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Willian Antunes

Caching JWKS using Redis with Django

5 minute read

django, drf, auth0, jwt, redis

Table of contents
  1. Redis as compose service
  2. Discovering where PyJWT calls the JWKS endpoint
  3. Adding a caching layer
  4. Testing the custom PyJWKClient class
  5. Next steps and conclusion

By the end of the last article about Authentication with DRF, I described an issue we ran into: our application consults the JWKS endpoint all the time to validate a JWT. The project I shared here has this problem. Django has a lovely cache abstraction, and recently, with version 4, it added support for Redis. So, to solve our problem, let's start configuring the development environment.

Redis as compose service

This is how we'll configure the compose file:

version: "3.9"

    image: redis:6.2.6-alpine
      - "6379:6379"

If the service is ready to accept connections, you can use redis-client to test it:

docker-compose run redis redis-cli -h redis -p 6379 -a "this-is-your-admin-password"

If you type ping, you should receive pong:

redis:6379> PING

Learn more through its documentation.

Discovering where PyJWT calls the JWKS endpoint

This discovery part is crucial. Knowing this, we can override the method responsible for this process, including the cache method in between.

Looking at the constructor method of PyJWKClient, it does not call the JWKS endpoint. So, next, the client retrieves the key_id during the authenticate method execution through the method get_signing_key_from_jwt. This method eventually calls fetch_data, and this procedure requests the JWKS endpoint. Look at its implementation:

def fetch_data(self) -> Any:
  with urllib.request.urlopen(self.uri) as response:
    return json.load(response)

Adding a caching layer

We can create a class extending the PyJWKClient and override the fetch_data method. Then, using the low-level cache API from Django, we can use the get_or_set to call the fetch_data only if the value isn't available in the cache. Translating this idea into code:

class CachingJWKClient(PyJWKClient):
    cache_key = "MY_APP_NAME_JWKS"
    cache_timeout_1_day = 60 * 60 * 24

    def __init__(self, uri: str):

    def fetch_data(self):
        return cache.get_or_set(self.cache_key, super().fetch_data, timeout=self.cache_timeout_1_day)

Testing the custom PyJWKClient class

Testing what we coded is relatively straightforward. We should guarantee that upon calling the fetch_data method from our custom class many times, the actual fetch_data from the super is only called once:

class TestJWKSCache:
    def test_should_use_cache_when_executing_fetch_data(self, mocker):
        # Arrange
        url = "https://salted-url/.well-known/jwks.json"
        jwks_client = CachingJWKClient(url)
        fake_data = "salt-licker"
        mock_fetch_data = mocker.patch(
        mock_fetch_data.return_value = fake_data
        # Act
        assert jwks_client.fetch_data() == fake_data
        assert jwks_client.fetch_data() == fake_data
        assert jwks_client.fetch_data() == fake_data
        assert jwks_client.fetch_data() == fake_data
        # Assert
        assert mock_fetch_data.call_count == 1

We can guarantee the test behavior because we can patch the fetch_data method from the superclass 🤩.

Next steps and conclusion

The Cache API from Django has many options that we didn't cover here. I strongly recommend reading its guide. By the way, from personal experience, I can tell you that caching is difficult and risky. So don't ever underestimate its great potential to make disorder in your system. Use it wisely and do tests to certify that everything will work as expected.

We are close to the point where we can talk about APIView and OpenAPI Schema. We already have a sample in the project about the former, though it's not even close to being production-ready. See you soon 🤟!

See everything we did here on GitHub.

Posted listening to Ocarina of Time Ambiance - Grottos - 10 Hours 🎶.

Have you found any mistakes 👀? Feel free to submit a PR editing this blog entry 😄.