Authentication methods for securing a REST API
# REST api# auth

The beginner's guide to building a REST API

A key component of web development is API authentication, which makes sure that only authorised users may access and alter data. Anyone might possibly alter your API without adequate authentication, which could result in security flaws or data breaches.

We will examine various approaches for authenticating a REST API in this blog article. Everything from fundamental HTTP authentication to more complex methods like OAuth and JSON Web Tokens will be covered (JWTs).

HTTP Authentication

HTTP authentication method type

HTTP authentication is one of the simplest types of API authentication. This entails including a username and password in an HTTP header with each request made to the API. The server will next check the credentials and, depending on the outcome, either provide or prohibit access to the requested resource.

Although HTTP authentication is easy to set up, there are a number of disadvantages. First, every request includes the login and password, which poses a security risk if the connection is not encrypted. Furthermore, HTTP authentication only enables a single set of credentials, making it unsuitable for use with numerous users and large-scale APIs.


OAuth (Open Authorization) is a popular standard for API security and authorization. Users can provide another website or application access to their resources on one website.

OAuth doesn't require users to give their login information to the API, which is one of its main advantages. Instead, users are brought to a login screen where they can authorise another person to access the API on their behalf. This makes for a safer and more convenient experience.

OAuth can be implemented in a number of different ways, but most often it is getting an access token from an authorization server and submitting it along with each API request. After the token has been verified, the API server will either provide or prohibit access to the requested resource.

JSON Web Tokens (JWTs)

Using JSON Web Tokens is another well-liked strategy for protecting APIs (JWTs). User data is encoded into a condensed and secure JSON object using JWTs, a sort of token-based authentication.

The user submits an API request with a JWT in the HTTP header to authenticate using a JWT. After that, the JWT will be decoded and its validity checked by the API server. The JWT will authorise access to the requested resource if it is valid, according to the API.

JWTs have the benefit of being readily transmitted across many servers and systems, which makes them ideal for distributed systems such as microservice architectures.

API Key Authentication

At Snapi SMS we use API keys for authenticating you with our API. We can only show you your Snapi SMS API key once.

Another easy technique for protecting an API is API key authentication. With this approach, every user is given a special API key that they must include in the HTTP header of each API call. The API server will next check the key and, depending on the outcome, either provide or prohibit access to the requested resource.

Although API key authentication is easy to deploy, it may not be as secure as other strategies. Since API keys are frequently kept in plain text, unauthorised users may be able to access them. Furthermore, API keys are frequently static, making it difficult to easily cancel or cycle them.

Final thoughts

We have looked at a number of techniques for authenticating a REST API in this blog article. Although each method has advantages and disadvantages of its own, it is crucial to thoroughly analyse your security requirements and select the one that best suits your use case. Regardless of the technique you select, appropriate authentication is essential to guarantee the security of your API and its services.

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