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Laravel Sanctum SPA API Authentication: Part 1

Laravel Sanctum is a lightweight package to help make authentication in single-page or native mobile applications as easy as possible. Where before you had to choose between using the web middleware with sessions or an external package like Tymon’s jwt-auth, you can now use Sanctum to accomplish both stateful and token-based authentication.

Installing Laravel Sanctum

First, let’s actually install the package using Composer:

Then, we’ll have to publish the migration files (and run the migration) with the following commands:

The last part of Sanctum’s installation requires us modifying the appHttpKernel.php file to include a middleware that will inject Laravel’s session cookie into our app’s frontend. This is what will ultimately enable us to pass and retrieve data as an authenticated user:

CORS & Cookies

You should ensure that your application’s CORS configuration is returning the Access-Control-Allow-Credentials header with a value of True by setting the supports_credentials option within your application’s cors configuration file to true.

In addition, you should enable the withCredentials option on your global axios instance. Typically, this should be performed in your resources/js/bootstrap.js file:


To authenticate your SPA, your SPA’s login page should first make a request to the /sanctum/csrf-cookie route to initialize CSRF protection for the application:

During this request Laravel will set an XSRF-TOKEN cookie containing the current CSRF token. This token should then be passed in an X-XSRF-TOKEN header on subsequent requests, which libraries like Axios and the Angular HttpClient will do automatically for you.

Protecting Routes

To protect routes so that all incoming requests must be authenticated, you should attach the sanctum authentication guard to your API routes within your routes/api.php file. 

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