such as Devise. This guide also assumes that the application that this User model exists in is already a Spree application.
This model does not need to be called User, but for the purposes of this guide the model we will be referring to will be called User. If your model is called something else, do some mental substitution wherever you see User.

Initial Setup

To begin using your custom User class, you must first edit Spree's initializer located at config/initializers/spree.rb by changing this line:
Spree.user_class = 'Spree::User'
To this:
Spree.user_class = 'User'
Next, you need to run the custom user generator for Spree which will create two files. The first is a migration that will add the necessary Spree fields to your users table, and the second is an extension (that lives at lib/spree/authentication_helpers.rb) to the Spree::Core::AuthenticationHelpers module inside of Spree.
Run this generator with this command:
bundle exec rails g spree:custom_user User
This will tell the generator that you want to use the User class as the class that represents users in Spree. Run the new migration by running this:
bundle exec rails db:migrate
Next you will need to define some methods to tell Spree where to find your application's authentication routes.

Authentication Helpers

There are some authentication helpers of Spree's that you will need to possibly override. The file at lib/spree/authentication_helpers.rb contains the following code to help you do that:
module Spree
module AuthenticationHelpers
def self.included(receiver)
receiver.send :helper_method, :spree_login_path
receiver.send :helper_method, :spree_signup_path
receiver.send :helper_method, :spree_logout_path
receiver.send :helper_method, :spree_current_user
def spree_current_user
def spree_login_path
def spree_signup_path
def spree_logout_path
In your ApplicationController add these lines:
include Spree::AuthenticationHelpers
include Spree::Core::ControllerHelpers::Auth
include Spree::Core::ControllerHelpers::Order
include Spree::Core::ControllerHelpers::Store
include Spree::Core::ControllerHelpers::Currency
include Spree::Core::ControllerHelpers::Locale
helper 'spree/base', 'spree/locale', 'spree/currency', 'spree/store'
Each of the methods defined in this module return values that are the most common in Rails applications today, but you may need to customize them. In order, they are:
  • spree_current_user Used to tell Spree what the current user
    of a request is.
  • spree_login_path The location of the login/sign in form in
    your application.
  • spree_signup_path The location of the sign up form in your
  • spree_logout_path The location of the logout feature of your
URLs inside the `spree_login_path`, `spree_signup_path` and `spree_logout_path` methods **must** have `main_app` prefixed if they are inside your application. This is because Spree will otherwise attempt to route to a `login_path`, `signup_path` or `logout_path` inside of itself, which does not exist. By prefixing with `main_app`, you tell it to look at the application's routes.
You will need to define the login_path, signup_path and logout_path routes yourself, by using code like this inside your application's config/routes.rb if you're using Devise:
devise_for :users
devise_scope :user do
get '/login', to: "devise/sessions#new"
get '/signup', to: "devise/registrations#new"
delete '/logout', to: "devise/sessions#destroy"
Of course, this code will be different if you're not using Devise. Simply do not use the devise_scope method and change the controllers and actions for these routes.
You can also customize the spree_login_path, spree_signup_path and spree_logout_path methods inside lib/spree/authentication_helpers.rb to use the routing helper methods already provided by the authentication setup you have, if you wish.
Any modifications made to `lib/spree/authentication_helpers.rb` while the server is running will require a restart, as with any other modification to other files in `lib`.

The User Model

In your User Model you have to add:
include Spree::UserMethods
include Spree::UserAddress
include Spree::UserPaymentSource
The first of these methods are the ones added for the has_and_belongs_to_many association called spree_roles. This association will retrieve all the roles that a user has for Spree.
The second of these is the spree_orders association. This will return all orders associated with the user in Spree. There's also a last_incomplete_spree_order method which will return the last incomplete spree order for the user. This is used internal to Spree to persist order data across a user's login sessions.
The third and fourth associations are for address information for a user. When a user places an order, the address information for that order will be linked to that user so that it is available for subsequent orders.
The next method is one called has_spree_role? which can be used to check if a user has a specific role. This method is used internally to Spree to check if the user is authorized to perform specific actions, such as accessing the admin section. Admin users of your system should be assigned the Spree admin role, like this:
user = User.find_by(email: '[email protected]')
user.spree_roles << Spree::Role.where(name: 'admin').first_or_create
To test that this has worked, use the has_spree_role? method, like this:
If this returns true, then the user has admin permissions within Spree.


The spree_auth_devise gem is not needed when using an existing application authentication unless the goal is to have two separate authentication methods.

Signup promotion

In Spree, there is a promotion that acts on the user signup which will not work correctly automatically when you're not using the standard authentication method with Spree. To fix this, you will need to trigger this event after a user has successfully signed up in your application by setting a session variable after successful signup in whatever controller deals with user signup:
session[:spree_user_signup] = true
This line will cause the Spree event notifiers to be notified of this event and to apply any promotions to an order that are triggered once a user signs up.