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ESGF Login, Registration and Group Registration FAQ

This FAQ contains questions about login, account creation, account page, password, OpenID, and registration to a data access control group.

Each ESGF question is sorted into exactly one topic. See also ESGF General since questions of general interest and questions matching several topics are under topic ESGF General.

Do I have to have a user account to search for data?

You don't need an account to search for data on a public project. You will need an account to download data. You should get an account on the node you wish to download data from.

Do I need to join the project serving the data?

You only need to join the project if you plan to edit wiki pages, upload files etc. In case you want to download data from ESGF, you will most likely have to join a data access control group. These groups are not the same as CoG projects. For details about data access groups see tutorial Authorization for ESGF Data Access.

Which group membership is necessary for download of ESGF data?

See tutorial Authorization for ESGF Data Access

My group memberships are not shown

Normally, group memberships are shown on your User Profile. User Profiles and group registration are related to an account, not a person. You may have registered for group access using a different account or an account created before the 2015 ESGF overhaul, that no longer exists.

I am getting a security warning when trying to login

Example of the warning from FireFox

ESGF uses a self-signed certificate. You have to tell your browser to accept this non-commerical certificate. Each browser does this differently. Here is a table of tutorials:

Get Safari to accept the ESGF certificate
Get Chrome or Aviator to accept the ESGF certificate
Get Internet Explorer to accept the ESGF certificate
Get Firefox to accept the ESGF certificate

I get a Java error on login

This error means your ESGF cookie is corrupted.

Solution 1: To get a new cookie you will need to clear your cache, close your browser, and try logging in again.

Solution 2: Open a private window. Firefox will not remember its cookies in this window.

The project I have navigated to does not have a search widget?

That project may not be serving any data or they have turned off the widget and instead have a link somewhere on the page to the search area.

I cannot login with my OpenID issued by

Example error message (with Firefox):

Login failed has been renamed to; use instead of

I cannot login with my OpenID created before January 2016

Instead, I'm getting an error "Error: unable to resolve OpenID identifier" or I'm guided to a Group Registration Request page and, after pressing "Register", I'm getting a "HTTP Status 500".

Most ESGF partners do not maintain accounts from before the ESGF overhaul. The same may be true for accounts created on test nodes during the overhaul (June 2015 - January 2016). These include OpenIDs from pcmdi9 and esg-dev.

Please create a new account on an ESGF node of your choice. Your new account should be accepted by every ESGF portal and ESGF data nodes. Note to change your password and account information, you must login into the ESGF node you created the account on. Also register to the data access control groups again, e.g. CMIP5 Research or CMIP5 Commercial (for download of CMIP5 data).

I get the error: "Cannot resolve openid"

This could be either a problem with the user account, or with the server setup where the user registered:

  • If the user data (openid, first name, last name, etc.) contains non-standard characters, the login will fail. The user should change the data him/herself, or contact the server administrator to update their account
  • The server has been moved to If you have an OpenID, simply use instead.
  • The account may no longer be valid (e.g. an pre-2016 OpenID). Simply create a new account.
  • The OpenID issuer is not in the ESGF whitelist of accepted issuers. For example, OpenIDs are no longer compatible with ESGF identity provider service since ESGF overhaul. Therefore, they are not accepted even if they are new. In this case, you should create a new account at a running ESGF portal.
  • Or the server is not setup correctly. The administrator should check for these possible problems:
    • Certificate expired (host certificate or CA certificate)
    • Root CA not in the truststore or not in the federation certificate repository
    • Server OpenID provider URL not in the whitelist of OpenID relying party
    • Server clock sync issue
    • Firewall side effects
    • The file esg-trustore.ts does not match the file jssecacerts in the JAVA installation directory

I get the error: "OpenID Discovery Error: unrecognized by the Identity Provider"

The server which issued the OpenID was retired or now has a different name, e.g. pcmdi3, pcmdi9 and were changed to and was changed to If you have an OpenID, simply use instead. In all other cases, the old OpenIDs are no longer valid. Create a new OpenID at the ESGF node of your choice.

My new OpenID is not available in Firefox

Instead Firefox uses an old OpenID.

Did a message appear in the same Firefox session whether to use your credials imported into your browser? Please respond that query with pressing "cancel" since an old OpenID may have been assigned to your credential. This can even happen in a private window.

I have not received an email confirming my registration

ESGF does not require the user to reply to any confirmation email. You can immediately use your new account.

I forgot my password

See tutorial Forgot Password

Last Update: March 30, 2017, 6:36 a.m. by Torsten Rathmann

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