Top 5 JavaScript Authentication Libraries

Updated Jun 06, 2024#javascript#auth#libs#lists

Authentication libraries help you simplify the process of managing user logins, sessions, tokens, and permissions. Here are 5 most popular authentication libraries in JavaScript:

  1. Auth.js (22.8k ⭐): A runtime agnostic library based on standard Web APIs that integrates deeply with multiple modern JavaScript frameworks to provide an authentication experience that’s simple to get started with, easy to extend, and always private and secure.

  2. Passport.js (22.6k ⭐): Passport uses the concept of strategies to authenticate requests. Strategies can range from verifying username and password credentials, delegated authentication using OAuth (for example, via Facebook or Twitter), or federated authentication using OpenID.

  3. Lucia (8k ⭐): An auth library for server that abstracts away the complexity of handling sessions. It works alongside your database to provide an API that’s easy to use, understand, and extend. No more endless configuration and callbacks. Fully typed. Works in any runtime like Node.js, Bun, Deno, Cloudflare Workers. Extensive database support out of the box.

  4. jsonwebtoken (17.4k ⭐): An implementation of JSON Web Tokens, an open standard for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. Once a user logs in, subsequent requests include the JWT for access to authorized routes and resources.

  5. CASL (5.7k ⭐): An isomorphic authorization JavaScript library which restricts what resources a given user is allowed to access. It’s designed to be incrementally adoptable and can easily scale between a simple claim based and fully featured subject and attribute based authorization. It makes it easy to manage and share permissions across UI components, API services, and database queries.

Common features

  • Multiple Authentication Strategies: They support various authentication methods, including username/password, social media logins, and token-based authentication.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO): Libraries often facilitate SSO with OpenID, OAuth, and other protocols, allowing users to log in once and access multiple applications.
  • Session Management: These libraries handle user sessions, maintaining state between the server and the client across multiple requests.
  • Dynamic Scope and Permissions: They can dynamically assign and manage permissions and scopes, controlling access to different levels of application functionality.
  • Secure Password Storage: Securely hashing and storing passwords is a critical feature, protecting user credentials from potential breaches.
  • Token Acquisition and Management: Securely handling the lifecycle of tokens to ensure continuous and secure access to resources in web applications.
  • Framework-Agnostic: Many libraries are designed to work across different JavaScript frameworks, making them versatile for various development environments.

Common authentication methods

  • Session Cookies: When a user logs in, a session is created on the server, and the session ID is sent to the client as a cookie. This cookie is sent with every subsequent request to maintain the user’s session.
  • Bearer Tokens: Typically used in stateless authentication schemes like OAuth 2.0. The client includes the token in the Authorization header of HTTP requests. The server validates the token on each request.
  • OAuth: An open standard for access delegation commonly used as a way to grant websites or applications limited access to user information without exposing passwords. OAuth 2.0 is the most widely used version.
  • Email + Password: Traditional method where users authenticate by providing their email and password. The server verifies the credentials and creates a session or issues a token.
  • Passkeys: Part of a passwordless authentication method, often utilizing public-key cryptography. Users authenticate using biometrics or hardware tokens instead of passwords.
  • Magic Links: Passwordless authentication method where a user requests a login link sent to their email. Clicking the link logs them in without requiring a password.