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Simple VAPID header generation library

Project description

This minimal library contains the minimal set of functions you need to generate a VAPID key set and get the headers you’ll need to sign a WebPush subscription update.

VAPID is a voluntary standard for WebPush subscription providers (sites that send WebPush updates to remote customers) to self-identify to Push Servers (the servers that convey the push notifications).

The VAPID “claims” are a set of JSON keys and values. There are two required fields, one semi-optional and several optional additional fields.

At a minimum a VAPID claim set should look like:


A few notes:

sub is the email address you wish to have on record for this request, prefixed with “mailto:”. If things go wrong, this is the email that will be used to contact you (for instance). This can be a general delivery address like “” or a specific address like “”.

aud is the audience for the VAPID. This is the scheme and host you use to send subscription endpoints and generally coincides with the endpoint specified in the Subscription Info block.

As example, if a WebPush subscription info contains: {"endpoint": "", ...}

then the aud would be “

While some Push Services consider this an optional field, others may be stricter.

exp This is the UTC timestamp for when this VAPID request will expire. The maximum period is 24 hours. Setting a shorter period can prevent “replay” attacks. Setting a longer period allows you to reuse headers for multiple sends (e.g. if you’re sending hundreds of updates within an hour or so.) If no exp is included, one that will expire in 24 hours will be auto-generated for you.

Claims should be stored in a JSON compatible file. In the examples below, we’ve stored the claims into a file named claims.json.

py_vapid can either be installed as a library or used as a stand along app, bin/vapid.

App Installation

You’ll need python virtualenv Run that in the current directory.

Then run

bin/pip install -r requirements.txt

bin/python install

App Usage

Run by itself, bin/vapid will check and optionally create the public_key.pem and private_key.pem files.

bin/vapid --gen can be used to generate a new set of public and private key PEM files. These will overwrite the contents of private_key.pem and public_key.pem.

bin/vapid --sign claims.json will generate a set of HTTP headers from a JSON formatted claims file. A sample claims.json is included with this distribution.

bin/vapid --sign claims.json --json will output the headers in JSON format, which may be useful for other programs.

bin/vapid --applicationServerKey will return the applicationServerKey value you can use to make a restricted endpoint. See for more details. Be aware that this value is tied to the generated public/private key. If you remove or generate a new key, any restricted URL you’ve previously generated will need to be reallocated. Please note that some User Agents may require you to decode this string into a Uint8Array.

See bin/vapid -h for all options and commands.

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