Skip to main content
Version: v0.7

User Login


Please read the Self-Service Flows overview before continuing with this document.

There are two Login Flow types supported in Ory Kratos:

  • Flows where the user sits in front of the Browser and the application is
    • a server-side application (e.g. NodeJS, Java, ...)
    • a client-side application (e.g. ReactJS, AngularJS, ...)
  • Flows where API interaction is required (e.g. mobile app, Smart TV, ...)

The Login Flow can be summarized as the following state machine:

Currently, two login methods are supported:

  • password for signing in with an email / username and password;
  • oidc for signing in using a social sign in provider such as Google or Facebook (check out the set up guide).

You can configure which methods to use in the Ory Kratos config:

selfservice:  methods:    password:      enabled: true    oidc:      enabled: true  # ...

Initialize Login Flow#


Ory Kratos and your UI must be on the hosted on same top level domain! You can not host Ory Kratos and your UI on separate top level domains:

  • and will work;
  • and will work;
  • and will not work.

The first step is to initialize the Login Flow. This allows pre-login hooks to run, set up Anti-CSRF tokens, and more.

Login for Server-Side Browser Clients#

The Login Flow for browser clients relies on HTTP redirects between Ory Kratos, your Login UI, and the end-user's browser:

The Flow UI (your application!) is responsible for rendering the actual Login and Registration HTML Forms. You can of course implement one app for rendering all the Login, Registration, ... screens, and another app (think "Service Oriented Architecture", "Micro-Services" or "Service Mesh") is responsible for rendering your Dashboards, Management Screens, and so on.

To initialize the Login Flow, point the Browser to the initialization endpoint:

$ curl -s -i -X GET \    -H "Accept: text/html" \
HTTP/2 303date: Fri, 09 Jul 2021 10:23:52 GMTcontent-type: text/html; charset=utf-8content-length: 121location: private, no-cache, no-store, must-revalidateset-cookie: aHR0cHM6Ly9wbGF5Z3JvdW5kLnByb2plY3RzLm9yeWFwaXMuY29tL2FwaS9rcmF0b3MvcHVibGlj_csrf_token=Lk9swSOlimGS9LI5HslOyEKGL4hMQzWHnwnQpm9HGAA=; Path=/api/kratos/public;; Max-Age=31536000; HttpOnly; Secure; SameSite=Nonevary: Originvary: Cookiestrict-transport-security: max-age=15724800; includeSubDomains
<a href="">See Other</a>.

The server responds with a HTTP 302 redirect to the Login UI, appending the ?flow=<flow-id> query parameter (see the curl example) to the URL configured here:

You can configure which login URL to use in the Ory Kratos config:

selfservice:  flows:    login:      # becomes      ui_url:

Login for Client-Side (AJAX) Browser Clients#

The Login Flow for client-side browser clients relies on AJAX requests.

To initialize the Login Flow, call the login initialization endpoint and set Accept: application/json:

$ curl -v -s -X GET \    -H "Accept: application/json"  \ | jq
> GET /api/kratos/public/self-service/login/browser HTTP/2> Host:> User-Agent: curl/7.64.1> Accept: application/json
< HTTP/2 200< date: Fri, 09 Jul 2021 10:25:12 GMT< content-type: application/json; charset=utf-8< content-length: 1359< cache-control: private, no-cache, no-store, must-revalidate< set-cookie: aHR0cHM6Ly9wbGF5Z3JvdW5kLnByb2plY3RzLm9yeWFwaXMuY29tL2FwaS9rcmF0b3MvcHVibGlj_csrf_token=UlKMcLe00G8B9GjC7D1I5rvQ6P79Q0YpzKb4lo7uLtw=; Path=/api/kratos/public;; Max-Age=31536000; HttpOnly; Secure; SameSite=None< vary: Origin< vary: Cookie< strict-transport-security: max-age=15724800; includeSubDomains
{  "id": "ff0c97c4-a7bb-49a5-a8a6-ebf174877fa5",  "type": "browser",  "expires_at": "2021-07-09T11:25:12.136099226Z",  "issued_at": "2021-07-09T10:25:12.136099226Z",  "request_url": "",  "ui": {    "action": "",    "method": "POST",    "nodes": [ /* ... */ ]  },  "created_at": "2021-07-09T10:25:12.137554Z",  "updated_at": "2021-07-09T10:25:12.137554Z",  "forced": false}

Login for API Clients and Clients without Browsers#


Never use API flows to implement Browser applications! Using API flows in Single-Page-Apps as well as server-side apps opens up several potential attack vectors, including Login and other CSRF attacks.

The Login Flow for API clients does not use HTTP Redirects and can be summarized as follows:

To initialize the API flow, the client calls the API-flow initialization endpoint (REST API Reference) which returns a JSON response:

$ curl -s -X GET \    -H "Accept: application/json"  \ | jq
{  "id": "9d17f37b-b60b-44f5-9812-4829a89810f7",  "type": "api",  "expires_at": "2021-07-09T11:26:04.019418543Z",  "issued_at": "2021-07-09T10:26:04.019418543Z",  "request_url": "",  "ui": {    "action": "",    "method": "POST",    "nodes": [ /* ... */ ]  }}

Login Flow Payloads#

Fetching the Login Flow (REST API Reference) is usually only required for browser clients but also works for Login Flows initialized by API clients. All you need is a valid flow ID:

$ flowId=$(curl -s -X GET \    -H "Accept: application/json" \ | jq -r '.id')
$ curl -s -X GET \    -H "Accept: application/json" \    "$flowId" | jq
{  "id": "d8c4a887-ccb0-4a1a-882a-7708e0bf3501",  "type": "api",  "expires_at": "2021-07-09T11:26:50.2356Z",  "issued_at": "2021-07-09T10:26:50.2356Z",  "request_url": "",  "ui": {    "action": "",    "method": "POST",    "nodes": [ /* ... */ ]  }}

Login with Username/Email and Password#

Before you start

When the password method is enabled, it will be part of the methods payload in the Login Flow:

$ curl -H "Accept: application/json" -s \    '' | jq
{  "id": "42e26bc5-8014-400c-b463-dc5c3738c242",  "type": "browser",  "expires_at": "2021-04-28T10:04:44.506336771Z",  "issued_at": "2021-04-28T09:54:44.506336771Z",  "request_url": "",  "ui": {    "action": "",    "method": "POST",    "nodes": [      {        "type": "input",        "group": "default",        "attributes": {          "name": "csrf_token",          "type": "hidden",          "value": "8RygCHIdyMXVc3jxIAf/6uAuv/jBJLo5mt6nXdcB/JOzncLRu5510BNZNOjvA6Soii504s1Yq/sgvfOXxzck6g==",          "required": true,          "disabled": false        },        "messages": null,        "meta": {}      },      {        "type": "input",        "group": "password",        "attributes": {          "name": "password_identifier",          "type": "text",          "value": "",          "required": true,          "disabled": false        },        "messages": null,        "meta": {          "label": {            "id": 1070004,            "text": "ID",            "type": "info"          }        }      },      {        "type": "input",        "group": "password",        "attributes": {          "name": "password",          "type": "password",          "required": true,          "disabled": false        },        "messages": null,        "meta": {          "label": {            "id": 1070001,            "text": "Password",            "type": "info"          }        }      },      {        "type": "input",        "group": "password",        "attributes": {          "name": "method",          "type": "submit",          "value": "password",          "disabled": false        },        "messages": null,        "meta": {          "label": {            "id": 1010001,            "text": "Sign in",            "type": "info",            "context": {}          }        }      }    ]  },  "forced": false}

Login with Google, Facebook, GitHub, ..., OpenID Connect / OAuth 2.0#

Before you start

Check out the Sign in with GitHub, Google, ... Guide and learn how to set up this method!

The Social Sign In Method (oidc) enables you to use


Social Sign In is currently not possible for API Clients. It will be possible in a future version, which is partially tracked as kratos#273

If enabled, the method contains an oidc key with the configured sign in providers as submit fields:

$ curl -H "Accept: application/json" -s \    '' \    | jq
{  "id": "d6340737-89f2-4b01-a848-79007de6f430",  "type": "browser",  "expires_at": "2021-04-28T11:05:01.382156Z",  "issued_at": "2021-04-28T10:05:01.382156Z",  "request_url": "",  "ui": {    "action": "",    "method": "POST",    "nodes": [      {        "type": "input",        "group": "default",        "attributes": {          "name": "csrf_token",          "type": "hidden",          "value": "7Y2PgQlka1Zjn8wVRUnvCqeSs9hzsUECnk9YjULACyMIYXbCwAVcMDpeFf33tECgowwmA3ZNTozZMKxy2jUSSA==",          "required": true,          "disabled": false        },        "messages": null,        "meta": {}      },      {        "type": "input",        "group": "oidc",        "attributes": {          "name": "provider",          "type": "submit",          "value": "github",          "disabled": false        },        "messages": null,        "meta": {          "label": {            "id": 1010002,            "text": "Sign in with github",            "type": "info",            "context": {              "provider": "github"            }          }        }      }    ]  },  "forced": false}

Login Form Validation#

The form payloads are then submitted to Ory Kratos which follows up with:

  • An HTTP 302 Found redirect pointing to the Login UI for Browser Clients;
  • An application/json response for API Clients and Client-Side Browser applications (e.g. Single Page Apps).

Login with Username/Email and Password#

To complete the login, the end-user fills out their identifier (username, email, phone number, ...) and the password. Possible validation errors include a missing identifier or password, or invalid credentials:

User Login HTML Form with validation errors

When validation errors happen, browser clients receive a HTTP 302 Found redirect to the Login Flow UI, containing the Login Flow ID which includes the error payloads.

For API Clients, the server typically responds with HTTP 400 Bad Request and the Login Flow in the response payload as JSON.

Login with Google, Facebook, GitHub, ..., OpenID Connect / OAuth 2.0#

Completing the oidc method requires the user to go through an OAuth 2.0 or OpenID Connect flow which involves logging into the upstream identity provider (e.g. Google) and giving consent.


If the user has never signed in with the given provider before, a new account will be created. It is also possible to link upstream identities (e.g. Google profile) with an existing Ory Kratos identity.

A possible validation error is a missing ID Token:

$ curl -s -H "Accept: application/json" \    '' \    | jq -r '.ui.messages'
[  {    "id": 4000001,    "text": "Authentication failed because no id_token was returned. Please accept the \"openid\" permission and try again.",    "type": "error"  }]

Successful Login#

Completing the login behaves differently for Browser and API Clients.

Server-Side Browser Clients#

When the login is completed successfully, Ory Kratos responds with a HTTP 302 Redirect to the configured redirect URL. Alongside the HTTP 302 Redirect is a Set-Cookie header which contains the Ory Kratos Login Session Cookie:

HTTP/1.1 302 FoundCache-Control: 0Location: csrf_token=b8OebRPTPr5ow23mA5gIZmFNLeuMbv8pZz1jT1Ex7ys=; Path=/; Domain=; Max-Age=31536000; HttpOnlySet-Cookie: ory_kratos_session=MTU5OTE2ODc2N3xEdi1CQkFFQ180SUFBUkFCRUFBQVJfLUNBQUVHYzNSeWFXNW5EQThBRFhObGMzTnBiMjVmZEc5clpXNEdjM1J5YVc1bkRDSUFJR055VlROMGRteHhSakJrUzBkbmRUUjBlVFY1V0RCRWFVTnJXVmR6V25oaHx2DICsB6IMbaHSQwnYITUZqr7Qx7CxUlnaneJWH495wQ==; Path=/; Expires=Fri, 04 Sep 2020 21:32:47 GMT; Max-Age=86400; HttpOnly; SameSite=LaxVary: CookieDate: Thu, 03 Sep 2020 21:32:47 GMTContent-Length: 0

Now, whenever the browser is making a request (with cookies) to the endpoint, the session will be returned:

curl -s -H "Cookie: ory_kratos_session=MTU5OTE2ODc2N3xEdi1CQkFFQ180SUFBUkFCRUFBQVJfLUNBQUVHYzNSeWFXNW5EQThBRFhObGMzTnBiMjVmZEc5clpXNEdjM1J5YVc1bkRDSUFJR055VlROMGRteHhSakJrUzBkbmRUUjBlVFY1V0RCRWFVTnJXVmR6V25oaHx2DICsB6IMbaHSQwnYITUZqr7Qx7CxUlnaneJWH495wQ==" \ | jq
{  "id": "ede90ce6-2420-435a-a745-3d8ab1a9636c",  "active": true,  "expires_at": "2020-09-04T21:32:47.5642404Z",  "authenticated_at": "2020-09-03T21:32:47.5881038Z",  "issued_at": "2020-09-03T21:32:47.5642688Z",  "identity": {    "id": "d96e86d9-bc33-4aa5-b865-4ade8a3974b3",    "schema_id": "default",    "schema_url": "",    "traits": {      "email": "",      "name": {        "first": "foo",        "last": "user"      }    },    "verifiable_addresses": [      {        "id": "81bbdeae-6333-42f2-877e-26c78acb6ea5",        "value": "",        "verified": false,        "via": "email",        "status": "pending",        "verified_at": null      }    ],    "recovery_addresses": [      {        "id": "596c1db4-ccaa-4f4e-9623-cb7e768026ad",        "value": "",        "via": "email"      }    ]  }}

Client-Side Browser Clients (AJAX)#

When the login is completed successfully, Ory Kratos responds with a HTTP 200 OK which includes a Set-Cookie header and a JSON response (see below):

{  "session": {    "id": "8f660ce3-69ec-4aeb-9fda-f9230dc3243f",    "active": true,    "expires_at": "2020-08-25T13:42:15.7411522Z",    "authenticated_at": "2020-08-24T13:42:15.7411522Z",    "issued_at": "2020-08-24T13:42:15.7412042Z",    "identity": {      "id": "bf32596a-f853-47c4-91e6-a3f41cf4949d",      "schema_id": "default",      "schema_url": "",      "traits": {        "email": "",        "name": {          "last": "User",          "first": "API"        }      },      "verifiable_addresses": [        {          "id": "f877db6c-7dfb-45e3-bbeb-ac8349348128",          "value": "",          "verified": false,          "via": "email",          "verified_at": null,          "expires_at": "2020-08-24T14:35:59.125873Z"        }      ],      "recovery_addresses": [        {          "id": "065a908c-82be-4110-bf67-9910f36242b7",          "value": "",          "via": "email"        }      ]    }  }}

API Clients#

For API Clients, Ory Kratos responds with a JSON payload which includes the identity which just authenticated, the session, and the Ory Kratos Session Token:

# Inits a Login Flow$ actionUrl=$(\  curl -s -X GET -H "Accept: application/json" \    "" \    | jq -r '.ui.action'\)
# Complete Login Flow with password method$ curl -s -X POST -H  "Accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json" \    -d '{"password_identifier": "", "password": "iohuasf0897zAJHf", "method": "password"}' \    "$actionUrl" | jq
{  "session_token": "oFZzgLpsacUpUy2cvQPtrGa2046WcXCR",  "session": {    "id": "8f660ce3-69ec-4aeb-9fda-f9230dc3243f",    "active": true,    "expires_at": "2020-08-25T13:42:15.7411522Z",    "authenticated_at": "2020-08-24T13:42:15.7411522Z",    "issued_at": "2020-08-24T13:42:15.7412042Z",    "identity": {      "id": "bf32596a-f853-47c4-91e6-a3f41cf4949d",      "schema_id": "default",      "schema_url": "",      "traits": {        "email": "",        "name": {          "last": "User",          "first": "API"        }      },      "verifiable_addresses": [        {          "id": "f877db6c-7dfb-45e3-bbeb-ac8349348128",          "value": "",          "verified": false,          "via": "email",          "verified_at": null,          "expires_at": "2020-08-24T14:35:59.125873Z"        }      ],      "recovery_addresses": [        {          "id": "065a908c-82be-4110-bf67-9910f36242b7",          "value": "",          "via": "email"        }      ]    }  }}

The Ory Kratos Session Token can be checked at the endpoint:

$ curl -s -H "Authorization: Bearer svX8bE9HTiVpMr7r55TtKtcOkLRhAq1a" \ | jq
{  "id": "d09fc470-9e11-4e70-855f-0dc1aee7e501",  "active": true,  "expires_at": "2020-09-05T10:52:52.1350455Z",  "authenticated_at": "2020-09-04T10:52:52.1472702Z",  "issued_at": "2020-09-04T10:52:52.1350737Z",  "identity": {    "id": "9ee8fb81-9d5c-47a7-9cee-28a0f64dccbb",    "schema_id": "default",    "schema_url": "",    "traits": {      "email": "",      "name": {        "first": "API",        "last": "User"      }    },    "verifiable_addresses": [      {        "id": "3ba119c6-4e9a-466c-8910-40b238229aa6",        "value": "",        "verified": false,        "via": "email",        "status": "pending",        "verified_at": null      }    ],    "recovery_addresses": [      {        "id": "9dec10d0-1079-4a5d-b1be-cd15418c640a",        "value": "",        "via": "email"      }    ]  }}

Refreshing a Session#

In some cases it is required to refresh a login session. This is the case when updating one's password. Refreshing a session updates the authenticated_at time.


Refreshing a session will not log the user out, unless another user signs in.

To refresh a session, append ?refresh=true to:

  • /self-service/login/browser for browser Clients (e.g.
  • /self-service/login/api for API Clients (e.g.

Code Examples for NodeJS, ReactJS, Go, ...#

The Login User Interface is a route (page / site) in your application (server, native app, single page app) that should render a login form.

In stark contrast to other Identity Systems, Ory Kratos does not render this HTML. Instead, you need to implement the HTML code in your application (e.g. NodeJS + ExpressJS, Java, PHP, ReactJS, ...), which gives you extreme flexibility and customizability in your user interface flows and designs.

You will use the Login Flow JSON response to render the login form UI, which could looks as follows depending on your programming language and web framework:

User Login HTML Form


Ory Kratos allows you to configure hooks that run before and after a Login Flow. This may be helpful if you'd like to restrict logins to IPs coming from your internal network or other logic.

For more information about hooks please read the Hook Documentation.