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Refreshing Tokens

JWTs come with a strict exp (Expiration Time), which means that a long session might lead to multiple logouts and 401 Authentication errors. To mitigate such behavior, refresh tokens are employed to facilitate the generation of additional access tokens without requiring the user to log in again.

Implicit refresh with Cookies

The most common way to refresh tokens is by using cookies. When the access token expires, the client sends a request to the server with the refresh token stored in a cookie. The server then generates a new access token and sends it back to the client in the response.


Cookies are not supported in all environments, such as mobile applications, SDKs, or APIs. In such cases, you may need to implement an explicit refresh mechanism.


Work in progress: This feature need to be documented.

Explicit Refresh

In cases where implicit refresh isn't feasible—such as in mobile applications, SDKs, or APIs—you may need to explicitly declare the refresh logic in your application.

To implement an explicit refresh mechanism, you need to create a new route that accepts the refresh token and returns a new access token. This route should be protected by the refresh_token_required dependency, which will verify the refresh token and extract the payload.


The refresh token should be stored securely on the client side, and the route should be protected by HTTPS to prevent tampering.

from pydantic import BaseModel
from fastapi import FastAPI, Depends, HTTPException
from authx import AuthX, TokenPayload

app = FastAPI()
security = AuthX()

class LoginForm(BaseModel):
    username: str
    password: str'/login')
def login(data: LoginForm):
    if data.username == "test" and data.password == "test":
        access_token = security.create_access_token(data.username)
        refresh_token = security.create_refresh_token(data.username)
        return {
            "access_token": access_token,
            "refresh_token": refresh_token
    raise HTTPException(401, "Bad username/password")'/refresh')
def refresh(
    refresh_payload: TokenPayload = Depends(security.refresh_token_required)
    access_token = security.create_access_token(refresh_payload.sub)
    return {"access_token": access_token}

@app.get('/protected', dependencies=[Depends(security.access_token_required)])
def protected():
    return "You have access to this protected resource"

In this example, the /refresh route only searches for a valid refresh token in the request. Once verified, it generates a new access token to extend the session.

This example provides a basic implementation of an explicit refresh mechanism. In a production scenario, you might want to retrieve the current access token to revoke it, thereby avoiding the generation of an infinite number of valid access tokens.

# To obtain a token, we log in
$ curl -s -X POST --json '{"username":"test", "password":"test"}'
{"access_token": $TOKEN, "refresh_token": $REFRESH_TOKEN}
# We request access to the protected route with the token
$ curl -s --oauth2-bearer $TOKEN
"You have access to this sensitive operation"
# To obtain a new access token, we refresh it
$ curl -s --oauth2-bearer $REFRESH_TOKEN
{"access_token": $NEW_TOKEN}

As demonstrated in the final step, the refreshing mechanism enables the acquisition of new tokens without the need for re-authentication.