JSON Web Token implementation (symmetric and asymmetric)


An implementation of JSON Web Tokens.

This was developed against draft-ietf-oauth-json-web-token-08. It makes use of node-jws


$ npm install jsonwebtoken


(Synchronous) Returns the JsonWebToken as string

payload could be an object literal, buffer or string. Please note that exp is only set if the payload is an object literal.

secretOrPrivateKey is a string or buffer containing either the secret for HMAC algorithms, or the PEM encoded private key for RSA and ECDSA.


  • algorithm (default: HS256)
  • expiresIn: expressed in seconds or an string describing a time span rauchg/ms. Eg: 60, "2 days", "10h", "7d"
  • audience
  • subject
  • issuer
  • noTimestamp
  • headers

If payload is not a buffer or a string, it will be coerced into a string using JSON.stringify.

If any expiresIn, audience, subject, issuer are not provided, there is no default. The jwt generated won't include those properties in the payload.

Additional headers can be provided via the headers object.

Generated jwts will include an iat claim by default unless noTimestamp is specified.


// sign with default (HMAC SHA256) 
var jwt = require('jsonwebtoken');
var token = jwt.sign({ foo: 'bar' }, 'shhhhh');
// sign with RSA SHA256 
var cert = fs.readFileSync('private.key');  // get private key 
var token = jwt.sign({ foo: 'bar' }, cert, { algorithm: 'RS256'});

(Asynchronous) If a callback is supplied, function acts asynchronously. Callback passed the payload decoded if the signature (and optionally expiration, audience, issuer) are valid. If not, it will be passed the error.

(Synchronous) If a callback is not supplied, function acts synchronously. Returns the payload decoded if the signature (and optionally expiration, audience, issuer) are valid. If not, it will throw the error.

token is the JsonWebToken string

secretOrPublicKey is a string or buffer containing either the secret for HMAC algorithms, or the PEM encoded public key for RSA and ECDSA.


  • algorithms: List of strings with the names of the allowed algorithms. For instance, ["HS256", "HS384"].
  • audience: if you want to check audience (aud), provide a value here
  • issuer: if you want to check issuer (iss), provide a value here
  • ignoreExpiration: if true do not validate the expiration of the token.
  • maxAge: optional sets an expiration based on the iat field. Eg 2h
// verify a token symmetric - synchronous 
var decoded = jwt.verify(token, 'shhhhh');
console.log(decoded.foo) // bar 
// verify a token symmetric 
jwt.verify(token, 'shhhhh', function(errdecoded) {
  console.log(decoded.foo) // bar 
// invalid token - synchronous 
try {
  var decoded = jwt.verify(token, 'wrong-secret');
} catch(err) {
  // err 
// invalid token 
jwt.verify(token, 'wrong-secret', function(errdecoded) {
  // err 
  // decoded undefined 
// verify a token asymmetric 
var cert = fs.readFileSync('public.pem');  // get public key 
jwt.verify(token, cert, function(errdecoded) {
  console.log(decoded.foo) // bar 
// verify audience 
var cert = fs.readFileSync('public.pem');  // get public key 
jwt.verify(token, cert, { audience: 'urn:foo' }, function(errdecoded) {
  // if audience mismatch, err == invalid audience 
// verify issuer 
var cert = fs.readFileSync('public.pem');  // get public key 
jwt.verify(token, cert, { audience: 'urn:foo', issuer: 'urn:issuer' }, function(errdecoded) {
  // if issuer mismatch, err == invalid issuer 
// alg mismatch 
var cert = fs.readFileSync('public.pem'); // get public key 
jwt.verify(token, cert, { algorithms: ['RS256'] }, function (errpayload) {
  // if token alg != RS256,  err == invalid signature 

(Synchronous) Returns the decoded payload without verifying if the signature is valid.

Warning: This will not verify whether the signature is valid. You should not use this for untrusted messages. You most likely want to use jwt.verify instead.

token is the JsonWebToken string


  • json: force JSON.parse on the payload even if the header doesn't contain "typ":"JWT".
  • complete: return an object with the decoded payload and header.


// get the decoded payload ignoring signature, no secretOrPrivateKey needed 
var decoded = jwt.decode(token);
// get the decoded payload and header 
var decoded = jwt.decode(token, {complete: true});

Possible thrown errors during verification. Error is the first argument of the verification callback.

Thrown error if the token is expired.

Error object:

  • name: 'TokenExpiredError'
  • message: 'jwt expired'
  • expiredAt: [ExpDate]
jwt.verify(token, 'shhhhh', function(errdecoded) {
  if (err) {
      err = {
        name: 'TokenExpiredError',
        message: 'jwt expired',
        expiredAt: 1408621000

Error object:

  • name: 'JsonWebTokenError'
  • message:
    • 'jwt malformed'
    • 'jwt signature is required'
    • 'invalid signature'
    • 'jwt audience invalid. expected: [OPTIONS AUDIENCE]'
    • 'jwt issuer invalid. expected: [OPTIONS ISSUER]'
jwt.verify(token, 'shhhhh', function(errdecoded) {
  if (err) {
      err = {
        name: 'JsonWebTokenError',
        message: 'jwt malformed'

Array of supported algorithms. The following algorithms are currently supported.

alg Parameter ValueDigital Signature or MAC Algorithm
HS256HMAC using SHA-256 hash algorithm
HS384HMAC using SHA-384 hash algorithm
HS512HMAC using SHA-512 hash algorithm
RS256RSASSA using SHA-256 hash algorithm
RS384RSASSA using SHA-384 hash algorithm
RS512RSASSA using SHA-512 hash algorithm
ES256ECDSA using P-256 curve and SHA-256 hash algorithm
ES384ECDSA using P-384 curve and SHA-384 hash algorithm
ES512ECDSA using P-521 curve and SHA-512 hash algorithm
noneNo digital signature or MAC value included

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.


  • X.509 certificate chain is not checked


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