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Advanced sessions for Starlette and FastAPI frameworks

Project description


Advanced sessions for Starlette and FastAPI frameworks

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Install starsessions using PIP or poetry:

pip install starsessions
# or
poetry add starsessions

Use redis extra for Redis support.

Quick start

See example application in examples/ directory of this repository.


  1. Add starsessions.SessionMiddleware to your application to enable session support,
  2. Configure session store and pass it to the middleware,
  3. Load session in your view/middleware by calling load_session(connection) utility.
from starlette.applications import Starlette
from starlette.middleware import Middleware
from starlette.responses import JSONResponse
from starlette.routing import Route

from starsessions import CookieStore, load_session, SessionMiddleware

async def index_view(request):
    await load_session(request)

    session_data = request.session
    return JSONResponse(session_data)

session_store = CookieStore(secret_key='TOP SECRET')

app = Starlette(
        Middleware(SessionMiddleware, store=session_store, lifetime=3600 * 24 * 14),
        Route('/', index_view),

Cookie security

By default, the middleware uses strict defaults. The cookie lifetime is limited to the browser session and sent via HTTPS protocol only. You can change these defaults by changing cookie_https_only and lifetime arguments:

from starlette.middleware import Middleware

from starsessions import CookieStore, SessionMiddleware

session_store = CookieStore(secret_key='TOP SECRET')

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, store=session_store, cookie_https_only=False, lifetime=3600 * 24 * 14),

The example above will let session usage over insecure HTTP transport and the session lifetime will be set to 14 days.

Loading session

The session data is not loaded by default. Call load_session to load data from the store.

async def index_view(request):
    await load_session(request)
    request.session['key'] = 'value'

However, if you try to access uninitialized session, SessionNotLoaded exception will be raised.

async def index_view(request):
    request.session['key'] = 'value'  # raises SessionNotLoaded

You can automatically load session by using SessionAutoloadMiddleware middleware.

Session autoload

For performance reasons session is not autoloaded by default. Sometimes it is annoying to call load_session too often. We provide SessionAutoloadMiddleware to reduce amount of boilerplate code by autoloading session for you.

There are two options: always autoload or autoload for specific paths only. Here are examples:

from starlette.middleware import Middleware

from starsessions import CookieStore, SessionAutoloadMiddleware, SessionMiddleware

session_store = CookieStore(secret_key='TOP SECRET')

# Always autoload

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, store=session_store),

# Autoload session for selected paths

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, store=session_store),
    Middleware(SessionAutoloadMiddleware, paths=['/admin', '/app']),

# regex patterns also supported
import re

admin_rx = re.compile('/admin*')

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, store=session_store),
    Middleware(SessionAutoloadMiddleware, paths=[admin_rx]),

Rolling sessions

The default behavior of SessionMiddleware is to expire cookie after lifetime seconds after it was set. For example, if you create a session with lifetime=3600 then the session will be terminated exactly in 3600 seconds. Sometimes this may not be what you need, so we provide alternate expiration strategy - rolling sessions.

When rolling sessions in use, the cookie expiration time will be extended by lifetime value on every response. Let's see how it works on example. First, on the first response you create a new session with lifetime=3600, then user does another request and session gets extended by another 3600 seconds and so on. This approach is useful when you want to have short-timed sessions but don't want them to interrupt in the middle of user's operation. With rolling strategy, session cookie will be expired only after some period of user's inactivity.

To enable rolling strategy set rolling=True.

from starlette.middleware import Middleware
from starsessions import SessionMiddleware

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, lifetime=300, rolling=True),

The snippet above demonstrates an example setup where session will be dropped after 300 seconds (5 minutes) of inactivity, but will be automatically extended by another 5 minutes while the user is online.

Cookie path

You can pass cookie_path argument to bind session cookie to specific URLs. For example, to activate session cookie only for admin area, use cookie_path="/admin" middleware argument.

from starlette.middleware import Middleware
from starsessions import SessionMiddleware

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, cookie_path='/admin'),

All other URLs not matching value of cookie_path will not receive cookie thus session will be unavailable.

Cookie domain

You can also specify which hosts can receive a cookie by passing cookie_domain argument to the middleware.

from starlette.middleware import Middleware
from starsessions import SessionMiddleware

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, cookie_domain=''),

Note, this makes session cookie available for subdomains too. For example, when you set then session cookie will be available on subdomains like

Session-only cookies

If you want session cookie to automatically remove from tbe browser when tab closes then set lifetime to 0.

Note, this depends on browser implementation!

from starlette.middleware import Middleware
from starsessions import SessionMiddleware

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, lifetime=0),

Built-in stores


Class: starsessions.InMemoryStore

Simply stores data in memory. The data is cleared after server restart. Mostly for use with unit tests.


Class: starsessions.CookieStore

Stores session data in a signed cookie on the client.


Class: starsessions.stores.redis.RedisStore

Stores session data in a Redis server. The store accepts either connection URL or an instance of Redis.

Requires redis-py, use pip install starsessions[redis] or poetry add starsessions[redis]

from redis.asyncio.utils import from_url

from starsessions.stores.redis import RedisStore

store = RedisStore('redis://localhost')
# or
redis = from_url('redis://localhost')

store = RedisStore(connection=redis)

Redis key prefix

By default, all keys in Redis prefixed with starsessions.. If you want to change this use prefix argument.

from starsessions.stores.redis import RedisStore

store = RedisStore(url='redis://localhost', prefix='my_sessions')

Prefix can be a callable:

from starsessions.stores.redis import RedisStore

def make_prefix(key: str) -> str:
    return 'my_sessions_' + key

store = RedisStore(url='redis://localhost', prefix=make_prefix)

Key expiration

The library automatically manages key expiration, usually you have nothing to do with it. But for cases when lifetime=0 we don't know when the session will over, and we have to heuristically calculate TTL otherwise the data will remain in Redis forever. At this moment, we just set 30 days TTL. You can change it by setting gc_ttl value on the store.

from starsessions.stores.redis import RedisStore

store = RedisStore(url='redis://localhost', gc_ttl=3600)  # max 1 hour

Custom store

Creating new stores is quite simple. All you need is to extend starsessions.SessionStore class and implement abstract methods.

Here is an example of how we can create a memory-based session store. Note, it is important that write method returns session ID as a string value.

from typing import Dict

from starsessions import SessionStore

# instance of class which manages session persistence

class InMemoryStore(SessionStore):
    def __init__(self):
        self._storage = {}

    async def read(self, session_id: str, lifetime: int) -> Dict:
        """ Read session data from a data source using session_id. """
        return self._storage.get(session_id, {})

    async def write(self, session_id: str, data: Dict, lifetime: int, ttl: int) -> str:
        """ Write session data into data source and return session id. """
        self._storage[session_id] = data
        return session_id

    async def remove(self, session_id: str):
        """ Remove session data. """
        del self._storage[session_id]

    async def exists(self, session_id: str) -> bool:
        return session_id in self._storage

lifetime and ttl

The write accepts two special arguments: lifetime and ttl. The difference is that lifetime is a total session duration (set by the middleware) and ttl is a remaining session time. After ttl seconds the data can be safely deleted from the storage.

Your custom backend has to correctly handle setups when lifetime = 0. In such cases you don't have exact expiration value, and you have to find a way how to extend session TTL at the storage side, if any.


The library automatically serializes session data to string using JSON. By default, we use starsessions.JsonSerializer but you can implement your own by extending starsessions.Serializer class.

import json
import typing

from starlette.middleware import Middleware

from starsessions import Serializer, SessionMiddleware

class MySerializer(Serializer):
    def serialize(self, data: typing.Any) -> bytes:
        return json.dumps(data).encode('utf-8')

    def deserialize(self, data: bytes) -> typing.Dict[str, typing.Any]:
        return json.loads(data)

middleware = [
    Middleware(SessionMiddleware, serializer=MySerializer()),

Session termination

The middleware will remove session data and cookie if session has no data. Use request.session.clear to empty data.

Regenerating session ID

Sometimes you need a new session ID to avoid session fixation attacks (for example, after successful signs in). For that, use starsessions.session.regenerate_session_id(connection) utility.

from starsessions.session import regenerate_session_id
from starlette.responses import Response

def login(request):
    return Response('successfully signed in')

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