Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Unported License.

Master Symfony2 fundamentals

Be trained by SensioLabs experts (2 to 6 day sessions -- French or English).
trainings.sensiolabs.com

Discover the SensioLabs Support

Access to the SensioLabs Competency Center for an exclusive and tailor-made support on Symfony
sensiolabs.com

How to add "Remember Me" Login Functionality

How to add "Remember Me" Login Functionality

Once a user is authenticated, their credentials are typically stored in the session. This means that when the session ends they will be logged out and have to provide their login details again next time they wish to access the application. You can allow users to choose to stay logged in for longer than the session lasts using a cookie with the remember_me firewall option. The firewall needs to have a secret key configured, which is used to encrypt the cookie's content. It also has several options with default values which are shown here:

  • YAML
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    # app/config/security.yml
    firewalls:
        main:
            remember_me:
                key:      "%secret%"
                lifetime: 31536000 # 365 days in seconds
                path:     /
                domain:   ~ # Defaults to the current domain from $_SERVER
    
  • XML
    <!-- app/config/security.xml -->
    <config>
        <firewall>
            <remember-me
                key      = "%secret%"
                lifetime = "31536000" <!-- 365 days in seconds -->
                path     = "/"
                domain   = "" <!-- Defaults to the current domain from $_SERVER -->
            />
        </firewall>
    </config>
  • PHP
     1
     2
     3
     4
     5
     6
     7
     8
     9
    10
    11
    12
    13
    // app/config/security.php
    $container->loadFromExtension('security', array(
        'firewalls' => array(
            'main' => array(
                'remember_me' => array(
                    'key'      => '%secret%',
                    'lifetime' => 31536000, // 365 days in seconds
                    'path'     => '/',
                    'domain'   => '', // Defaults to the current domain from $_SERVER
                ),
            ),
        ),
    ));
    

It's a good idea to provide the user with the option to use or not use the remember me functionality, as it will not always be appropriate. The usual way of doing this is to add a checkbox to the login form. By giving the checkbox the name _remember_me, the cookie will automatically be set when the checkbox is checked and the user successfully logs in. So, your specific login form might ultimately looks like this:

  • Twig
     1
     2
     3
     4
     5
     6
     7
     8
     9
    10
    11
    12
    13
    14
    15
    16
    17
    {# src/Acme/SecurityBundle/Resources/views/Security/login.html.twig #}
    {% if error %}
        <div>{{ error.message }}</div>
    {% endif %}
    
    <form action="{{ path('login_check') }}" method="post">
        <label for="username">Username:</label>
        <input type="text" id="username" name="_username" value="{{ last_username }}" />
    
        <label for="password">Password:</label>
        <input type="password" id="password" name="_password" />
    
        <input type="checkbox" id="remember_me" name="_remember_me" checked />
        <label for="remember_me">Keep me logged in</label>
    
        <input type="submit" name="login" />
    </form>
    
  • PHP
     1
     2
     3
     4
     5
     6
     7
     8
     9
    10
    11
    12
    13
    14
    15
    16
    17
    18
    <!-- src/Acme/SecurityBundle/Resources/views/Security/login.html.php -->
    <?php if ($error): ?>
        <div><?php echo $error->getMessage() ?></div>
    <?php endif; ?>
    
    <form action="<?php echo $view['router']->generate('login_check') ?>" method="post">
        <label for="username">Username:</label>
        <input type="text" id="username"
               name="_username" value="<?php echo $last_username ?>" />
    
        <label for="password">Password:</label>
        <input type="password" id="password" name="_password" />
    
        <input type="checkbox" id="remember_me" name="_remember_me" checked />
        <label for="remember_me">Keep me logged in</label>
    
        <input type="submit" name="login" />
    </form>
    

The user will then automatically be logged in on subsequent visits while the cookie remains valid.

Forcing the User to Re-authenticate before accessing certain Resources

When the user returns to your site, they are authenticated automatically based on the information stored in the remember me cookie. This allows the user to access protected resources as if the user had actually authenticated upon visiting the site.

In some cases, however, you may want to force the user to actually re-authenticate before accessing certain resources. For example, you might allow "remember me" users to see basic account information, but then require them to actually re-authenticate before modifying that information.

The Security component provides an easy way to do this. In addition to roles explicitly assigned to them, users are automatically given one of the following roles depending on how they are authenticated:

  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY - automatically assigned to a user who is in a firewall protected part of the site but who has not actually logged in. This is only possible if anonymous access has been allowed.
  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED - automatically assigned to a user who was authenticated via a remember me cookie.
  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY - automatically assigned to a user that has provided their login details during the current session.

You can use these to control access beyond the explicitly assigned roles.

Note

If you have the IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED role, then you also have the IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY role. If you have the IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY role, then you also have the other two roles. In other words, these roles represent three levels of increasing "strength" of authentication.

You can use these additional roles for finer grained control over access to parts of a site. For example, you may want your user to be able to view their account at /account when authenticated by cookie but to have to provide their login details to be able to edit the account details. You can do this by securing specific controller actions using these roles. The edit action in the controller could be secured using the service context.

In the following example, the action is only allowed if the user has the IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY role.

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
13
// ...
use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Exception\AccessDeniedException

public function editAction()
{
    if (false === $this->get('security.context')->isGranted(
        'IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY'
       )) {
        throw new AccessDeniedException();
    }

    // ...
}

You can also choose to install and use the optional JMSSecurityExtraBundle, which can secure your controller using annotations:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
use JMS\SecurityExtraBundle\Annotation\Secure;

/**
 * @Secure(roles="IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY")
 */
public function editAction($name)
{
    // ...
}

Tip

If you also had an access control in your security configuration that required the user to have a ROLE_USER role in order to access any of the account area, then you'd have the following situation:

  • If a non-authenticated (or anonymously authenticated user) tries to access the account area, the user will be asked to authenticate.
  • Once the user has entered their username and password, assuming the user receives the ROLE_USER role per your configuration, the user will have the IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY role and be able to access any page in the account section, including the editAction controller.
  • If the user's session ends, when the user returns to the site, they will be able to access every account page - except for the edit page - without being forced to re-authenticate. However, when they try to access the editAction controller, they will be forced to re-authenticate, since they are not, yet, fully authenticated.

For more information on securing services or methods in this way, see How to secure any Service or Method in your Application.