Ejiro Asiuwhu Software Engineer with a drive for building highly scalable and performant web applications. Heavily interested in module federation, micro frontends, state machines, TDD, and system designs. Big on web performance and optimization, advanced component design patterns, a11y, SSR, SSG Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR), and state management. Expert at crafting highly reusable Typescript-heavy component libraries. An advocate of TypeScript and industry best practices. I regularly author meaningful technical content ✍🏽.

How to use NextAuth.js for client-side authentication in Next.js

10 min read 2955

NextAuth.js Client-Side Authentication Next.js

Editor’s note: This guide was last updated on 8 March 2022 to reflect changes introduced in NextAuth.js v4.

Authentication is an important and sensitive feature in applications where a user’s credentials such as username, email, and password are validated to confirm if users are who they say they are.

It is a way of asking users who they are, and then receiving evidence to verify their identity. The system takes credentials provided by the user and checks if they are valid.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up client-side authentication that doesn’t require a password in Next.js using a powerful and secure library called NextAuth.js.

By the end of this post, you will have created an app with authentication where your users will be able to log in using their GitHub, Google, and Facebook accounts. Upon successful signup, we will display the user’s profile picture, email, which we’ll retrieve from their social media accounts.

We will make use of React Hooks and functional components to build out our app. But before we dive deeper, let’s take a look at the two major tools we’ll be using.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a framework built on top of React that makes developing production-ready, fully-optimized React apps super fast and easy. It is one of the best things to have come out of the React ecosystem, as it comes with a whole lot of power with zero config.

Next.js is used in production by top companies like Netflix, Tiktok, and Nike. It is super easy to learn, especially if you’re familiar with React.

What is NextAuth.js?

NextAuth.js is a completely secured authentication solution for implementing authentication in Next.js applications. It is a flexible authentication library designed to sync with any OAuth service, with full support for passwordless sign in.

It can be used with or without a database, and it has default support for popular databases such as MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB.



It can be used without a database by syncing with services like OAuth and JSON Web Token.

How does NextAuth.js work?

With a library like NextAuth.js, you don’t need to be an expert in identity protocol like you would if you were to use OAuth to build secured Next.js applications. NextAuth.js is built to avoid the need to store sensitive data, such as a users’ password. It works perfectly with Next.js. With just 20 lines of code, you can implement an authentication feature in your app.

NextAuth.js has a client-side API you can use to interact with sessions in your app. The session data returned from the Providers contains user payload, and this can be displayed to the user upon successful login.

The session data returned to the client looks like this:

{
  expires: '2055-12-07T09:56:01.450Z';
  user: {
        email: '[email protected]';
        image: 'https://avatars2.githubusercontent.com/u/45228014?v=4';
        name: 'Ejiro Asiuwhu';
    }
}

Observe that the payload doesn’t contain any sensitive data. The session payload or data is meant for presentation purposes — that is, it’s meant to be displayed to the user.

NextAuth.js provides the useSession() React Hook, which can be used to check the user login status. Meanwhile, NextAuth.js provides a REST API that is used by the React app. To learn more about the REST API NextAuth exposes, check out the official docs.

Requirements

  • Node.js 10.13 or later installed on your local machine
  • Basics of React.js

Creating the Next.js starter application

I have created a starter Next.js project for you want to follow along. To start with, fork this repository to your own GitHub account and clone it.

git clone https://github.com/<your-Github-username>/Nextjs_Authentication.git

This project includes two branches: starter and complete. Check out the starter branch to get started. However, if you want to see the finished code, check out the complete branch.

Once the repository has been cloned, navigate to the working directory:

cd Nextjs_Authentication

The starter project was originally created with React v17.0.1. To avoid any issues when installing next-auth, update the package.json to upgrade react and react-dom:


More great articles from LogRocket:


"dependencies": {
    "next": "10.0.1",
    "react": "^17.0.2",
    "react-dom": "^17.0.2"
  }

Then, install the Next.js dependencies:

npm i
# or
yarn install

You should already be on the starter branch but, if that is not the case, use this command:

git checkout starter

Launch the development server:

npm run dev
# or
yarn run dev

By default, the project will run on port 3000. Launch your browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000. You should end up with this:

Starter project.
Starter project.

Set up authentication with NextAuth.js

Now that we have the Next.js starter application set up, we’re ready to learn how to authenticate a Next.js app with NextAuth.js.

This NextAuth.js client-side authentication tutorial will cover the following:

Install NextAuth.js

next-auth is an npm package, so installing it will be a breeze:

npm i next-auth
# or
yarn add next-auth

Upon successful installation, next-auth should be added to the dependencies in your package.json file:

//Dependencies in package.json
"dependencies": {
  "next": "10.0.1",
  "next-auth": "^4.2.1",
  "react": "^17.0.2",
  "react-dom": "^17.0.2"
}

We’re going to give users the choice to log in to our app using their GitHub, Google, or Facebook account.

[H3]Create a GitHub OAuth app

Next, we’re going to add a GitHub Authentication Provider, which essentially allows users to log in to our app using their GitHub account. But first, we need to create a GitHub OAuth app. Click on New OAuth app and fill out the form accordingly. Check out the official docs to learn more.

  • Application name: This is the name of your application. It can be called anything — it doesn’t really matter
  • Homepage URL: This is the full URL to the homepage of our app. Since we are still in development mode, we are going to fill in the full URL that our development server is running on. In this case, it is http://localhost:3000
  • Authorization callback URL: This is the URL that GitHub will redirect our users to after they have been successfully logged in to our app. It should be your homepage URL plus /api/auth/callback, resulting in http://localhost:3000/api/auth/callback

After registration of our OAuth App, GitHub creates a Client ID and Client Secret specifically for our newly created app. Copy the client ID and secret key to your clipboard. Click on Generate new client secret and get a client secret.

Add an environmental variable

Next, create an .env.local file in your project’s root directory. Next.js has inbuilt support for environment variables and .env.local will load those variables to process.env. Therefore, the filename cannot be a random name. For more information, don’t hesitate to read Next.js documentation on environment variables.

Next, populate it with the following content:

GITHUB_ID=<client id of your github auth app should go in here>
GITHUB_SECRET=<client secret of your github app should go in here>
NEXTAUTH_URL=http://localhost:3000
/pre>

 

[NEXTAUTH_URL](https://next-auth.js.org/configuration/options) is the url of our app. Be sure to use the port your development server is running on.

 

 

Now, back to our app. We’re going to create a file named [...nextauth].js in pages/api/auth and add the following code:

 

import NextAuth from 'next-auth'
import GitHubProvider from "next-auth/providers/github";

const options = {
    providers: [
        GitHubProvider({
            clientId: process.env.GITHUB_ID,
            clientSecret: process.env.GITHUB_SECRET
        }),
    ],
}

rest apiexport default (req, res) => NextAuth(req, res, options)

On line 1, we’re importing NextAuth, which is our main package. On line 2, we’re importing our GitHub Provider from the next-auth library, which are services that we can integrate into our app to allow users to sign in.

On line 6, we’re configuring our GitHub provider and passing in our GitHub secret and client ID through our environmental variables. Finally, on line 13, we’re exporting a function that returns the NextAuth and takes in the options variable as a third parameter.

Well, the magic has happened already. If we make use of the REST API provided by next-auth, we can log in to our app using our GitHub account. Navigate to http://localhost:3000/api/auth/signin and you should see this 👇🏽

Sign in With Github Activated
Sign in with GitHub activated.

Follow the process, and shazam! You are logged in. Up next, we need to save and display user login state.

Check user login state with the useSession() Hook

We need to get the login state of our users and render user details on the frontend of our app. This can be easily achieved by using a Next.js feature called custom app. Then, we’ll wrap our component in a Provider.

Create an _app.js file in your pages directory (if it doesn’t already exist) and add the following code:

import { SessionProvider } from "next-auth/react"
import '../styles/globals.css'

function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) {
  return (
    <SessionProvider session={pageProps.session}>
      <Component {...pageProps} />
    </SessionProvider>
  )
}

export default MyApp

By wrapping our component in a Session``Provider, we enable session state to be shared between pages. This, in turn, will preserve our state during page navigation, improve performance, and reduce network traffic.

Next, open the components/Header.js file and import useSession, signIn, and signOut from next-auth/client:

import { useSession, signIn, signOut } from 'next-auth/react'

useSession will be used to manage the sign in and sign out state of our users, while signIn and signOut will be used to perform the login and logout features in our app.

Let’s make use of the useSession Hook:

 const { data: session } = useSession();

The session will return the user’s details. Let’s use the details returned to conditionally render a sign in and sign out button.

Replace everything in the return statement in components/Header.js with the following code:

 <div className='header'>
      <Link href='/'>
        <a className='logo'>NextAuth.js</a>
      </Link>
           {session && <a href="#" onClick={handleSignout} className="btn-signin">Sign out</a>  } 
           {!session && <a href="#" onClick={handleSignin}  className="btn-signin">Sign in</a>  } 
    </div>

We need to create the handleSignin and handleSignout methods to enable our users to sign in and sign out:

const handleSignin = (e) => {
      e.preventDefault()
      signIn()
  }    
const handleSignout = (e) => {
      e.preventDefault()
      signOut()
    }

Your Header.js should now look like this:

import Link from 'next/link'
import { useSession, signIn, signOut } from 'next-auth/react'

export default function Header () {
  const { data: session } = useSession();

  const handleSignin = (e) => {
    e.preventDefault()
    signIn()
  }

  const handleSignout = (e) => {
    e.preventDefault()
    signOut()
  }

  return (
    <div className='header'>
      <Link href='/'>
        <a className='logo'>NextAuth.js</a>
      </Link>
      {session && <a href="#" onClick={handleSignout} className="btn-signin">Sign out</a>  }
      {!session && <a href="#" onClick={handleSignin}  className="btn-signin">Sign in</a>  }
    </div>
  )
}

Feel free to sign in and sign out of the app using the header button.

Retrieve and display user information

Now, onto our pages/index.js. We need to display and conditionally render user details based on their login details. First, we have to import the useSession hook from next-auth.

So, replace your index.js with the following content:

import Head from 'next/head'
import Header from '../components/Header'
import styles from '../styles/Home.module.css'
import { useSession } from 'next-auth/react'

export default function Home() {
  const { data: session, status } = useSession()
  const loading = status === "loading"

  return (
    <div className={styles.container}>
      <Head>
        <title>Nextjs | Next-Auth</title>
        <link rel="icon" href="/favicon.ico" />
      </Head>
      <Header />
      <main className={styles.main}>
        <h1 className={styles.title}>Authentication in Next.js app using Next-Auth</h1>
        <div className={styles.user}>
           {loading && <div className={styles.title}>Loading...</div>}
           {
            session &&
              <>
               <p style={{ marginBottom: '10px' }}> Welcome, {session.user.name ?? session.user.email}</p> <br />
               <img src={session.user.image} alt="" className={styles.avatar} />
              </>
            }
           {
            !session &&
              <>
               <p className={styles.title}>Please Sign in</p>
               <img src="https://cdn.dribbble.com/users/759083/screenshots/6915953/2.gif" alt="" className={styles.avatar} />
               <p className={styles.credit}>GIF by <a href="https://dribbble.com/shots/6915953-Another-man-down/attachments/6915953-Another-man-down?mode=media">Another man</a> </p>
              </>
           }
         </div>
      </main>
    </div>
  )
}

In this code, we are conditionally rendering the user’s image, name, and photo using the data from our session state if the user is logged into our app. If the user is not logged in, we display a dummy GIF with text instructing them to sign in.

Create a Google OAuth app

To allow users to log in to our app using their Google account, we have to obtain OAuth 2.0 client credentials from the Google API Console. Navigate to Credentials and click on Create credentials, and then OAuth client ID:

Create Google OAuth Client ID.
Create Google OAuth client ID.

You will be asked to fill in the following:

  • Choose an Application Type: Select Web Application
  • Name: This is the name of your application
  • Authorized JavaScript origins: This is the full URL to the homepage of our app. Since we are still in development mode, we are going to fill in the full URL our development server is running on. In this case, it is http://localhost:3000
  • Authorized redirect URIs: Users will be redirected to this path after they have authenticated with Google: http://localhost:3000/api/auth/callback/google

Next, a popup will display your client ID and client secret. Copy and add them o your env.local file:

GOOGLE_ID=<client id of your google auth app should go in here>
GOOGLE_SECRET=<client secret of your google auth app should go in here>

Next, navigate to pages/api/auth/[...nextauth].js and add the following to your array of providers:

import GoogleProvider from 'next-auth/providers/google';
...
   GoogleProvider({
      clientId: process.env.GOOGLE_ID,
      clientSecret: process.env.GOOGLE_SECRET,
    }),
...

Your [...nextauth].js should now look like this:

import NextAuth from 'next-auth';
import GitHubProvider from 'next-auth/providers/github';
import GoogleProvider from 'next-auth/providers/google';

const options = {
    providers: [
        GitHubProvider({
            clientId: process.env.GITHUB_ID,
            clientSecret: process.env.GITHUB_SECRET
        }),
        GoogleProvider({
          clientId: process.env.GOOGLE_ID,
          clientSecret: process.env.GOOGLE_SECRET,
        }),
    ],
}

export default (req, res) => NextAuth(req, res, options)

To test out user login using a Google account, quit your development server and run npm run dev.
Now, with our fingers crossed and our heads held high, we should be able to sign in to our app with our Google account:

Sign in with Google activated.
Sign in with Google activated.

Create a Facebook OAuth app

To use the Facebook login for our app, we will need a Facebook developer account. Create an account and then create your app. For the app type, choose Consumer. In the Details screen, choose a display name.

Once that is completed, your screen should look like this:

Login options.
Login options.

Click on Facebook Login and select Web. Now, add the following:

To get your app ID and app secret, navigate to the Basic section in Settings, copy them, and add them to your env.local file as follows:

FACEBOOK_ID=<app id of your facebook app should go in here>
FACEBOOK_SECRET=<app secret of your facebook app should go in here>

Don’t forget to add http://localhost:3000/ in the App Domains field.

Next, navigate to pages/api/auth/[...nextauth].js and add the following to your array of providers:

import FacebookProvider from 'next-auth/providers/facebook';
...
    FacebookProvider({
            clientId: process.env.FACEBOOK_ID,
            clientSecret: process.env.FACEBOOK_SECRET
      })
...

Your [...nextauth].js should now look like this:

import NextAuth from 'next-auth';
import GitHubProvider from 'next-auth/providers/github';
import GoogleProvider from 'next-auth/providers/google';
import FacebookProvider from 'next-auth/providers/facebook';

const options = {
    providers: [
        GitHubProvider({
            clientId: process.env.GITHUB_ID,
            clientSecret: process.env.GITHUB_SECRET
        }),
        GoogleProvider({
          clientId: process.env.GOOGLE_ID,
          clientSecret: process.env.GOOGLE_SECRET,
        }),
        FacebookProvider({
          clientId: process.env.FACEBOOK_ID,
          clientSecret: process.env.FACEBOOK_SECRET
        }),
    ],
}

export default (req, res) => NextAuth(req, res, options)

After you restart your development server, users should be able to log in to your Next.js app using their GitHub, Google, and Facebook accounts:

Sign in with Facebook activated.
Sign in with Facebook activated.

Conclusion

In this post, we’ve implemented user authentication in Next.js using NextAuth.js, which is a secured library to identify our users, get user profile information, and render them in our frontend.
We’ve covered most of the use cases, but there is a lot more you can do with NextAuth.js. You can add a database using JSON Web Token, secure pages, and more.

If you are hungry for more content, check out the tutorial page from the NextAuth.js official docs.

Let me know in the comments section below what you thought of this tutorial. You can also reach me on Twitter and GitHub. Thank you for reading and stay tuned.

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Debugging Next applications can be difficult, especially when users experience issues that are difficult to reproduce. If you’re interested in monitoring and tracking state, automatically surfacing JavaScript errors, and tracking slow network requests and component load time, try LogRocket.

LogRocket is like a DVR for web and mobile apps, recording literally everything that happens on your Next app. Instead of guessing why problems happen, you can aggregate and report on what state your application was in when an issue occurred. LogRocket also monitors your app's performance, reporting with metrics like client CPU load, client memory usage, and more.

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Ejiro Asiuwhu Software Engineer with a drive for building highly scalable and performant web applications. Heavily interested in module federation, micro frontends, state machines, TDD, and system designs. Big on web performance and optimization, advanced component design patterns, a11y, SSR, SSG Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR), and state management. Expert at crafting highly reusable Typescript-heavy component libraries. An advocate of TypeScript and industry best practices. I regularly author meaningful technical content ✍🏽.

11 Replies to “How to use NextAuth.js for client-side authentication in Next.js”

  1. Great article! However, you called it ‘Nuxt-Auth.js’ and ‘Next-Auth.js’ a few times, it is ‘NextAuth.js’

    – core team member

  2. Really great article 😊 I really enjoyed reading it and it makes me want to switch to Next.js. I was wondering why you called this client-side rather than severless? Is the authentication not done server side by SSR? I really apologize if I’m wrong, I’m just trying to understand the authentication flow.

  3. website: next-auth.js
    Example code : next-auth-example
    npm package : next-auth

    But it is called NextAuth.js and not next-auth.js as one could guess from all your urls.

    Am I missing something here ?

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