JSON Web Tokens (JWTs)

Beginning with API version 4.0, Fauna can accept valid JWTs from a configured identity provider (IdP) — such as Auth0 — that provide self-contained JWTs.

A JSON Web Token (JWT) is a compact representation of various claims, which can include identity, authentication status, permissions, and more.

Within a JWT, a claim is, essentially, a specific key and value within a JSON structure. For example:

  "iss": "https://faunadb-auth0.auth0.com/",
  "sub": "google-oauth2|997696438605329289272",
  "aud": [
  "iat": 1602681059,
  "exp": 1602767459,
  "azp": "QpU1xmXv7pwumxlBilT34MB7pErILWrF",
  "scope": "openid profile email",

Within that JWT, there are seven claims:

  • iss: The issuer of the JWT, specifying the identity provider.

  • sub: The "subscriber" or authenticated user identity. The example sub claim is for an authenticated Google user whose identity was confirmed by the identity provider, Auth0.

  • aud: The audience(s) (URLs) that expect to validate and use the JWT’s claims. The example aud claim includes two URLs that are permitted/expected to process the JWT:

    1. The first URL is an identity provider-specific URL that permits the JWT holder to ask for additional user information that is not automatically included in the JWT.

    2. The second URL is an example of a Fauna database identifier URL. The latter string of characters is a globally-unique identifier for the specific database that should accept the JWT.

  • iat: The "Issued-at" timestamp, which is a Unix timestamp identifying when the JWT token was created.

  • exp: The expiry timestamp. The audience URLs should accept the JWT’s claims starting with the iat, and ending with the exp. Once the JWT has expired, its claims should be ignored/rejected.

  • azp: The "authorized party", party to which the JWT was issued. Usually, this is used to contain the userid within the identity provider.

  • scope: The scope is a space-delimited list of scope names. Each scope should be considered to be permitted use of the JWT.

There are a wide variety of claims that can be included in a JWT, but the claims identified above tend to be the most commonly used claims. To work with Fauna, a JWT must, at minimum, include the iss, sub, and aud claims.

Trust in a JWT comes from the cryptographic signing of the JWT by the identity provider, or encryption of the JWT when disclosure of the claims is undesirable. Typically, the identity provider makes a public key available so that the receiver of a JWT can validate/decrypt the JWT for use. The standard location URL template is https://<identity provider>/.well-known/jwks.json.

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