Laravel Sanctum Explained: Master SPA Authentication Easily

Building a Single Page Application (SPA) with robust authentication can be tricky. It needs seamless user experiences, robust security, and a backend that works effortlessly. Enter Laravel Sanctum, a game-changer in the world of SPA security.

Forget bulky OAuth setups and complex token management. Laravel Sanctum delivers a sleek, token-based authentication system built specifically for SPAs. Think passwords for your API, granting access to authorized users only. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with Laravel’s session authentication, adding an extra layer of protection against vulnerabilities.️

Thrilled? Dive deeper into the exploration of Laravel Sanctum for SPA authentication in the next sections. We’ll explore its benefits, key features, and how to get started with this powerful tool. And if you’re still unsure, remember that consulting a Laravel development company can help you unlock the full potential of Sanctum for SPA Authentication! 

What is Laravel Sanctum?

Building secure Single Page Applications (SPAs) can feel like building a fort – complex and reliable. But what if it didn’t have to be? Here’s where Laravel Sanctum comes in, your partner to strengthen the SPA security. 

Laravel Sanctum works as your API bouncer, ensuring only authorized users enter. It prevents the use of clunky OAuth systems and offers a simple, token-based approach. Each user gets their own unique API token, acting like a secret password to access specific resources within your app.

  • Issuing Tokens. Users generate their own personal access tokens through a simple API call. You can even assign specific permissions to each token, like read-only or full access.
  • Securing Requests. These tokens act as secret passwords for your API. Each request carries the token in its “Authorization” header, allowing Laravel Sanctum to verify the user’s identity and grant access accordingly.
  • Granular Control. Laravel Sanctum lets you define token scopes, restricting users to specific actions within your API. Need someone to only update their profile? Assign a limited scope and authorization!
  • Effortless Revocation. Lost a token or suspect misuse? No problem. Laravel Sanctum allows you to withdraw any token, rendering it useless and effectively locking out unauthorized access.
  • Seamless Integration. Sanctum plays nicely with Laravel’s existing session authentication. This dual-layer protection adds an extra shield against security threats, keeping your SPA squeaky clean.

So, the next time you’re building a SPA, remember Laravel Sanctum. It functions as a key to a secure and user-friendly API experience. With its intuitive functionalities and effortless integration, Laravel Sanctum is the secret knight you need to build robust and protected SPAs.

Why Use Laravel Sanctum for SPA Authentication?

Building Single Page Applications (SPAs) offers flexibility and dynamism, robust authentication. On another hand, Laravel Sanctum emerges as a surpassing alternative through its strategic elegance and developer-centric approach.

  • Security. Unlike clunky OAuth setups, Laravel Sanctum offers a lightweight, token-based approach. Each request carries a token, ensuring only authorized users enter. Simple, yet incredibly secure.
  • Customizable. Define token scopes that restrict users to specific actions within your API. Need someone to edit their profile but not delete it? Assign a limited scope and breathe easy.
  • Integration. Laravel Sanctum works harmoniously with existing session authentication. This double-layered security keeps your SPA fortress impassable.
  • Developer-Friendly Workflow. Forget complex configs and tangled token management. Laravel Sanctum boasts an intuitive experience with clear documentation and a breeze-like setup.

Laravel Sanctum stands as the undisputed champion of SPA authentication. Its combination of granular control, and developer-friendly experience makes it the preferred choice for building secure and scalable SPAs. And if you seek to unlock its full potential, consider hiring Laravel experts.

How to Get Started With Laravel Sanctum for SPA Authentication?

Eager to experience Laravel Sanctum’s unparalleled security for your Single Page Applications (SPAs)? Hold onto your coding hats, developers, as we are about to begin the practical journey to implement this solution. Laravel Sanctum’s charm lies in its simplicity, requiring minimal configuration and code changes. Let’s dive into the steps to unlock its potential.

Step 1: Install Sanctum

As we start securing your Single Page Applications (SPAs) with Laravel Sanctum, let’s begin by seamlessly integrating it into your existing project. This initial step, characterized by simplicity and efficiency, sets a solid foundation for robust authentication.

  1. Package Installation. Utilize Composer, the dependency manager, to add Laravel Sanctum to your project:
composer require laravel/sanctum
  1. Configuration Publication. Unlock granular control over Laravel Sanctum’s behavior by publishing its configuration file:
php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Laravel\Sanctum\SanctumServiceProvider"
  1. Database Migrations. Execute essential database updates to create tables necessary for Sanctum’s functionality:
php artisan migrate

You’ve successfully incorporated Sanctum into your Laravel project! These foundational steps pave the way for implementing robust SPA authentication. Moving ahead, let’s dive into configuring Laravel Sanctum’s middleware to safeguard your API and ensure exclusive access to authorized users.

Step 2: Configure Cookies (SPA Only)

While Laravel Sanctum benefits in Single Page Applications (SPAs), it offers flexibility beyond stateless tokens. It is for SPAs desiring a stateful authentication experience similar to traditional web applications. This cookie configuration unlocks powerful possibilities.

  1. Enable CORS for Cookie Support. Open up communication pathways. You can do so by ensuring your API allows Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) with credentials. Within your ‘config/cors.php’ file, set ‘supports_credentials’ to true and define the allowed origins for your SPA.
  2. Configure Session Driver. Laravel Sanctum relies on session handling for cookie-based authentication. Edit your ‘config/session.php’ file and set ‘SESSION_DRIVER’ to either ‘cookie’ or ‘database’ depending on your preference. Remember, cookie sessions may need domain configuration for production environments.
  3. Enable Stateful Middleware. Activate Sanctum’s ‘EnsureFrontendRequestsAreStateful’ middleware within your ‘App\Http\Kernel’ class. This middleware ensures stateful cookie-based authentication for SPA requests.
  4. Send CSRF Cookie. To prevent Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks, your SPA needs to send the Laravel CSRF cookie with API requests. Laravel Sanctum provides a convenient route, ‘/sanctum/csrf-cookie’, accessible through your SPA to retrieve and store the cookie for future requests.
  5. Refresh Cookies Periodically. To maintain active sessions, consider implementing mechanisms in your SPA. It periodically refreshes the session cookie before its expiration. This ensures a seamless user experience without interruptions.

While incorporating cookie configuration, you’ve authorized your SPA with stateful authentication capabilities. Remember, this approach comes with additional considerations compared to stateless tokens. It includes aspects like domain configuration and session management.

Step 3: Enable Authenticated User Access (API, SPA)

With Sanctum firmly integrated into your Laravel project, it’s time to solidify its security measures. It involves enabling authenticated user access, ensuring only authorized individuals can traverse your API’s resources.

  1. Apply Sanctum’s Middleware. Protect your API routes by applying the ‘auth:sanctum’ middleware within your ‘routes/api.php’ file. This middleware acts as a vigilant gatekeeper, verifying user authentication before granting access to protected routes.
// Example usage in routes/api.php
Route::middleware('auth:sanctum')->get('/user', function (Request $request) {
    return $request->user();
  1. Utilize Laravel’s Authentication Middleware. Leverage Laravel’s built-in authentication middleware for SPA routes, as Sanctum seamlessly integrates with existing session authentication. Apply middleware like ‘auth’ or ‘guest’ as needed for your application’s logic.

With this configuration, you’ve built walls of protection around your API. This will benefit you in ensuring only authorized users can access its valuable resources. Sanctum’s versatility empowers you to tailor authentication approaches for both API-only and SPA scenarios, catering to diverse application needs.

Step 4: Implement SPA Login and Token Storage

Now that your API is shielded by the power of Sanctum’s authentication, it’s time to equip your Single Page Application (SPA). We’ll incorporate tools to acquire and store these precious tokens. It will enable your users to seamlessly access the protected resources your API offers.

  1. Design Login Interface. Build a user-friendly login interface within your SPA where users can enter their credentials. This can be a simple form or utilize existing authentication libraries for enhanced security.
  2. Send Login Request. Upon login, build an API request to your Laravel application’s endpoint responsible for token generation. This endpoint typically resides in an ‘api/’ route and accepts user credentials for verification.
  3. Process Response and Extract Token. Once your SPA receives the response from the token generation endpoint, create the response to extract the newly generated API token. Remember to handle error scenarios and inform users in case of unsuccessful login attempts.
  4. Store Token Securely. Securely store the obtained API token within your SPA. Local storage offers a convenient option. But consider encrypting the token for additional protection against malicious attacks.
  5. Include Token in API Requests. Integrate the stored token into your SPA’s subsequent API requests. Send the token within the Authorization header of each request, typically prefixed with the keyword “Bearer”.

By covering these steps your SPA can acquire and manage API tokens securely. This step lays the core for a seamless and secure user experience within your application. Granting authorized access to the valuable resources your API provides.

Step 5: Authenticate API Requests with Tokens

Now that we’ve equipped your SPA to acquire and store API tokens, it’s time to activate Laravel Sanctum’s authentication mechanisms. It is important to ensure that only authorized API requests bearing valid tokens can access your protected resources.

  1. Apply ‘auth:sanctum’ Middleware. Add required authentication for protected API routes by applying the ‘auth:sanctum’ middleware within your ‘routes/api.php’ file. This middleware examines incoming requests and verifies the presence of valid API tokens.
// Example usage in routes/api.php
Route::middleware('auth:sanctum')->get('/user', function (Request $request) {
    return $request->user();
  1. Access Authenticated User. Within your API controllers, retrieve information about the authenticated user using the ‘request->user()’ method. This enables you to personalize responses and tailor API interactions based on user identity and permissions.

Laravel Sanctum is beyond its core functionalities. Explore its additional features to further enhance security and user experience within your application. Customize token expiration times, define token scopes for granular access control, and even design custom middleware to tailor authentication logic to your specific needs.

Which are the Must Have Laravel Sanctum Features for SPA Authentication?

Laravel Sanctum’s arsenal of tools empowers you to build robust and secure Single Page Applications (SPAs). But which features are essential for seamless and reliable SPA authentication? Be ready as we unveil the key Sanctum elements to keep your guardrails secure:

1. CSRF Protection

While using Laravel Sanctum for SPA authentication ensures security, it’s crucial to remember the ever-present threat of Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks. These attacks aim to trick your users’ browsers into performing unauthorized actions on your API. Thankfully, Laravel Sanctum offers robust CSRF protection features to keep your SPA safe.

  1. Enable CSRF Middleware. Within your ‘App\Http\Kernel’ class, add the ‘VerifyCsrfToken’ middleware to your desired application group. This middleware intercepts requests and validates the presence of a valid CSRF token.
protected $middlewareGroups = [
    'web' => [
        // ... other middleware
  1. Fetch CSRF Cookie. Your SPA needs to send the CSRF token along with API requests. Sanctum provides a dedicated route, ‘/sanctum/csrf-cookie’, accessible through your SPA. Implement logic within your SPA to fetch and store this cookie securely for subsequent API requests.
  2. Include Token in Requests. When making API calls from your SPA, ensure the CSRF token is included within the request headers. Most HTTP client libraries like Axios or Fetch automatically handle this upon receiving the CSRF cookie.

CSRF protection is just one piece of the security puzzle. Remember to explore additional Sanctum features. It must include token expiration times, custom middleware, and granular access control to further enhance your SPA’s security posture.

2. Token Abilities/Scopes

Laravel Sanctum offers a powerful feature called token abilities. It is also known as scopes, which allows you to grant fine-grained control over what users can access within your API. This is like equipping each token with a set of permissions, ensuring users only have access to the resources they need.

  1. Define Abilities. Within your user model or a dedicated ability class, define the different abilities you want to manage. These can be simple actions like “read-user” or more complex operations like “update-post”.
class UserAbility
    const READ_USER = 'read-user';
    const UPDATE_POST = 'update-post';
    // ... other abilities
  1.  Assign Abilities to Tokens. When generating tokens, associate them with specific abilities. You can do this when users log in or through a dedicated API endpoint.
// Generate token with specific abilities
$token = $user->createToken('My Token', [UserAbility::READ_USER]);
// Generate token with all abilities
$token = $user->createToken('Full Access');

While these features are foundational, the “must-have” list might vary depending on your specific application needs. For tailored advice and implementation expertise, consider consulting a web development company specializing in Laravel security solutions. They can help you leverage Sanctum’s full potential and craft a robust and secure SPA ecosystem.

What are the Measures to Consider in Laravel Sanctum for SPA Authentication?

Crafting secure and user-friendly SPAs with Laravel Sanctum requires careful consideration of its various features. Here are some crucial measures to ponder:

  • Stateless Tokens and Stateful Cookies. Stateless Tokens are a simpler approach. It minimizes server-side burden but requires careful token management in your SPA. Where on the other hand, Stateful Cookies require CORS configuration and session expiration considerations.
  • Granular Control With Token. Define and assign token abilities based on user roles or permissions. Implement ability checks within your API controllers to grant or deny access to specific resources.
  • Prioritize Robust CSRF Protection. Enable the ‘VerifyCsrfToken’ middleware to validate the presence of a valid CSRF token in API requests. Fetch and send the CSRF token within your SPA’s API requests to prevent unauthorized actions.
  • Secure Session Cookies (if using stateful approach). Execute HTTPS throughout your application and configure secure cookie transmission with HttpOnly and Secure flags. Implement mechanisms to refresh session cookies before expiration to maintain a seamless user experience.
  • Security With Additional Features. Customize token expiration times to balance convenience and security. Design custom middleware for tailored authentication logic and granular control. Implement token refresh mechanisms for extended session durations.

The ideal set of Sanctum features depends on your specific application needs and security priorities. Consider collaborating with experienced Laravel developers for expert execution, especially for complex projects or intricate security requirements. With careful planning and meticulous implementation, you can leverage Sanctum’s full potential to build secure and reliable SPAs that stand the test of time.

FAQs About Laravel Sanctum for SPA Authentication

Is Laravel Sanctum secure for SPA Authentication?
Yes, Laravel Sanctum is considered secure for SPA Authentication when implemented correctly. However, ensuring secure API design and implementing additional security measures like HTTPS is crucial.
Which is better, Sanctum or Passport in Laravel?
Both Sanctum and Passport offer API authentication solutions in Laravel, but they cater to different needs:
  • Sanctum: Ideal for SPAs due to its simplicity, lightweight nature, and focus on stateless token-based authentication.
  • Passport: More suited for traditional APIs and server-side applications due to its robust OAuth2 flows and focus on stateful authentication.
Ultimately, the "better" option depends on your specific project requirements and whether you prioritize SPAs or traditional APIs.
Can I use Laravel Sanctum for SPA Authentication with other front-end frameworks?
Yes, Laravel Sanctum's core functionalities let you do that. You can use it for SPA Authentication with any front-end framework like Angular, React, or Vue. As long as you integrate the token-handling logic within your chosen framework.


Building secure Single Page Applications (SPAs) takes a pivotal turn with Laravel Sanctum. Its elegant simplicity and robust security features let you build access systems that are both streamlined and impenetrable. With token-based authentication, granular control, and seamless integration, Laravel Sanctum stands as a backbone of security in the ever-evolving landscape of web development.

But building secure SPAs extends beyond technology alone. It demands meticulous planning, careful consideration of user needs, and commitment to security best practices. Laravel Sanctum equips you with the tools, but implementation and alert rest upon your shoulders. Remember, even the most robust lock can be defeated if left unattended.

So, incorporate Laravel Sanctum and let your SPAs navigate the digital landscape with confidence. Don’t let the complexities of authentication hold you back – reach out to us and unlock the full potential of secure and user-friendly SPAs.

Mayur Upadhyay is a tech professional with expertise in Shopify, WordPress, Drupal, Frameworks, jQuery, and more. With a proven track record in web development and eCommerce development.

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