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How to Add "Remember Me" Login Functionality

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Warning: You are browsing the documentation for Symfony 5.3, which is no longer maintained.

Read the updated version of this page for Symfony 6.0 (the current stable version).

How to Add "Remember Me" Login Functionality

Caution

This article documents the remember me system that was introduced in the new authenticator system in 5.3. If you're using the deprecated security system, refer to the 5.2 version of this documentation.

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:

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# config/packages/security.yaml
security:
    # ...

    firewalls:
        main:
            # ...
            remember_me:
                secret:   '%kernel.secret%' # required
                lifetime: 604800 # 1 week in seconds
                # by default, the feature is enabled by checking a
                # checkbox in the login form (see below), uncomment the
                # following line to always enable it.
                #always_remember_me: true

The secret option is the only required option and it is used to sign the remember me cookie. It's common to use the kernel.secret parameter, which is defined using the APP_SECRET environment variable.

After enabling the remember_me system in the configuration, there are a couple more things to do before remember me works correctly:

  1. Add an opt-in checkbox to active remember me;
  2. Use an authenticator that supports remember me;
  3. Optionally, configure the how remember me cookies are stored and validated.

After this, the remember me cookie will be created upon successful authentication. For some pages/actions, you can force a user to fully authenticate (i.e. not through a remember me cookie) for better security.

Note

The remember_me setting contains many settings to configure the cookie created by this feature. See Customizing the Remember Me Cookie for a full description of these settings.

Activating the Remember Me System

Using the remember me cookie is not always appropriate (e.g. you should not use it on a shared PC). This is why by default, Symfony requires your users to opt-in to the remember me system via a request parameter.

This request parameter is often set via a checkbox in the login form. This checkbox must have a name of _remember_me:

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{# templates/security/login.html.twig #}
<form method="post">
    {# ... your form fields #}

    <label>
        <input type="checkbox" name="_remember_me" checked/>
        Keep me logged in
    </label>

    {# ... #}
</form>

Note

Optionally, you can configure a custom name for this checkbox using the remember_me_parameter setting under the remember_me section.

Always activating Remember Me

Sometimes, you may wish to always activate the remember me system and not allow users to opt-out. In these cases, you can use the always_remember_me setting:

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# config/packages/security.yaml
security:
    # ...

    firewalls:
        main:
            # ...
            remember_me:
                secret: '%kernel.secret%'
                # ...
                always_remember_me: true

Now, no request parameter is checked and each successful authentication will produce a remember me cookie.

Add Remember Me Support to the Authenticator

Not all authentication methods support remember me (e.g. HTTP Basic authentication doesn't have support). An authenticator indicates support using a RememberMeBadge on the security passport.

After logging in, you can use the security profiler to see if this badge is present:

Without this badge, remember me will be not be activated (regardless of all other settings).

Add Remember Me Support to Custom Authenticators

When you use a custom authenticator, you must add a RememberMeBadge manually:

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// src/Service/LoginAuthenticator.php
namespace App\Service;

// ...
use Symfony\Component\Security\Http\Authenticator\Passport\Badge\RememberMeBadge;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Http\Authenticator\Passport\Badge\UserBadge;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Http\Authenticator\Passport\Passport;

class LoginAuthenticator extends AbstractAuthenticator
{
    public function authenticate(Request $request): Passport
    {
        // ...

        return new Passport(
            new UserBadge(...),
            new PasswordCredentials(...),
            [
                new RememberMeBadge(),
            ]
        );
    }
}

Customize how Remember Me Tokens are Stored

Remember me cookies contain a token that is used to verify the user's identity. As these tokens are long-lived, it is important to take precautions to allow invalidating any generated tokens.

Symfony provides two ways to validate remember me tokens:

Signature based tokens
By default, the remember me cookie contains a signature based on properties of the user. If the properties change, the signature changes and already generated tokens are no longer considered valid. See How to Add "Remember Me" Login Functionality for more information.
Persistent tokens
Persistent tokens store any generated token (e.g. in a database). This allows you to invalidate tokens by changing the rows in the database. See How to Add "Remember Me" Login Functionality for more information.

Note

You can also write your own custom remember me handler by creating a class that extends AbstractRememberMeHandler (or implements RememberMeHandlerInterface). You can then configure this custom handler by configuring the service ID in the service option under remember_me.

5.1

The service option was introduced in Symfony 5.1.

Using Signed Remember Me Tokens

By default, remember me cookies contain a hash that is used to validate the cookie. This hash is computed based on configured signature properties.

These properties are always included in the hash:

On top of these, you can configure custom properties using the signature_properties setting (defaults to password). The properties are fetched from the user object using the PropertyAccess component (e.g. using getUpdatedAt() or a public $updatedAt property when using updatedAt).

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# config/packages/security.yaml
security:
    # ...

    firewalls:
        main:
            # ...
            remember_me:
                secret: '%kernel.secret%'
                # ...
                signature_properties: ['password', 'updatedAt']

In this example, the remember me cookie will no longer be considered valid if the updatedAt, password or user identifier for this user changes.

Tip

Signature properties allow for some advanced usages without having to set-up storage for all remember me tokens. For instance, you can add a forceReloginAt field to your user and to the signature properties. This way, you can invalidate all remember me tokens from a user by changing this timestamp.

Storing Remember Me Tokens in the Database

As remember me tokens are often long-lived, you might prefer to save them in a database to have full control over them. Symfony comes with support for persistent remember me tokens.

This implementation uses a remember me token provider for storing and retrieving the tokens from the database. The DoctrineBridge provides a token provider using Doctrine.

You can enable the doctrine token provider using the doctrine setting:

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# config/packages/security.yaml
security:
    # ...

    firewalls:
        main:
            # ...
            remember_me:
                secret: '%kernel.secret%'
                # ...
                token_provider:
                    doctrine: true

This also instructs Doctrine to create a table for the remember me tokens. If you use the DoctrineMigrationsBundle, you can create a new migration for this:

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$ php bin/console doctrine:migrations:diff

# and optionally run the migrations locally
$ php bin/console doctrine:migrations:migrate

Otherwise, you can use the doctrine:schema:update command:

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# get the required SQL code
$ php bin/console doctrine:schema:update --dump-sql

# run the SQL in your DB client, or let the command run it for you
$ php bin/console doctrine:schema:update --force

Implementing a Custom Token Provider

You can also create a custom token provider by creating a class that implements TokenProviderInterface.

Then, configure the service ID of your custom token provider as service:

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# config/packages/security.yaml
security:
    # ...

    firewalls:
        main:
            # ...
            remember_me:
                # ...
                token_provider:
                    service: App\Security\RememberMe\CustomTokenProvider

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 not allow "remember me" users to change their password. You can do this by leveraging a few special "attributes":

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// src/Controller/AccountController.php
// ...

public function accountInfo(): Response
{
    // allow any authenticated user - we don't care if they just
    // logged in, or are logged in via a remember me cookie
    $this->denyAccessUnlessGranted('IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED');

    // ...
}

public function resetPassword(): Response
{
    // require the user to log in during *this* session
    // if they were only logged in via a remember me cookie, they
    // will be redirected to the login page
    $this->denyAccessUnlessGranted('IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY');

    // ...
}

Tip

There is also a IS_REMEMBERED attribute that grants access only when the user is authenticated via the remember me mechanism.

5.1

The IS_REMEMBERED attribute was introduced in Symfony 5.1.

The remember_me configuration contains many options to customize the cookie created by the system:

name (default value: REMEMBERME)
The name of the cookie used to keep the user logged in. If you enable the remember_me feature in several firewalls of the same application, make sure to choose a different name for the cookie of each firewall. Otherwise, you'll face lots of security related problems.
lifetime (default value: 31536000 i.e. 1 year in seconds)
The number of seconds after which the cookie will be expired. This defines the maximum time between two visits for the user to remain authenticated.
path (default value: /)
The path where the cookie associated with this feature is used. By default the cookie will be applied to the entire website but you can restrict to a specific section (e.g. /forum, /admin).
domain (default value: null)
The domain where the cookie associated with this feature is used. By default cookies use the current domain obtained from $_SERVER.
secure (default value: false)
If true, the cookie associated with this feature is sent to the user through an HTTPS secure connection.
httponly (default value: true)
If true, the cookie associated with this feature is accessible only through the HTTP protocol. This means that the cookie won't be accessible by scripting languages, such as JavaScript.
samesite (default value: null)
If set to strict, the cookie associated with this feature will not be sent along with cross-site requests, even when following a regular link.
This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.
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