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Use JWT through cookies instead of Bearer scheme in headers #773

tocttou opened this Issue Dec 11, 2016 · 6 comments


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tocttou commented Dec 11, 2016

I could not find a way in documentation to use JWT authentication using cookies instead of the Bearer scheme in headers which requires you to store the JWT in localStorage (which can be a fatal in case of an XSS vulnerability). For reference: Where to store JWTs.

This would require recognising the token as:

GET /login

Cookie: access_token=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsI.eyJpc3MiOiJodHRwczotcGxlL.mFrs3Zo8eaSNcxiNfvRh9dqKP4F1cB;

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SebAlbert commented Dec 11, 2016

Seems like a perfect fit to rewrite this in the reverse proxy layer. nginx, apache etc. are all able to read and write HTTP headers while proxying a request.

But, how are Cookies less vulnerable to XSS than localstorage?
Edit: I see in your link, HttpOnly. Cookie technology must have moved on from what I knew back in the days...


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tocttou commented Dec 11, 2016

Using a reverse proxy is a fair point, thanks. But it would be better if this could be integrated in the main project as it is a valid use case and easy to implement (probably).


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begriffs commented Jan 25, 2017

@tocttou have you investigated doing the proxy thing? If so I'd love an nginx snippet to include in the docs.


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tocttou commented Jan 27, 2017


Yes I was able to get it working using lua-nginx-module to rewrite the request.

If your Postgrest API server is on http://localhost:3000 and your Nginx Proxy is on http://localhost:3001, you can use this nginx proxy config and make request to your nginx proxy with a cookie access_token that contains the jwt (it rewrites the headers to include a Authorization: Bearer <jwt> header:

server {

  location / {
     rewrite_by_lua_block {
       local cookie_value = ngx.req.get_headers()["Cookie"]
       if cookie_value ~= nil then
         local jwt = cookie_value:match("access_token=([^ ]+)")
         ngx.req.set_header("Authorization", "Bearer " .. jwt)

Actual request (to nginx proxy by the client):

Host: localhost:3001
Cookie: access_token=mah.osum.token

Request relayed to Postgrest:

Host: localhost:3000
Authorization: Bearer mah.osum.token

Note that the regex used to extract the access_token only works correctly when there is a single cookie.


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ruslantalpa commented Aug 3, 2017

Closing this since implementation in OpenResty is the preferred way. The only way to add is there is a better way to read the cookie like this

local ck = require 'resty.cookie'
local cookie = ck:new()
local token = cookie:get('COOKIE_NAME_HERE')

@ruslantalpa ruslantalpa closed this Aug 3, 2017


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TonnyLTP commented Jan 3, 2019

What I did is setting local config in login plpgsql function, and do the transfer job in nginx (without lua).

_cookie := format('[{"set-cookie": "access_token=%s; path=/; HttpOnly; max-age=86400"}]', _token);

PERFORM set_config('response.headers', _cookie, true);

expected postgrest would support to read token from cookie, but currently seems not. So I have to transfer token from cookie header to authorizaition header.

if ($cookie_access_token) {
  set $auth "Bearer $cookie_access_token";

if ($http_authorization) {
  set $auth $http_authorization;

proxy_set_header Authorization $auth;

I hope it could support to read access_token or session_token in cookie header as jwt token.

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