#jwt #web #api #token #jwk


Create and decode JWTs in a strongly typed way

20 stable releases (7 major)

✓ Uses Rust 2018 edition

7.0.0-alpha.2 Nov 28, 2019
6.0.1 May 10, 2019
5.0.1 Sep 10, 2018
4.0.1 Mar 19, 2018
0.2.0 Nov 8, 2015

#3 in Web programming

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15,674 downloads per month
Used in 31 crates (29 directly)

MIT license



Build Status

API documentation on docs.rs

See JSON Web Tokens for more information on what JSON Web Tokens are.


Add the following to Cargo.toml:

jsonwebtoken = "7"
serde = {version = "1.0", features = ["derive"] }

The minimum required Rust version is 1.36.


This library currently supports the following:

  • HS256
  • HS384
  • HS512
  • RS256
  • RS384
  • RS512
  • PS256
  • PS384
  • PS512
  • ES256
  • ES384

How to use

Complete examples are available in the examples directory: a basic one and one with a custom header.

In terms of imports and structs:

use serde::{Serialize, Deserialize};
use jsonwebtoken::{encode, decode, Header, Algorithm, Validation};

/// Our claims struct, it needs to derive `Serialize` and/or `Deserialize`
#[derive(Debug, Serialize, Deserialize)]
struct Claims {
    sub: String,
    company: String,
    exp: usize,


The default algorithm is HS256, which uses a shared secret.

let token = encode(&Header::default(), &my_claims, "secret".as_ref())?;

Custom headers & changing algorithm

All the parameters from the RFC are supported but the default header only has typ and alg set. If you want to set the kid parameter or change the algorithm for example:

let mut header = Header::new(Algorithm::HS512);
header.kid = Some("blabla".to_owned());
let token = encode(&header, &my_claims, "secret".as_ref())?;

Look at examples/custom_header.rs for a full working example.


// HS256
let token = encode(&Header::default(), &my_claims, "secret".as_ref())?;
// RSA
let token = encode(&Header::new(Algorithm::RS256), &my_claims, include_str!("privkey.pem"))?;

Encoding a JWT takes 3 parameters:

  • a header: the Header struct
  • some claims: your own struct
  • a key/secret

When using HS256, HS2384 or HS512, the key is always a shared secret like in the example above. When using RSA/EC, the key should always be the content of the private key in the PEM format.


// `token` is a struct with 2 fields: `header` and `claims` where `claims` is your own struct.
let token = decode::<Claims>(&token, "secret".as_ref(), &Validation::default())?;

decode can error for a variety of reasons:

  • the token or its signature is invalid
  • the token had invalid base64
  • validation of at least one reserved claim failed

As with encoding, when using HS256, HS2384 or HS512, the key is always a shared secret like in the example above. When using RSA/EC, the key should always be the content of the public key in the PEM format.

In some cases, for example if you don't know the algorithm used or need to grab the kid, you can choose to decode only the header:

let header = decode_header(&token)?;

This does not perform any signature verification or validate the token claims.

You can also decode a token using the public key components of a RSA key in base64 format. The main use-case is for JWK where your public key is in a JSON format like so:

// `token` is a struct with 2 fields: `header` and `claims` where `claims` is your own struct.
let token = decode_rsa_components::<Claims>(&token, jwk["n"], jwk["e"], &Validation::new(Algorithm::RS256))?;

Converting .der to .pem

You can use openssl for that:

openssl rsa -inform DER -outform PEM -in mykey.der -out mykey.pem

Convert SEC1 private key to PKCS8

jsonwebtoken currently only supports PKCS8 format for private EC keys. If your key has BEGIN EC PRIVATE KEY at the top, this is a SEC1 type and can be converted to PKCS8 like so:

openssl pkcs8 -topk8 -nocrypt -in sec1.pem -out pkcs8.pem


This library validates automatically the exp claim and nbf is validated if present. You can also validate the sub, iss and aud but those require setting the expected value in the Validation struct.

Since validating time fields is always a bit tricky due to clock skew, you can add some leeway to the iat, exp and nbf validation by setting the leeway field.

Last but not least, you will need to set the algorithm(s) allowed for this token if you are not using HS256.

use jsonwebtoken::{Validation, Algorithm};

// Default validation: the only algo allowed is HS256
let validation = Validation::default();
// Quick way to setup a validation where only the algorithm changes
let validation = Validation::new(Algorithm::HS512);
// Adding some leeway (in seconds) for exp and nbf checks
let mut validation = Validation {leeway: 60, ..Default::default()};
// Checking issuer
let mut validation = Validation {iss: Some("issuer".to_string()), ..Default::default()};
// Setting audience
let mut validation = Validation::default();
validation.set_audience(&"Me"); // string
validation.set_audience(&["Me", "You"]); // array of strings

Look at examples/validation.rs for a full working example.


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