Failed to retrieve roles expecting an object but got – How to solve this Elasticsearch exception

Opster Team

August-23, Version: 6.8-7.17

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Briefly, this error occurs when Elasticsearch attempts to retrieve user roles but encounters unexpected data format. It expects an object but receives a different data type, possibly an array or a string. To resolve this, ensure that the roles are correctly defined in the Elasticsearch security settings. Check the format of your roles and ensure they are objects, not arrays or strings. Also, verify that your Elasticsearch version supports the role format you’re using. If the error persists, consider redefining your roles or updating your Elasticsearch version.

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This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” failed to retrieve roles; expecting an object but got: ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: plugin.

Log Context

Log “failed to retrieve roles; expecting an object but got:” class name is We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

 } else {
 throw new ElasticsearchException("failed to retrieve roles; expecting an object but got: " + token);
 terminal.println("found existing roles: " + existingRoles);
 return existingRoles;


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