Securely Share Sessions Between Services with Aiohttp Session Proxy

Feb 22, 2024 ยท 2 min read

When building complex web applications, it is common to break up functionality into separate microservices that each handle a specific task. However, this can introduce challenges in managing user sessions and sharing session data between services.

Aiohttp session proxy provides a simple solution to securely share session data across multiple aiohttp-based services. Here's how it works and some best practices for implementation:

The Basics: Proxying Sessions

The aiohttp session proxy acts as a middleman for session data. When a user authenticates in Service A, a session cookie is set. When the user makes a request to Service B, Service B can get session data from the proxy rather than handling authentication itself.

This allows each service to remain decoupled, while still providing a seamless user experience. The proxy handles encryption, so session data remains secure as it is shared across services.

Implementation Tips

When using aiohttp session proxy, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Set the AIOHTTP_SESSION_PROXY environment variable in each service to point to the proxy.
  • Use HTTPS to secure connections between services and proxy.
  • Follow principle of least privilege - only share necessary session data.
  • Create a dedicated proxy service instead of sharing a general API gateway.
  • Handling Timeouts

    The proxy stores session data in an encrypted cookie by default. Be sure to set the cookie lifetime longer than the proxy timeout to avoid unnecessary re-authentication if the proxy resets.

    Example Code

    Here is some sample code for getting and setting session data using the proxy:

    from aiohttp_session_proxy import get_session, set_session
    session = await get_session()
    session['username'] = 'john'
    await set_session(session) 

    Using aiohttp session proxy prevents having to reinvent session management and authentication logic across microservices. With some careful implementation, it can abstract these complexities away from individual services.

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