session

by expressjs

expressjs / session

Simple session middleware for Express

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express-session

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Installation

This is a Node.js module available through the npm registry. Installation is done using the

npm install
command:

$ 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.

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
.

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 is 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 object for the session ID cookie. The default value is

{ path: '/', httpOnly: true, secure: false, maxAge: null }
.

The following are options that can be set in this object.

cookie.domain

Specifies the value for the

Domain
Set-Cookie
attribute. By default, no domain is set, and most clients will consider the cookie to apply to only the current domain.
cookie.expires

Specifies the

Date
object to be the value for the
Expires
Set-Cookie
attribute. By default, no expiration is set, and most clients will consider this a "non-persistent cookie" and will delete it on a condition like exiting a web browser application.

Note If both

expires
and
maxAge
are set in the options, then the last one defined in the object is what is used.

Note The

expires
option should not be set directly; instead only use the
maxAge
option.
cookie.httpOnly

Specifies the

boolean
value for the
HttpOnly
Set-Cookie
attribute. When truthy, the
HttpOnly
attribute is set, otherwise it is not. By default, the
HttpOnly
attribute is set.

Note be careful when setting this to

true
, as compliant clients will not allow client-side JavaScript to see the cookie in
document.cookie
.
cookie.maxAge

Specifies the

number
(in milliseconds) to use when calculating the
Expires
Set-Cookie
attribute. This is done by taking the current server time and adding
maxAge
milliseconds to the value to calculate an
Expires
datetime. By default, no maximum age is set.

Note If both

expires
and
maxAge
are set in the options, then the last one defined in the object is what is used.
cookie.path

Specifies the value for the

Path
Set-Cookie
. By default, this is set to
'/'
, which is the root path of the domain.
cookie.sameSite

Specifies the

boolean
or
string
to be the value for the
SameSite
Set-Cookie
attribute.
  • true
    will set the
    SameSite
    attribute to
    Strict
    for strict same site enforcement.
  • false
    will not set the
    SameSite
    attribute.
  • 'lax'
    will set the
    SameSite
    attribute to
    Lax
    for lax same site enforcement.
  • 'none'
    will set the
    SameSite
    attribute to
    None
    for an explicit cross-site cookie.
  • 'strict'
    will set the
    SameSite
    attribute to
    Strict
    for strict same site enforcement.

More information about the different enforcement levels can be found in the specification.

Note This is an attribute that has not yet been fully standardized, and may change in the future. This also means many clients may ignore this attribute until they understand it.

cookie.secure

Specifies the

boolean
value for the
Secure
Set-Cookie
attribute. When truthy, the
Secure
attribute is set, otherwise it is not. By default, the
Secure
attribute is not set.

Note be careful when setting this to

true
, as compliant clients will not send the cookie back to the server in the future if the browser does not have an HTTPS connection.

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))

The

cookie.secure
option can also be set to the special value
'auto'
to have this setting automatically match the determined security of the connection. Be careful when using this setting if the site is available both as HTTP and HTTPS, as once the cookie is set on HTTPS, it will no longer be visible over HTTP. This is useful when the Express
"trust proxy"
setting is properly setup to simplify development vs production configuration.
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

uid-safe
library to generate IDs.

NOTE be careful to 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 hostname (this is just the name, i.e.

localhost
or
127.0.0.1
; different schemes and ports do not name a different hostname), then you need to separate the session cookies from each other. The simplest method is to simply set different
name
s 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
    Uses 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 makes 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 the session identifier cookie to be set on every response. The expiration is reset to the original

maxAge
, resetting the expiration countdown.

The default value is

false
.

With this enabled, the session identifier cookie will expire in

maxAge
since the last response was sent instead of in
maxAge
since the session was last modified by the server.

This is typically used in conjuction with short, non-session-length

maxAge
values to provide a quick timeout of the session data with reduced potential of it occurring during on going server interactions.

Note When this option is set to

true
but the
saveUninitialized
option is set to
false
, the cookie will not be set on a response with an uninitialized session. This option only modifies the behavior when an existing session was loaded for the request.
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. Choosing
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. This has been fixed in PassportJS 0.3.0

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. The secret itself should be not easily parsed by a human and would best be a random set of characters. A best practice may include:

  • The use of environment variables to store the secret, ensuring the secret itself does not exist in your repository.
  • Periodic updates of the secret, while ensuring the previous secret is in the array.

Using a secret that cannot be guessed will reduce the ability to hijack a session to only guessing the session ID (as determined by the

genid
option).

Changing the secret value will invalidate all existing sessions. In order to rotate the secret without invalidating sessions, provide an array of secrets, with the new secret as first element of the array, and including previous secrets as the later elements.

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.

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

// Access the session as req.session app.get('/', function(req, res, next) { if (req.session.views) { req.session.views++ res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/html') res.write('

views: ' + req.session.views + '

') res.write('

expires in: ' + (req.session.cookie.maxAge / 1000) + 's

') res.end() } else { req.session.views = 1 res.end('welcome to the session demo. refresh!') } })

Session.regenerate(callback)

To regenerate the session simply invoke the method. Once complete, a new SID and

Session
instance will be initialized at
req.session
and the
callback
will be invoked.
req.session.regenerate(function(err) {
  // will have a new session here
})

Session.destroy(callback)

Destroys the session and will unset the

req.session
property. Once complete, the
callback
will be invoked.
req.session.destroy(function(err) {
  // cannot access session here
})

Session.reload(callback)

Reloads the session data from the store and re-populates the

req.session
object. Once complete, the
callback
will be invoked.
req.session.reload(function(err) {
  // session updated
})

Session.save(callback)

Save the session back to the store, replacing the contents on the store with the contents in memory (though a store may do something else--consult the store's documentation for exact behavior).

This method is automatically called at the end of the HTTP response if the session data has been altered (though this behavior can be altered with various options in the middleware constructor). Because of this, typically this method does not need to be called.

There are some cases where it is useful to call this method, for example, redirects, long-lived requests or in WebSockets.

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.id

Each session has a unique ID associated with it. This property is an alias of

req.sessionID
and cannot be modified. It has been added to make the session ID accessible from the

session
object.

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.cookie.maxAge
to its original value.
req.session.cookie.maxAge // => 30000

Cookie.originalMaxAge

The

req.session.cookie.originalMaxAge
property returns the original
maxAge
(time-to-live), in milliseconds, of the session cookie.

req.sessionID

To get the ID of the loaded session, access the request property

req.sessionID
. This is simply a read-only value set when a session is loaded/created.

Session Store Implementation

Every session store must be an

EventEmitter
and implement specific methods. The following methods are the list of required, recommended, and optional.
  • Required methods are ones that this module will always call on the store.
  • Recommended methods are ones that this module will call on the store if available.
  • Optional methods are ones this module does not call at all, but helps present uniform stores to users.

For an example implementation view the connect-redis repo.

store.all(callback)

Optional

This optional method is used to get all sessions in the store as an array. The

callback
should be called as
callback(error, sessions)
.

store.destroy(sid, callback)

Required

This required method is used to destroy/delete a session from the store given a session ID (

sid
). The
callback
should be called as
callback(error)
once the session is destroyed.

store.clear(callback)

Optional

This optional method is used to delete all sessions from the store. The

callback
should be called as
callback(error)
once the store is cleared.

store.length(callback)

Optional

This optional method is used to get the count of all sessions in the store. The

callback
should be called as
callback(error, len)
.

store.get(sid, callback)

Required

This required method is used to get a session from the store given a session ID (

sid
). The
callback
should be called as
callback(error, session)
.

The

session
argument should be a session if found, otherwise
null
or
undefined
if the session was not found (and there was no error). A special case is made when
error.code === 'ENOENT'
to act like
callback(null, null)
.

store.set(sid, session, callback)

Required

This required method is used to upsert a session into the store given a session ID (

sid
) and session (
session
) object. The callback should be called as
callback(error)
once the session has been set in the store.

store.touch(sid, session, callback)

Recommended

This recommended method is used to "touch" a given session given a session ID (

sid
) and session (
session
) object. The
callback
should be called as
callback(error)
once the session has been touched.

This is primarily used when the store will automatically delete idle sessions and this method is used to signal to the store the given session is active, potentially resetting the idle timer.

Compatible Session Stores

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

★ aerospike-session-store A session store using Aerospike.

★ cassandra-store An Apache Cassandra-based session store.

★ cluster-store A wrapper for using in-process / embedded stores - such as SQLite (via knex), leveldb, files, or memory - with node cluster (desirable for Raspberry Pi 2 and other multi-core embedded devices).

★ connect-arango An ArangoDB-based session store.

★ connect-azuretables An Azure Table Storage-based session store.

★ connect-cloudant-store An IBM Cloudant-based session store.

★ connect-couchbase A couchbase-based session store.

★ connect-datacache An IBM Bluemix Data Cache-based session store.

★ @google-cloud/connect-datastore A Google Cloud Datastore-based session store.

★ connect-db2 An IBM DB2-based session store built using ibm_db module.

★ connect-dynamodb A DynamoDB-based session store.

★ @google-cloud/connect-firestore A Google Cloud Firestore-based session store.

★ connect-hazelcast Hazelcast session store for Connect and Express.

★ connect-loki A Loki.js-based session store.

★ connect-memcached A memcached-based session store.

★ connect-memjs A memcached-based session store using memjs as the memcached client.

★ connect-ml A MarkLogic Server-based session store.

★ connect-monetdb A MonetDB-based session store.

★ connect-mongo A MongoDB-based session store.

★ connect-mongodb-session Lightweight MongoDB-based session store built and maintained by MongoDB.

★ connect-mssql-v2 A Microsoft SQL Server-based session store based on connect-mssql.

★ connect-pg-simple A PostgreSQL-based session store.

★ connect-redis A Redis-based session store.

★ connect-session-firebase A session store based on the Firebase Realtime Database

★ connect-session-knex A session store using Knex.js, which is a SQL query builder for PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, SQLite3, and Oracle.

★ connect-session-sequelize A session store using Sequelize.js, which is a Node.js / io.js ORM for PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite and MSSQL.

★ connect-sqlite3 A SQLite3 session store modeled after the TJ's

connect-redis
store.

★ connect-typeorm A TypeORM-based session store.

★ couchdb-expression A CouchDB-based session store.

★ dynamodb-store A DynamoDB-based session store.

★ express-etcd An etcd based session store.

★ express-mysql-session A session store using native MySQL via the node-mysql module.

★ express-nedb-session A NeDB-based session store.

★ express-oracle-session A session store using native oracle via the node-oracledb module.

★ express-session-cache-manager A store that implements cache-manager, which supports a variety of storage types.

★ express-session-etcd3 An etcd3 based session store.

★ express-session-level A LevelDB based session store.

★ express-session-rsdb Session store based on Rocket-Store: A very simple, super fast and yet powerfull, flat file database.

★ express-sessions A session store supporting both MongoDB and Redis.

★ firestore-store A Firestore-based session store.

★ fortune-session A Fortune.js based session store. Supports all backends supported by Fortune (MongoDB, Redis, Postgres, NeDB).

★ hazelcast-store A Hazelcast-based session store built on the Hazelcast Node Client.

★ level-session-store A LevelDB-based session store.

★ lowdb-session-store A lowdb-based session store.

★ medea-session-store A Medea-based session store.

★ memorystore A memory session store made for production.

★ mssql-session-store A SQL Server-based session store.

★ nedb-session-store An alternate NeDB-based (either in-memory or file-persisted) session store.

★ @quixo3/prisma-session-store A session store for the Prisma Framework.

★ restsession Store sessions utilizing a RESTful API

★ sequelstore-connect A session store using Sequelize.js.

★ session-file-store A file system-based session store.

★ session-pouchdb-store Session store for PouchDB / CouchDB. Accepts embedded, custom, or remote PouchDB instance and realtime synchronization.

★ session-rethinkdb A RethinkDB-based session store.

★ sessionstore A session store that works with various databases.

★ tch-nedb-session A file system session store based on NeDB.

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

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

// count the views req.session.views[pathname] = (req.session.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') })

Debugging

This module uses the debug module internally to log information about session operations.

To see all the internal logs, set the

DEBUG
environment variable to
express-session
when launching your app (
npm start
, in this example):
$ DEBUG=express-session npm start

On Windows, use the corresponding command;

> set DEBUG=express-session & npm start

License

MIT

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