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Simple session middleware for Express
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README.md

express-session

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Installation

$ npm install express-session

API

var session = require('express-session')

session(options)

Create a session middleware with the given options.

Note Session data is not saved in the cookie itself, just the session ID. Session data is stored server-side.

Warning The default server-side session storage, MemoryStore, is purposely not designed for a production environment. It will leak memory under most conditions, does not scale past a single process, and it meant for debugging and developing.

For a list of stores, see compatible session stores.

Options

express-session accepts these properties in the options object.

cookie

Settings for the session ID cookie. See the "Cookie options" section below for more information on the different values.

The default value is { path: '/', httpOnly: true, secure: false, maxAge: null }.

genid

Function to call to generate a new session ID. Provide a function that returns a string that will be used as a session ID. The function is given req as the first argument if you want to use some value attached to req when generating the ID.

The default value is a function which uses the uid2 library to generate IDs.

NOTE be careful you generate unique IDs so your sessions do not conflict.

app.use(session({
  genid: function(req) {
    return genuuid() // use UUIDs for session IDs
  },
  secret: 'keyboard cat'
}))
name

The name of the session ID cookie to set in the response (and read from in the request).

The default value is 'connect.sid'.

Note if you have multiple apps running on the same host (hostname + port), then you need to separate the session cookies from each other. The simplest method is to simply set different names per app.

proxy

Trust the reverse proxy when setting secure cookies (via the "X-Forwarded-Proto" header).

The default value is undefined.

  • true The "X-Forwarded-Proto" header will be used.
  • false All headers are ignored and the connection is considered secure only if there is a direct TLS/SSL connection.
  • undefined Use the "trust proxy" setting from express
resave

Forces the session to be saved back to the session store, even if the session was never modified during the request. Depending on your store this may be necessary, but it can also create race conditions where a client has two parallel requests to your server and changes made to the session in one request may get overwritten when the other request ends, even if it made no changes (this behavior also depends on what store you're using).

The default value is true, but using the default has been deprecated, as the default will change in the future. Please research into this setting and choose what is appropriate to your use-case. Typically, you'll want false.

How do I know if this is necessary for my store? The best way to know is to check with your store if it implements the touch method. If it does, then you can safely set resave: false. If it does not implement the touch method and your store sets an expiration date on stored sessions, then you likely need resave: true.

rolling

Force a cookie to be set on every response. This resets the expiration date.

The default value is false.

saveUninitialized

Forces a session that is "uninitialized" to be saved to the store. A session is uninitialized when it is new but not modified. Choosing false is useful for implementing login sessions, reducing server storage usage, or complying with laws that require permission before setting a cookie. Choose false will also help with race conditions where a client makes multiple parallel requests without a session.

The default value is true, but using the default has been deprecated, as the default will change in the future. Please research into this setting and choose what is appropriate to your use-case.

Note if you are using Session in conjunction with PassportJS, Passport will add an empty Passport object to the session for use after a user is authenticated, which will be treated as a modification to the session, causing it to be saved.

secret

Required option

This is the secret used to sign the session ID cookie. This can be either a string for a single secret, or an array of multiple secrets. If an array of secrets is provided, only the first element will be used to sign the session ID cookie, while all the elements will be considered when verifying the signature in requests.

store

The session store instance, defaults to a new MemoryStore instance.

unset

Control the result of unsetting req.session (through delete, setting to null, etc.).

The default value is 'keep'.

  • 'destroy' The session will be destroyed (deleted) when the response ends.
  • 'keep' The session in the store will be kept, but modifications made during the request are ignored and not saved.

Cookie options

Note Since version 1.5.0, the cookie-parser middleware no longer needs to be used for this module to work. This module now directly reads and writes cookies on req/res. Using cookie-parser may result in issues if the secret is not the same between this module and cookie-parser.

Please note that secure: true is a recommended option. However, it requires an https-enabled website, i.e., HTTPS is necessary for secure cookies. If secure is set, and you access your site over HTTP, the cookie will not be set. If you have your node.js behind a proxy and are using secure: true, you need to set "trust proxy" in express:

var app = express()
app.set('trust proxy', 1) // trust first proxy
app.use(session({
  secret: 'keyboard cat',
  resave: false,
  saveUninitialized: true,
  cookie: { secure: true }
}))

For using secure cookies in production, but allowing for testing in development, the following is an example of enabling this setup based on NODE_ENV in express:

var app = express()
var sess = {
  secret: 'keyboard cat',
  cookie: {}
}

if (app.get('env') === 'production') {
  app.set('trust proxy', 1) // trust first proxy
  sess.cookie.secure = true // serve secure cookies
}

app.use(session(sess))

By default cookie.maxAge is null, meaning no "expires" parameter is set so the cookie becomes a browser-session cookie. When the user closes the browser the cookie (and session) will be removed.

req.session

To store or access session data, simply use the request property req.session, which is (generally) serialized as JSON by the store, so nested objects are typically fine. For example below is a user-specific view counter:

app.use(session({ secret: 'keyboard cat', cookie: { maxAge: 60000 }}))

app.use(function(req, res, next) {
  var sess = req.session
  if (sess.views) {
    sess.views++
    res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/html')
    res.write('<p>views: ' + sess.views + '</p>')
    res.write('<p>expires in: ' + (sess.cookie.maxAge / 1000) + 's</p>')
    res.end()
  } else {
    sess.views = 1
    res.end('welcome to the session demo. refresh!')
  }
})

Session.regenerate()

To regenerate the session simply invoke the method, once complete a new SID and Session instance will be initialized at req.session.

req.session.regenerate(function(err) {
  // will have a new session here
})

Session.destroy()

Destroys the session, removing req.session, will be re-generated next request.

req.session.destroy(function(err) {
  // cannot access session here
})

Session.reload()

Reloads the session data.

req.session.reload(function(err) {
  // session updated
})

Session.save()

req.session.save(function(err) {
  // session saved
})

Session.touch()

Updates the .maxAge property. Typically this is not necessary to call, as the session middleware does this for you.

req.session.cookie

Each session has a unique cookie object accompany it. This allows you to alter the session cookie per visitor. For example we can set req.session.cookie.expires to false to enable the cookie to remain for only the duration of the user-agent.

Cookie.maxAge

Alternatively req.session.cookie.maxAge will return the time remaining in milliseconds, which we may also re-assign a new value to adjust the .expires property appropriately. The following are essentially equivalent

var hour = 3600000
req.session.cookie.expires = new Date(Date.now() + hour)
req.session.cookie.maxAge = hour

For example when maxAge is set to 60000 (one minute), and 30 seconds has elapsed it will return 30000 until the current request has completed, at which time req.session.touch() is called to reset req.session.maxAge to its original value.

req.session.cookie.maxAge // => 30000

Session Store Implementation

Every session store must be an EventEmitter and implement the following methods:

  • .get(sid, callback)
  • .set(sid, session, callback)
  • .destroy(sid, callback)

Recommended methods include, but are not limited to:

  • .touch(sid, session, callback)
  • .length(callback)
  • .clear(callback)

For an example implementation view the connect-redis repo.

Compatible Session Stores

The following modules implement a session store that is compatible with this module. Please make a PR to add additional modules :)

Example

A simple example using express-session to store page views for a user.

var express = require('express')
var parseurl = require('parseurl')
var session = require('express-session')

var app = express()

app.use(session({
  secret: 'keyboard cat',
  resave: false,
  saveUninitialized: true
}))

app.use(function (req, res, next) {
  var views = req.session.views

  if (!views) {
    views = req.session.views = {}
  }

  // get the url pathname
  var pathname = parseurl(req).pathname

  // count the views
  views[pathname] = (views[pathname] || 0) + 1

  next()
})

app.get('/foo', function (req, res, next) {
  res.send('you viewed this page ' + req.session.views['/foo'] + ' times')
})

app.get('/bar', function (req, res, next) {
  res.send('you viewed this page ' + req.session.views['/bar'] + ' times')
})

License

MIT

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