Adonis Tutorial — JWT Authentication

In the previous tutorial, you’ve created a CRUD REST API with Node and Adonis.js. Now, let’s implement JWT authentication to secure our RESTful API for from any unauthorized access.

JWT stands for JSON Web Tokens and it’s a way to exchange information between computer systems. It has been leveraged to authenticate users instead of using cookies and sessions.

A JWT token (also called access token) is generated on the server, upon a login request from a client—where it’s stored using the (browser’s) local storage.

The stored access token is then retrieved and attached to every outgoing request to the server —which extracts it from the request’ Authorization header—and check if it’s valid before allowing access to any protected resource.


Before starting with this tutorial, you need to have:

  • A development environment with recent versions of Node and NPM installed,
  • The Adonis CLI installed on your system,
  • A basic knowledge of JavaScript,
  • A working knowledge of Node and NPM,
  • You have completed the previous tutorial and created a REST API project with the endpoints that you need to protect


In the previous tutorial, you’ve created the following routes for performing CRUD operations against a SQLite database that stores a set of contacts:

  • PUT /api/contacts/:id for updating a contact by its id,
  • DELETE /api/contacts/:id for deleting a contact by its id,
  • GET/api/contacts/:id for getting a contact by its id,
  • POST /api/contacts for creating a new contact,
  • GET /api/contacts for fetching contacts.

In a real world, scenario, you will often need to protect the endpoints for creating, updating and deleting contacts from your CRUD interface.

Setting up JWT Authentication in Adonis.js

Adonis.js has JWT support out of the box. You just need to change a setting in the config/auth.js file which instructs Adonis to use jwt as the authenticator instead of session:

module.exports = {
  authenticator: 'jwt',

Authentication in Adonis is a combination of a serializer and a scheme with configuration settings to define how to authenticate users.

You can use the basic, session, jwt and api schemes and the lucid and database serializers. This is the default configuration for JWT in the config/auth.js file:

  jwt: {
    serializer: 'lucid',
    model: 'App/Models/User',
    scheme: 'jwt',
    uid: 'email',
    password: 'password',
    options: {
      secret: Env.get('APP_KEY')

Creating the Authentication Controller

After setting the jwt authenticator in your project’s auth configuration, you next need to generate a controller for handling authentication. Head back to your terminal and run the following command:

$ adonis make:controller --type http AuthController 
√ create  app\Controllers\Http\AuthController.js

Next, open the app\Controllers\Http\AuthController.js file, you should find an empty controller class:

'use strict'
class AuthController {
module.exports = AuthController

We need to add the controller methods to register and login users.

First, make sure you import the User model before defining AuthController:

const User = use('App/Models/User');

Adding the register() Method

Inside the AuthController class, add the following register() method that will be used for creating new users in the database:

async register({request, auth, response}) {
        const username = request.input("username")
        const email = request.input("email")
        const password = request.input("password")

        let user = new User()
        user.username = username = email
        user.password = password

        user = await
        let accessToken = await auth.generate(user)
        return response.json({"user": user, "access_token": accessToken})

Adding the login() Method

Next, let’s add the login() method:

async login({request, auth, response}) {
        const email = request.input("email")
        const password = request.input("password");
        try {
          if (await auth.attempt(email, password)) {
            let user = await User.findBy('email', email)
            let accessToken = await auth.generate(user)
            return response.json({"user":user, "access_token": accessToken})

        catch (e) {
          return response.json({message: 'You first need to register!'})

Adding the Authentication Routes

Open the start/routes.js file and add two routes that accept a POST request:'/auth/register', 'AuthController.register')'/auth/login', 'AuthController.login')

Protecting the Routes with the Auth Middleware

Finally, you need to secure the routes using the auth middleware:

Route.put('/api/contacts/:id', 'ContactController.update').middleware('auth')
Route.delete('/api/contacts/id', 'ContactController.destroy').middleware('auth')'/api/contacts', '').middleware('auth')
Route.get('/api/contacts', 'ContactController.index')


Throughout this tutorial series, you've created a REST API application with Node and Adonis. You also used JWT to add authentication in order to protect some endpoints for non logged in users.

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