API Key Authentication

API Key authentication allows you to create API Keys for your end users as well as your organizations in order to protect requests they make to your product.

In a typical web application, you can setup authentication in the browser. API Key authentication allows your users to make requests outside of the browser, such as CLIs, cURL, etc.

Token Types

There are three different kinds of API Keys that PropelAuth can generate, based on the desired use case.

Token TypeOwned byHow to Create?Automatic Invalidation
PersonalUserUsers can create via the hosted page or you can create via our APIsWhen the user is blocked or deleted or the token expires
OrganizationOrganizationUsers can create via the hosted page or you can create via our APIsWhen the organization is deleted, (optionally) when the user who created the key leaves the org, or when the token expires
GenericNo oneVia our APIsWhen the token expires

Basic Usage

First, your users create an API Key via our configurable hosted pages (you can also create them manually via our APIs if you want to manage it yourself)

Next, when a user makes a request to your product, they will send this key in their request.

Finally, your product makes a request to our validation API endpoints to make sure that the token is valid, and we return the user or organization that the token was issued to, along with any relevant metadata. Our validation endpoints accept bearer tokens or just the key itself, so the choice on how you ask your users to include the token is up to you!

How It Works


First enable API Key Authentication in your Project. In the API Key Settings section of the dashboard, make sure that you enable your preferred feature, either Personal or Organization API Keys, or both.


Click on the Preview button on the top right, and click on the API Key hosted page or pages you enabled. These pages are where you will redirect your customers to create their API Keys.

Just like the rest of our hosted pages, they are fully customizable and will appear under your domain name.

Hosted Pages

Validate Requests from your customers

Once a customer has generated an API Key for their requests, they can then send that key in the header of their requests to your product. You can then verify that the request is coming from a real user by hitting our validation endpoints, and receive from PropelAuth any relevant metadata about the requester.

As an example, below is a snippet of an Express backend that is logging to the console the returned object from the validatePersonalApiKey endpoint.

app.post('/api/whoami', async (req, res) => {
    const apiKey = await auth.validatePersonalApiKey(req.headers.authorization)


	user: {
	metadata: {
		"howDoISetThis": "you can set the metadata on API key creation or update"