REST framework JWT Auth

JSON Web Token Authentication support for Django REST Framework


This package provides JSON Web Token Authentication support for Django REST framework.

If you want to know more about JWT, check out the following resources:



Unlike some more typical uses of JWTs, this module only generates authentication tokens that will verify the user who is requesting one of your DRF protected API resources. The actual request parameters themselves are not included in the JWT claims which means they are not signed and may be tampered with. You should only expose your API endpoints over SSL/TLS to protect against content tampering and certain kinds of replay attacks.


Install using pip...

$ pip install djangorestframework-jwt


In your, add JSONWebTokenAuthentication to Django REST framework's DEFAULT_AUTHENTICATION_CLASSES.


In your add the following URL route to enable obtaining a token via a POST included the user's username and password.

from rest_framework_jwt.views import obtain_jwt_token

urlpatterns = [
    # ...

    url(r'^api-token-auth/', obtain_jwt_token),

You can easily test if the endpoint is working by doing the following in your terminal, if you had a user created with the username admin and password password123.

$ curl -X POST -d "username=admin&password=password123" http://localhost:8000/api-token-auth/

Alternatively, you can use all the content types supported by the Django REST framework to obtain the auth token. For example:

$ curl -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"username":"admin","password":"password123"}' http://localhost:8000/api-token-auth/

Now in order to access protected api urls you must include the Authorization: JWT <your_token> header.

$ curl -H "Authorization: JWT <your_token>" http://localhost:8000/protected-url/

Refresh Token

If JWT_ALLOW_REFRESH is True, non-expired tokens can be "refreshed" to obtain a brand new token with renewed expiration time. Add a URL pattern like this:

    from rest_framework_jwt.views import refresh_jwt_token
    #  ...

    urlpatterns = [
        #  ...
        url(r'^api-token-refresh/', refresh_jwt_token),

Pass in an existing token to the refresh endpoint as follows: {"token": EXISTING_TOKEN}. Note that only non-expired tokens will work. The JSON response looks the same as the normal obtain token endpoint {"token": NEW_TOKEN}.

$ curl -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"token":"<EXISTING_TOKEN>"}' http://localhost:8000/api-token-refresh/

Refresh with tokens can be repeated (token1 -> token2 -> token3), but this chain of token stores the time that the original token (obtained with username/password credentials), as orig_iat. You can only keep refreshing tokens up to JWT_REFRESH_EXPIRATION_DELTA.

A typical use case might be a web app where you'd like to keep the user "logged in" the site without having to re-enter their password, or get kicked out by surprise before their token expired. Imagine they had a 1-hour token and are just at the last minute while they're still doing something. With mobile you could perhaps store the username/password to get a new token, but this is not a great idea in a browser. Each time the user loads the page, you can check if there is an existing non-expired token and if it's close to being expired, refresh it to extend their session. In other words, if a user is actively using your site, they can keep their "session" alive.

Verify Token

In some microservice architectures, authentication is handled by a single service. Other services delegate the responsibility of confirming that a user is logged in to this authentication service. This usually means that a service will pass a JWT received from the user to the authentication service, and wait for a confirmation that the JWT is valid before returning protected resources to the user.

This setup is supported in this package using a verification endpoint. Add the following URL pattern:

    from rest_framework_jwt.views import verify_jwt_token


    urlpatterns = [
        #  ...
        url(r'^api-token-verify/', verify_jwt_token),

Passing a token to the verification endpoint will return a 200 response and the token if it is valid. Otherwise, it will return a 400 Bad Request as well as an error identifying why the token was invalid.

$ curl -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"token":"<EXISTING_TOKEN>"}' http://localhost:8000/api-token-verify/

Additional Settings

There are some additional settings that you can override similar to how you'd do it with Django REST framework itself. Here are all the available defaults.






    'JWT_SECRET_KEY': settings.SECRET_KEY,
    'JWT_PUBLIC_KEY': None,
    'JWT_PRIVATE_KEY': None,
    'JWT_ALGORITHM': 'HS256',
    'JWT_VERIFY': True,
    'JWT_LEEWAY': 0,
    'JWT_EXPIRATION_DELTA': datetime.timedelta(seconds=300),
    'JWT_AUDIENCE': None,
    'JWT_ISSUER': None,

    'JWT_REFRESH_EXPIRATION_DELTA': datetime.timedelta(days=7),

    'JWT_AUTH_COOKIE': None,


This packages uses the JSON Web Token Python implementation, PyJWT and allows to modify some of it's available options.


This is the secret key used to sign the JWT. Make sure this is safe and not shared or public.

Default is your project's settings.SECRET_KEY.


This is more robust version of JWT_SECRET_KEY. It is defined per User, so in case token is compromised it can be easily changed by owner. Changing this value will make all tokens for given user unusable. Value should be a function, accepting user as only parameter and returning it's secret key.

Default is None.


This is an object of type cryptography.hazmat.primitives.asymmetric.rsa.RSAPublicKey. It will be used to verify the signature of the incoming JWT. Will override JWT_SECRET_KEY when set. Read the documentation for more details. Please note that JWT_ALGORITHM must be set to one of RS256, RS384, or RS512.

Default is None.


This is an object of type cryptography.hazmat.primitives.asymmetric.rsa.RSAPrivateKey. It will be used to sign the signature component of the JWT. Will override JWT_SECRET_KEY when set. Read the documentation for more details. Please note that JWT_ALGORITHM must be set to one of RS256, RS384, or RS512.

Default is None.


Possible values are any of the supported algorithms for cryptographic signing in PyJWT.

Default is "HS256".


If the secret is wrong, it will raise a jwt.DecodeError telling you as such. You can still get at the payload by setting the JWT_VERIFY to False.

Default is True.


You can turn off expiration time verification by setting JWT_VERIFY_EXPIRATION to False. Without expiration verification, JWTs will last forever meaning a leaked token could be used by an attacker indefinitely.

Default is True.


This allows you to validate an expiration time which is in the past but not very far. For example, if you have a JWT payload with an expiration time set to 30 seconds after creation but you know that sometimes you will process it after 30 seconds, you can set a leeway of 10 seconds in order to have some margin.

Default is 0 seconds.


This is an instance of Python's datetime.timedelta. This will be added to datetime.utcnow() to set the expiration time.

Default is datetime.timedelta(seconds=300)(5 minutes).


This is a string that will be checked against the aud field of the token, if present.

Default is None(fail if aud present on JWT).


This is a string that will be checked against the iss field of the token.

Default is None(do not check iss on JWT).


Enable token refresh functionality. Token issued from rest_framework_jwt.views.obtain_jwt_token will have an orig_iat field. Default is False


Limit on token refresh, is a datetime.timedelta instance. This is how much time after the original token that future tokens can be refreshed from.

Default is datetime.timedelta(days=7) (7 days).


Specify a custom function to generate the token payload


If you store user_id differently than the default payload handler does, implement this function to fetch user_id from the payload. Note: Will be deprecated in favor of JWT_PAYLOAD_GET_USERNAME_HANDLER.


If you store username differently than the default payload handler does, implement this function to fetch username from the payload.


Responsible for controlling the response data returned after login or refresh. Override to return a custom response such as including the serialized representation of the User.

Defaults to return the JWT token.


def jwt_response_payload_handler(token, user=None, request=None):
    return {
        'token': token,
        'user': UserSerializer(user, context={'request': request}).data

Default is {'token': token}


You can modify the Authorization header value prefix that is required to be sent together with the token. The default value is JWT. This decision was introduced in PR #4 to allow using both this package and OAuth2 in DRF.

Another common value used for tokens and Authorization headers is Bearer.

Default is JWT.

You can set this to a string if you want to use http cookies in addition to the Authorization header as a valid transport for the token. The string you set here will be used as the cookie name that will be set in the response headers when requesting a token. The token validation procedure will also look into this cookie, if set. The 'Authorization' header takes precedence if both the header and the cookie are present in the request.

Default is None and no cookie is set when creating tokens nor accepted when validating them.

Extending JSONWebTokenAuthentication

Right now JSONWebTokenAuthentication assumes that the JWT will come in the header, or a cookie if configured (see JWT_AUTH_COOKIE). The JWT spec does not require this (see: Making a service Call). For example, the JWT may come in the querystring. The ability to send the JWT in the querystring is needed in cases where the user cannot set the header (for example the src element in HTML).

To achieve this functionality, the user might write a custom Authentication:

class JSONWebTokenAuthenticationQS(BaseJSONWebTokenAuthentication):
    def get_jwt_value(self, request):
         return request.QUERY_PARAMS.get('jwt')

It is recommended to use BaseJSONWebTokenAuthentication, a new base class with no logic around parsing the HTTP headers.

Creating a new token manually

Sometimes you may want to manually generate a token, for example to return a token to the user immediately after account creation. You can do this as follows:

from rest_framework_jwt.settings import api_settings

jwt_payload_handler = api_settings.JWT_PAYLOAD_HANDLER
jwt_encode_handler = api_settings.JWT_ENCODE_HANDLER

payload = jwt_payload_handler(user)
token = jwt_encode_handler(payload)