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JWT stands for JSON Web Token and represents an open standard (RFC 7519) that defines a compact and self-contained way for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. This information can be verified and trusted because it is digitally signed. JWTs can be signed using a secret (with the HMAC algorithm) or a public/private key pair using RSA or ECDSA.
In its compact form, JSON Web Tokens consist of three parts separated by dots (.), which are:
Therefore, a JWT typically looks like the following.
I'll break down every part in the upcoming ideas.
The header is the first part of a JWT token and it usually consists of two parts: the type of the token, and the signing algorithm being used. (see picture above - type is "JWT" and the signing algorithm is HMAC SHA256 ).
This JSON is then Base64Url encoded.
The payload is the second part of a JWT token and it contains the claims - statements about an entity (usually the user) and additional data. There are three types of claims:
This JSON is then Base64Url encoded.
The signature is the third part of a JWT token. In order to create it we have to take the encoded header, the encoded payload, a secret, the algorithm specified in the header, and sign that (see picture).
The signature is used to verify the message wasn't changed along the way, and, in the case of tokens signed with a private key, it can also verify that the sender of the JWT is who it says it is.
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