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This module provides Express middleware for decoding JWTs (JSON Web Tokens) through the jws module. The decoded JWT payload is made available on the request object. This package is largely the same as the express-jwt module, simplified to remove the verification of JWTs.

This may be suitable for applications where your express server is fronted by an ingress that has already verified the token, which can avoid having to manage access to secrets in your express server.

Warning: This middleware will not verify whether the signature is valid. You should not use this for untrusted messages.

You should ensure that the request is verified before being handled by this middleware, for example by some prior middleware or an ingress fronting your express server. Namely, the verification should ensure that the token exists, is in the expected format, and is valid. Otherwise, the message should be treated as untrusted, and should not reach this middleware.

You should ensure that this middleware retrieves the JWT from the request in the exact same way it is retrieved for verification. This is important because discrepancies could allow an attacker to craft a request with a valid JWT that satisfies the verification, and a secondary JWT that bypasses verification to be retrieved and decoded by your express server. By default, this middleware extracts the JWT from the Authorization header (or its lowercase counterpart, since header names are not case sensitive, see RFC 2616 - "Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1" Section 4.2, "Message Headers") as an OAuth2 Bearer token. Assuming the verification also extracts the JWT in this standard way, this should only be a concern if implementing the getToken option yourself, which is why its usage is strongly discouraged in the context of this package.

Warning: When the token comes from an untrusted source (e.g. user input or external request), the returned decoded payload should be treated like any other user input; please make sure to sanitize and only work with properties that are expected.


$ npm install express-decode-jwt


expressdecodejwt(options?: Params)

Options has the following parameters:

  • getToken?: TokenGetter (optional): A function that receives the express Request and returns the token, by default it looks in the Authorization header. Usage of this option is strongly discouraged, for security reasons.
  • credentialsRequired?: boolean (optional): If it's false, continue to the next middleware if the request does not contain a token instead of failing, defaults to true.
  • requestProperty?: string (optional): Name of the property in the request object where the payload is set. Default to req.auth.

The available functions have the following interface:

  • TokenGetter = (req: express.Request) => string | Promise<string> | undefined;


Basic usage:

var { expressdecodejwt: decodeJwt } = require("express-decode-jwt");
// or ES6
// import { expressdecodejwt as decodeJwt } from "express-jwt";

  function (req, res) {
    const authorizedSubject = "1234567890";
    if (req.auth.sub !=== authorizedSubject) return res.sendStatus(401);

The decoded JWT payload is available on the request via the auth property.

The default behavior of the module is to extract the JWT from the Authorization header as an OAuth2 Bearer token.

Usage with express routing

To only protect specific paths (e.g. beginning with /api), use express router call use, like so:

app.use("/api", decodeJwt({ secret: "shhhhhhared-secret", algorithms: ["HS256"] }));

Customizing Token Location

A custom function for extracting the token from a request can be specified with the getToken option. This is useful if you need to pass the token through a query parameter or a cookie. You can throw an error in this function and it will be handled by express-jwt.

    credentialsRequired: false,
    getToken: function fromHeaderOrQuerystring(req) {
      if (
        req.headers.authorization &&
        req.headers.authorization.split(" ")[0] === "Bearer"
      ) {
        return req.headers.authorization.split(" ")[1];
      } else if (req.query && req.query.token) {
        return req.query.token;
      return null;

Warning: for security reasons, usage of the getToken option is strongly discouraged in the context of this package.

Error handling

The default behavior is to throw an error when the token is invalid, so you can add your custom logic to manage unauthorized access as follows:

app.use(function (err, req, res, next) {
  if ( === "UnauthorizedError") {
    res.status(401).send("invalid token...");
  } else {

The thrown UnauthorizedError is a misnomer, as the validation performed by this middleware is insufficient to assert that the request is authorized.

You might want to use this module to identify registered users while still providing access to unregistered users. You can do this by using the option credentialsRequired:

app.use(decodeJwt({ credentialsRequired: false }));


A Request type is provided from express-decode-jwt, which extends express.Request with the auth property. It could be aliased, like how JWTRequest is below.

import { expressdecodejwt as decodeJwt, Request as JWTRequest } from "express-decode-jwt";

  function (req: JWTRequest, res: express.Response) {
    iconst authorizedSubject = "1234567890";
    if (req.auth?.sub !=== authorizedSubject) return res.sendStatus(401);

Related Modules


$ npm install
$ npm test


Check them out here and here

Issue Reporting

If you have found a bug or if you have a feature request, please report them at this repository issues section. Please do not report security vulnerabilities on the public GitHub issue tracker. The Responsible Disclosure Program details the procedure for disclosing security issues.




This project is licensed under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.

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