How to generate JWT tokens


ClusterCockpit uses JSON Web Tokens (JWT) for authorization of its APIs. JWTs are the industry standard for securing APIs and is also used for example in OAuth2. For details on JWTs refer to the JWT article in the Concepts section.

When a user logs in via the /login page using a browser, a session cookie (secured using the random bytes in the SESSION_KEY env variable you should change as well in production) is used for all requests after the successful login. The JWTs make it easier to use the APIs of ClusterCockpit using scripts or other external programs. The token is specified n the Authorization HTTP header using the Bearer schema (there is an example below). Tokens can be issued to users from the configuration view in the Web-UI or the command line (using the -jwt <username> option). In order to use the token for API endpoints such as /api/jobs/start_job/, the user that executes it needs to have the api role. Regular users can only perform read-only queries and only look at data connected to jobs they started themselves.

There are two usage scenarios:

  • The APIs are used during a browser session. API accesses are authorized with the active session.
  • The REST API is used outside a browser session, e.g. by scripts. In this case you have to issue a token manually. This possible from within the configuration view or on the command line. It is recommended to issue a JWT token in this case for a special user that only has the api role. By using different users for different purposes a fine grained access control and access revocation management is possible.

The token is commonly specified in the Authorization HTTP header using the Bearer schema. ClusterCockpit uses a ECDSA private/public keypair to sign and verify its tokens. You can use cc-backend to generate new JWT tokens.


Create a new ECDSA Public/private key pair for signing and validating tokens

We provide a small utility tool as part of cc-backend:

go build ./cmd/gen-keypair/

Add key pair in your .env file for cc-backend

An env file template can be found in ./configs. cc-backend requires the private key to sign newly generated JWT tokens and the public key to validate tokens used to authenticate in its REST APIs.

Generate new JWT token

Every user with the admin role can create or change a user in the configuration view of the web interface. To generate a new JWT for a user just press the GenJWT button behind the user name in the user list.

A new api user and corresponding JWT keys can also be generated from the command line.

Create new API user with admin and api role:

./cc-backend -add-user myapiuser:admin,api:<password>

Create a new JWT token for this user:

./cc-backend -jwt myapiuser

Use issued token token on client side

curl -X GET "<API ENDPOINT>" -H "accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer <JWT TOKEN>"

This token can be used for the cc-backend REST API as well as for the cc-metric-store. If you use the token for cc-metric-store you have to configure it to use the corresponding public key for validation in its config.json.

Of course the JWT token can be generated also by other means as long it is signed with a ED25519 private key and the corresponding public key is configured in cc-backend or cc-metric-store. For the claims that are set and used by ClusterCockpit refer to the JWT article.


The cc-metric-store also uses JWTs for authentication. As it does not issue new tokens, it does not need to kown the private key. The public key of the keypair that is used to generate the JWTs that grant access to the cc-metric-store can be specified in its config.json. When configuring the metricDataRepository object in the cluster.json file of the job-archive, you can put a token issued by cc-backend itself.