Skip to content

x.vweb.csrf #

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protection

This module implements the [double submit cookie][owasp] technique to protect routes from CSRF attacks.

CSRF is a type of attack that occurs when a malicious program/website (and others) causes a user's web browser to perform an action without them knowing. A web browser automatically sends cookies to a website when it performs a request, including session cookies. So if a user is authenticated on your website the website can not distinguish a forged request by a legitimate request.

When to not add CSRF-protection

If you are creating a service that is intended to be used by other servers e.g. an API, you probably don't want CSRF-protection. An alternative would be to send an Authorization token in, and only in, an HTTP-header (like JSON Web Tokens). If you do that your website isn't vulnerable to CSRF-attacks.


To enable CSRF-protection for your vweb app you must embed the CsrfContext struct on your Context struct. You must also provide configuration options (see configuration & security).


import x.vweb
import x.vweb.csrf

pub struct Context {

Change secret and allowed_hosts in a production environment!


const csrf_config := csrf.CsrfConfig{
    secret: 'my-secret'
    allowed_hosts: ['*']


Enable CSRF protection for all routes, or a certain route(s) by using vweb's middleware.


pub struct App {

fn main() {
    mut app := &App{}
    // register the CSRF middleware and pass our configuration
    // protect a specific route
    app.route_use('/login', csrf.middleware[Context](csrf_config))[App, Context](mut app, 8080)

Setting the token

For the CSRF-protection to work we have to generate an anti-CSRF token and set it as an hidden input field on any form that will be submitted to the route we want to protect.

Example: main.v

fn (app &App) index(mut ctx) vweb.Result {
    // this function will set a cookie header and generate a CSRF token
    ctx.set_csrf_token(mut ctx)
    return $vweb.html()

fn (app &App) login(mut ctx, password string) vweb.Result {
    // implement your own password validation here
    if password == 'password' {
        return ctx.text('You are logged in!')
    } else {
        return ctx.text('Invalid password!')


<h1>Log in</h1>
<form method='POST' action='/login'>
    <label for='password'>Password:</label>
    <input type='text' name='password' id='password'>
    <button type='submit'>Log in</button>

If we run the app with v run main.v and navigate to http://localhost:8080/ we will see the login form and we can login using the password "password".

If we remove the hidden input, by removing the line @{ctx.csrf_token_input()} from our html code we will see an error message indicating that the CSRF token is not set or invalid! By default the CSRF module sends an HTTP-403 response when a token is invalid, if you want to send a custom response see the advanced usage section.

Note: > Please read the security and configuration section! If you configure > the CSRF module in an unsafe way, the protection will be useless.

Advanced Usage

If you want more control over what routes are protected or what action you want to do when a CSRF-token is invalid, you can call csrf.protect yourself whenever you want to protect a route against CSRF attacks. This function returns false if the current CSRF token and cookie combination is not valid.


fn (app &App) login(mut ctx, password string) vweb.Result {
    if csrf.protect(mut ctx, csrf_config) == false {
        // CSRF verification failed!
    // ...

Obtaining the anti-CSRF token

When set_csrf_token is called the token is stored in the csrf_token field. You access this field directly to use it in an input field, or call csrf_token_input.


fn (app &App) index(mut ctx) vweb.Result {
    token := ctx.set_csrf_token(mut ctx)

Clearing the anti-CSRF token

If you want to remove the anti-CSRF token and the cookie header you can call clear_csrf_token



How it works

This module implements the [double submit cookie][owasp] technique: a random token is generated, the CSRF-token. The hmac of this token and the secret key is stored in a cookie.

When a request is made, the CSRF-token should be placed inside a HTML form element. The CSRF-token the hmac of the CSRF-token in the formdata is compared to the cookie. If the values match, the request is accepted.

This approach has the advantage of being stateless: there is no need to store tokens on the server side and validate them. The token and cookie are bound cryptographically to each other so an attacker would need to know both values in order to make a CSRF-attack succeed. That is why is it important to not leak the CSRF-token via an url, or some other way. This is way by default the HTTPOnly flag on the cookie is set to true. See [client side CSRF][client-side-csrf] for more information.

This is a high level overview of the implementation.

Configuration & Security Considerations

The secret key

The secret key should be a random string that is not easily guessable.


If your app supports some kind of user sessions, it is recommended to cryptographically bind the CSRF-token to the users' session. You can do that by providing the name of the session ID cookie. If an attacker changes the session ID in the cookie, in the token or both the hmac will be different and the request will be rejected.


csrf_config = csrf.CsrfConfig{
    // ...
    session_cookie: 'my_session_id_cookie_name'

Safe Methods

The HTTP methods GET, OPTIONS, HEAD are considered [safe methods][mozilla-safe-methods] meaning they should not alter the state of an application. If a request with a "safe method" is made, the csrf protection will be skipped.

You can change which methods are considered safe by changing CsrfConfig.safe_methods.

Allowed Hosts

By default, both the http Origin and Referer headers are checked and matched strictly to the values in allowed_hosts. That means that you need to include each subdomain.

If the value of allowed_hosts contains the wildcard: '*' the headers will not be checked.

Domain name matching

The following configuration will not allow requests made from, only from


config := csrf.CsrfConfig{
    secret: '...'
    allowed_hosts: ['']

Referer, Origin header check

In some cases (like if your server is behind a proxy), the Origin or Referer header will not be present. If that is your case you can set check_origin_and_referer to false. Request will now be accepted when the Origin or Referer header is valid.

Share csrf cookie with subdomains

If you need to share the CSRF-token cookie with subdomains, you can set same_site to .same_site_lax_mode.


All configuration options are defined in CsrfConfig.

[//]: # (Sources) [owasp]: [client-side-csrf]: [mozilla-safe-methods]:

fn middleware #

fn middleware[T](config CsrfConfig) vweb.MiddlewareOptions[T]

middleware returns a handler that you can use with vweb's middleware

fn protect #

fn protect(mut ctx vweb.Context, config &CsrfConfig) bool

protect returns false and sends an http 401 response when the csrf verification fails. protect will always return true if the current request method is in config.safe_methods.

fn set_token #

fn set_token(mut ctx vweb.Context, config &CsrfConfig) string

set_token returns the csrftoken and sets an encrypted cookie with the hmac of config.get_secret and the csrftoken

struct CsrfConfig #

struct CsrfConfig {
	secret string
	// how long the random part of the csrf-token should be
	nonce_length int = 64
	// HTTP "safe" methods meaning they shouldn't alter state.
	// If a request with any of these methods is made, `protect` will always return true
	safe_methods []http.Method = [.get, .head, .options]
	// which hosts are allowed, enforced by checking the Origin and Referer header
	// if allowed_hosts contains '*' the check will be skipped.
	// Subdomains need to be included separately: a request from `""`
	//  will be rejected when `allowed_host = ['']`.
	allowed_hosts []string
	// if set to true both the Referer and Origin headers must match `allowed_hosts`
	// else if either one is valid the request is accepted
	check_origin_and_referer bool = true
	// the name of the csrf-token in the hidden html input
	token_name string = 'csrftoken'
	// the name of the cookie that contains the session id
	session_cookie string
	// cookie options
	cookie_name string        = 'csrftoken'
	same_site   http.SameSite = .same_site_strict_mode
	cookie_path string        = '/'
	// how long the cookie stays valid in seconds. Default is 30 days
	max_age       int = 60 * 60 * 24 * 30
	cookie_domain string
	// whether the cookie can be send only over HTTPS
	secure bool

struct CsrfContext #

struct CsrfContext {
pub mut:
	config CsrfConfig
	exempt bool
	// the csrftoken that should be placed in an html form
	csrf_token string

fn (CsrfContext) set_csrf_token #

fn (mut ctx CsrfContext) set_csrf_token[T](mut user_context T) string

set_token generates a new csrf_token and adds a Cookie to the response

fn (CsrfContext) clear_csrf_token #

fn (ctx &CsrfContext) clear_csrf_token[T](mut user_context T)

clear the csrf token and cookie header from the context

fn (CsrfContext) csrf_token_input #

fn (ctx &CsrfContext) csrf_token_input() vweb.RawHtml

csrf_token_input returns an HTML hidden input containing the csrf token