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1.0.1 • Public • Published


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A brute-force protection middleware for express routes that rate-limits incoming requests, increasing the delay with each request in a fibonacci-like sequence.


via npm:

  $ npm install express-brute

A Simple Example

var ExpressBrute = require('express-brute');
var store = new ExpressBrute.MemoryStore(); // stores state locally, don't use this in production
var bruteforce = new ExpressBrute(store);'/auth',
    bruteforce.prevent, // error 429 if we hit this route too often
    function (req, res, next) {


ExpressBrute(store, options)

  • store An instance of ExpressBrute.MemoryStore or some other ExpressBrute store (see a list of known stores below).
  • options
    • freeRetries The number of retires the user has before they need to start waiting (default: 2)
    • minWait The initial wait time (in milliseconds) after the user runs out of retries (default: 500 milliseconds)
    • maxWait The maximum amount of time (in milliseconds) between requests the user needs to wait (default: 15 minutes). The wait for a given request is determined by adding the time the user needed to wait for the previous two requests.
    • lifetime The length of time (in seconds since the last request) to remember the number of requests that have been made by an IP. By default it will be set to maxWait * the number of attempts before you hit maxWait to discourage simply waiting for the lifetime to expire before resuming an attack. With default values this is about 6 hours.
    • failCallback Gets called with (req, resp, next, nextValidRequestDate) when a request is rejected (default: ExpressBrute.FailForbidden)
    • attachResetToRequest Specify whether or not a simplified reset method should be attached at req.brute.reset. The simplified method takes only a callback, and resets all ExpressBrute middleware that was called on the current request. If multiple instances of ExpressBrute have middleware on the same request, only those with attachResetToRequest set to true will be reset (default: true)
    • refreshTimeoutOnRequest Defines whether the lifetime counts from the time of the last request that ExpressBrute didn't prevent for a given IP (true) or from of that IP's first request (false). Useful for allowing limits over fixed periods of time, for example: a limited number of requests per day. (Default: true). More info
    • handleStoreError Gets called whenever an error occurs with the persistent store from which ExpressBrute cannot recover. It is passed an object containing the properties message (a description of the message), parent (the error raised by the session store), and [key, ip] or [req, res, next] depending on whether or the error occurs during reset or in the middleware itself.


An in-memory store for persisting request counts. Don't use this in production, instead choose one of the more robust store implementations listed below.

ExpressBrute Instance Methods

  • prevent(req, res, next) Middleware that will bounce requests that happen faster than the current wait time by calling failCallback. Equivilent to getMiddleware(null)
  • getMiddleware(options) Generates middleware that will bounce requests with the same key and IP address that happen faster than the current wait time by calling failCallback. Also attaches a function at req.brute.reset that can be called to reset the counter for the current ip and key. This functions as the reset instance method, but without the need to explicitly pass the ip and key paramters
    • key can be a string or alternatively it can be a function(req, res, next) that or calls next, passing a string as the first parameter.
    • failCallback Allows you to override the value of failCallback for this middleware
    • ignoreIP Disregard IP address when matching requests if set to true. Defaults to false.
  • reset(ip, key, next) Resets the wait time between requests back to its initial value. You can pass null for key if you want to reset a request protected by protect.

Built-in Failure Callbacks

There are some built-in callbacks that come with BruteExpress that handle some common use cases.

  • ExpressBrute.FailTooManyRquests Terminates the request and responses with a 429 (Too Many Requests) error that has a Retry-After header and a JSON error message.
  • ExpressBrute.FailForbidden Terminates the request and responds with a 403 (Forbidden) error that has a Retry-After header and a JSON error message. This is provided for compatibility with ExpressBrute versions prior to v0.5.0, for new users FailTooManyRequests is the preferred behavior.
  • ExpressBrute.FailMark Sets res.nextValidRequestDate, the Retry-After header and the res.status=429, then calls next() to pass the request on to the appropriate routes.

ExpressBrute stores

There are a number adapters that have been written to allow ExpressBrute to be used with different persistent storage implementations, some of the ones I know about include:

If you write your own store and want me to add it to the list, just drop me an email or create an issue.

A More Complex Example

var ExpressBrute = require('express-brute'),
    MemcachedStore = require('express-brute-memcached'),
    moment = require('moment'),
if (config.environment == 'development'){
    store = new ExpressBrute.MemoryStore(); // stores state locally, don't use this in production
} else {
    // stores state with memcached
    store = new MemcachedStore([''], {
        prefix: 'NoConflicts'
var failCallback = function (req, res, next, nextValidRequestDate) {
    req.flash('error', "You've made too many failed attempts in a short period of time, please try again "+moment(nextValidRequestDate).fromNow());
    res.redirect('/login'); // brute force protection triggered, send them back to the login page
var handleStoreError = handleStoreError: function (error) {
    log.error(error); // log this error so we can figure out what went wrong
    // cause node to exit, hopefully restarting the process fixes the problem
    throw {
        message: error.message,
        parent: error.parent
// Start slowing requests after 5 failed attempts to do something for the same user
var userBruteforce = new ExpressBrute(store, {
    freeRetries: 5,
    minWait: 5*60*1000, // 5 minutes
    maxWait: 60*60*1000, // 1 hour,
    failCallback: failCallback,
    handleStoreError: handleStoreError
// No more than 1000 login attempts per day per IP
var globalBruteforce = new ExpressBrute(store, {
    freeRetries: 1000,
    attachResetToRequest: false,
    refreshTimeoutOnRequest: false,
    minWait: 25*60*60*1000, // 1 day 1 hour (should never reach this wait time)
    maxWait: 25*60*60*1000, // 1 day 1 hour (should never reach this wait time)
    lifetime: 24*60*60, // 1 day (seconds not milliseconds)
    failCallback: failCallback,
    handleStoreError: handleStoreError
app.set('trust proxy', 1); // Don't set to "true", it's not secure. Make sure it matches your environment'/auth',
        key: function(req, res, next) {
            // prevent too many attempts for the same username
    function (req, res, next) {
        if (User.isValidLogin(req.body.username, req.body.password)) { // omitted for the sake of conciseness
          // reset the failure counter so next time they log in they get 5 tries again before the delays kick in
            req.brute.reset(function () {
                res.redirect('/'); // logged in, send them to the home page
        } else {
            res.flash('error', "Invalid username or password")
            res.redirect('/login'); // bad username/password, send them back to the login page



  • BUG: Fixed an edge case where freeretries weren't being respected if app servers had slightly different times


  • NEW: Updated to use Express 4.x as a peer dependency.
  • REMOVED: proxyDepth option on ExpressBrute has been removed. Use app.set('trust proxy', x) from Express 4 instead. More Info
  • REMOVED: getIPFromRequest(req) has been removed from instances, use req.ip instead.


  • NEW: Added new ignoreIP option. (Thanks Magnitus-!)
  • CHANGED: .reset callbacks are now always called asyncronously, regardless of the implementation of the store (particularly effects MemoryStore).
  • CHANGED: Unit tests have been converted from Jasmine to Mocha/Chai/Sinon
  • BUG: Fixed a crash when .reset was called without a callback function


  • NEW: Added the handleStoreError option to allow more customizable handling of errors that are thrown by the persistent store. Default behavior is to throw the errors as an exception - there is nothing ExpressBrute can do to recover.
  • CHANGED: Errors thrown as a result of errors raised by the store now include the store's error as well, for debugging purposes.


  • CHANGED: Stopped using res.send(status, body), as it is deprecated in express 4.x. Instead call res.status and res.send separately (Thanks marinewater!)


  • BUG: When setting proxyDepth to 1, ips is never populated with proxied X-Forwarded-For IP.


  • NEW: Added an additional FailTooManyRequests failure callback, that returns a 429 (TooManyRequests) error instead of 403 (Forbidden). This is a more accurate error status code.
  • NEW: All the built in failure callbacks now set the "Retry-After" header to the number of seconds until it is safe to try again. Per RFC6585
  • NEW: Documentation updated to list some known store implementations.
  • CHANGED: Default failure callback is now FailTooManyRequests. FailForbidden remains an option for backwards compatiblity.
  • CHANGED: ExpressBrute.MemcachedStore is no longer included by default, and is now available as a separate module (because there are multiple store options it doesn't really make sense to include one by default).
  • CHANGED: FailMark no longer sets returns 403 Forbidden, instead does 429 TooManyRequets.


  • BUG: In some cases when no callbacks were supplied memcached would drop the request. Ensure that memcached always sees a callback even if ExpressBrute isn't given one.


  • NEW: refreshTimeoutOnRequest option that allows you to prevent the remaining lifetime for a timer from being reset on each request (useful for implementing limits for set time frames, e.g. requests per day)
  • BUG: Lifetimes were not previously getting extended properly for instances of ExpressBrute.MemoryStore


  • NEW: attachResetToRequest parameter that lets you prevent the request object being decorated
  • NEW: failCallback can be overriden by getMiddleware
  • NEW: proxyDepth option on ExpressBrute that specifies how many levels of the X-Forwarded-For header to trust (inspired by express-bouncer).
  • NEW: getIPFromRequest method that essentially allows reset to used in a similar ways as in v0.2.2. This also respects the new proxyDepth setting.
  • CHANGED: getMiddleware now takes an options object instead of the key directly.


  • NEW: Support for using custom keys to group requests further (e.g. grouping login requests by username)
  • NEW: Support for middleware from multiple instances of ExpressBrute on the same route.
  • NEW: Tracking lifetime now has a reasonable default derived from the other settings for that instance of ExpressBrute
  • NEW: Keys are now hashed before saving to a store, to prevent really long key names and reduce the possibility of collisions.
  • NEW: There is now a convience method that gets attached to req object as req.brute.reset. It takes a single parameter (a callback), and will reset all the counters used by ExpressBrute middleware that was called for the current route.
  • CHANGED: Tracking lifetime is now specified on ExpressBrute instead of MemcachedStore. This also means lifetime is now supported by MemoryStore.
  • CHANGED: The function signature for ExpressBrute.reset has changed. It now requires an IP and key be passed instead of a request object.
  • IMPROVED: Efficiency for large values of freeRetries.
  • BUG: Removed a small chance of incorrectly triggering brute force protection.

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