Plug v1.7.2 Plug.CSRFProtection View Source

Plug to protect from cross-site request forgery.

For this plug to work, it expects a session to have been previously fetched. It will then compare the token stored in the session with the one sent by the request to determine the validity of the request. For an invalid request the action taken is based on the :with option.

The token may be sent by the request either via the params with key “_csrf_token” or a header with name “x-csrf-token”.

GET requests are not protected, as they should not have any side-effect or change your application state. JavaScript requests are an exception: by using a script tag, external websites can embed server-side generated JavaScript, which can leak information. For this reason, this plug also forbids any GET JavaScript request that is not XHR (or AJAX).

Note that it is recommended to enable CSRFProtection whenever a session is used, even for JSON requests. For example, Chrome had a bug that allowed POST requests to be triggered with arbitrary content-type, making JSON exploitable. More info:

Token generation

This plug won’t generate tokens automatically. Instead, tokens will be generated only when required by calling get_csrf_token/0. In case you are generating the token for certain specific URL, you should use get_csrf_token_for/1 as that will avoid tokens from being leaked to other applications.

Once a token is generated, it is cached in the process dictionary. The CSRF token is usually generated inside forms which may be isolated from Plug.Conn. Storing them in the process dictionary allows them to be generated as a side-effect only when necessary, becoming one of those rare situations where using the process dictionary is useful.

Cross-host protection

If you are sending data to a full URI, such as // or //, instead of a simple path such as /path, you may want to consider using get_csrf_token_for/1, as that will encode the host in the CSRF token. Once received, Plug will only consider the CSRF token to be valid if the host encoded in the token is the same as the one in

Therefore, if you get a warning that the host does not match, it is either because someone is attempting to steal CSRF tokens or because you have a misconfigured host configuration.

For example, if you are running your application behind a proxy, the browser will send a request to the proxy with but the proxy will request you using an internal IP. In such cases, it is common for proxies to attach information such as "x-forwarded-host" that contains the original host.

This may also happen on redirects. If you have a POST request to that redirects to with status 307, the token will contain a different host than the one in the request.

You can pass the :allow_hosts option to control any host that you may want to allow. The values in :allow_hosts may either be a full host name or a host suffix. For example: ["", ""] will allow the exact host of "" and any host that ends with "".


  • :session_key - the name of the key in session to store the token under
  • :allow_hosts - a list with hosts to allow on cross-host tokens
  • :with - should be one of :exception or :clear_session. Defaults to :exception.

    • :exception - for invalid requests, this plug will raise Plug.CSRFProtection.InvalidCSRFTokenError.
    • :clear_session - for invalid requests, this plug will set an empty session for only this request. Also any changes to the session during this request will be ignored.


You may disable this plug by doing Plug.Conn.put_private(conn, :plug_skip_csrf_protection, true). This was made available for disabling Plug.CSRFProtection in tests and not for dynamically skipping Plug.CSRFProtection in production code. If you want specific routes to skip Plug.CSRFProtection, then use a different stack of plugs for that route that does not include Plug.CSRFProtection.


plug Plug.Session, ...
plug :fetch_session
plug Plug.CSRFProtection

Link to this section Summary


Callback implementation for

Deletes the CSRF token from the process dictionary

Gets the CSRF token

Gets the CSRF token for the associated URL (as a string or a URI struct)

Callback implementation for Plug.init/1

Link to this section Functions

Callback implementation for

Deletes the CSRF token from the process dictionary.

This will force the token to be deleted once the response is sent.

Gets the CSRF token.

Generates a token and stores it in the process dictionary if one does not exist.

Gets the CSRF token for the associated URL (as a string or a URI struct).

If the URL has a host, a CSRF token that is tied to that host will be generated. If it is a relative path URL, a simple token emitted with get_csrf_token/0 will be used.

Callback implementation for Plug.init/1.