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Node Express Sessions

2 min read
node express sessions

Node Express sessions are required to maintain access control for different users of applications. Node Express sessions help the system to identify either the user is authenticated or not and he should be given access or not.

Whenever a request is made from the client-side to the server, a transaction is executed. After completion of the execution of a transaction, the connection is lost. The server does not retain any session or status information about communication partners. It means HTTP is stateless.

However, when we have some scenarios where we need to store some information for some time. For example, we don’t want a user of our application to sign in again and again to access the pages which require the user to be logged in.

This is the situation where sessions come. Session stores the user’s connection information and retains it for some time or until the client sends a request to destroy the session. In this way, the user does not require to login again and again to access the pages which require the user to be logged in.

The user can simply log in once and access the login protected pages. Now a question arises, sessions are helping us to transport data between client and server, this is what we can also do with URL and cookies, then why we are using sessions?

The answer is simple, whenever we send any data through URL or cookies, it is readable on the client-side. To check this, you can check the headers of your browser. To learn about how to check cookies headers, you may read the previous section about Cookies in Express JS. In sessions, we assign a unique identity to the client which is then stored in the server for identification.

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How to install Node Express sessions?

To use sessions in Express JS, installation of express-session package is necessary. Execute the following command in terminal to install express-session. Remember to use –save in your command to update package.json file.

# npm install --save express-server

Express JS provides two main ways to handle sessions. We have installed express-session. Express-session stores session data on server and stores key on client cookie. However, cookie-session package stores session data on client in cookies. Cookie session does not require any database; however, express-session requires database. Cookie session is lighter and reduces database lookups. However, we can not use cookie-session all the time due to security issues.

Read about Express JS cookies.

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