Unit Test Token Verification for Auth0 using Jest and mock-jwks


Testing out authentication in your application is crucial. When integrating with Auth0 it becomes more difficult. You aren't able to generate the tokens you want. There is rate limiting involved for their API. It's also not something they should be concerned with. Your implementation should be handled by yourself.

For unit testing to be quick we should be able to rapidly spin up valid tokens, invalid tokens, expired tokens, etc to test out our authentication layer. One handy library for this is .

This will mock calls to the JWK well knowns endpoint, as well as manage signing and generating the tokens for us. Basically it will pretend to be Auth0 for us

For this tutorial we'll also assume to use babel so we can do stuff like use import.

Read more about why RS256 and using JWKs is better than just random signing keys

Code to Verify JWT

First lets setup the code that checks if the token is valid. We'll need the jsonwebtoken library and jwks-rsa library. Both are from Auth0.

yarn add jsonwebtoken jwks-rsa

We'll import and create a jwksClient. We will then provide it our url for our applications JWKS. This is the url that will have our signing keys to verify that a token is from the proper Auth0 app but not provide private keys that allow new tokens to be signed.

import jwt from "jsonwebtoken";
import jwksClient from "jwks-rsa";

const client = jwksClient({
  jwksUri: "https://MYAUTH0APP.auth0.com/.well-known/jwks.json",

You may have something along these lines. We will need our jwt.verify call to be asynchronous as we will need to load up the JWKS. Rather than use callbacks we wrap it in a promise so we can easily work with async/await.

We receive a token to verify, a getKey callback which we'll hear about in a second, and then we provide our algorithm, and a callback to deal with the returned error or decoded token.

export const verifyAuth0Token = async (token) => {
  return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
    jwt.verify(token, getKey, { algorithms: ["RS256"] }, (err, decoded) => {
      if (err) {


The getKey is a function that the jsonwebtoken library will call with a header, and a callback to tell it that we failed, or successfully loaded up the signing key.

Using our jwks-rsa library we ask it to go retrieve our signing key for a specific kid. The kid is a unique identifier for the key. The jwks.json that we load from Auth0 will have a matching signing key for our kid. So we need the kid to know which key to use to check if our token is valid.

const getKey = (header, callback) => {
  client.getSigningKey(header.kid, function (err, key) {
    if (err) {
    const signingKey = key.getPublicKey();

    callback(null, signingKey);

Finally we get our public signing key a give the callback a call with the key. This is all great, but mocking this or getting real tokens could be challenging.

Setting up the Environment

So lets setup our jest environment so we can mock this flow and test out our authentication.

First we need to install a few libraries. Most are jest related except mock-jwks and nock. Nock mocks HTTP requests, and mock-jwks generates our signing keys and tokens, and uses nock to return the responses.

yarn add @babel/core @babel/preset-env babel-jest jest mock-jwks nock --dev

This is our babel.config.js.

module.exports = {
  presets: [
        targets: {
          node: "current",

Setting up Jest Tests

With jest installed we can edit our package.json to have a script to run our tests. Something like

 "scripts": {
    "test": "jest"

In a __tests__ directory we can create a test that matches what Jest will run. In our case we called it auth.test.js.

We need to initiate mock-jwks. So we call it with the path of our Auth0 application. https://MYAUTH0APP.auth0.com/. The path to the url for the jwks is the second argument to createJWKSMock however it defaults to well-known/jwks.json so we don't need to do anything there.

Before each test we'll run our jwks-mock listener, and we'll also stop it after to each test.

import { verifyAuth0Token } from "../index";
import createJWKSMock from "mock-jwks";
import { TokenExpiredError } from "jsonwebtoken";

describe("Auth Test", () => {
  const jwks = createJWKSMock("https://MYAUTH0APP.auth0.com/");

  beforeEach(() => {

  afterEach(() => {

Writing the Test

Now lets look at what it's like to write a test using mock-jwks. We imported our verifyAuth0Token function. Now we need to get a token to verify.

The client we created has a token method that will accept a payload of data. This is the payload of data you would usually write into the token when calling jwt.sign and creating a valid token.

We don't have any data we need so we can just pass in an empty object for now and get back a valid token.

We call our verifyAuth0Token call, and expect the data we get back to match. The reason this works is if our jwt.verify call receives an invalid token it will throw an error.

it("should verify the token", async () => {
  const token = jwks.token({});

  const data = await verifyAuth0Token(token);


So in order to test out a thrown error in Jest with async an easy method is to use the expect.assertions call and a try/catch.

We say that we expect exactly 1 assertion. That assertion will be in the catch. If the token were to be valid for some reason we'd get an error because the catch would never be run and we'd never get the 1 assertion we require.

We pass in an exp: 0 to our token. It doesn't really matter when the token expires as we're just testing that it catches expired tokens as invalid.

In our catch we can expect that we should receive an error, but we can be even more specific and expect a TokenExpiredError.

it("should be an invalid token", async () => {
  const token = jwks.token({
    exp: 0,

  try {
    const data = await verifyAuth0Token(token);
  } catch (error) {
    expect(error).toEqual(new TokenExpiredError("jwt expired"));


With mock-jwks we can spin up unit tests with valid, invalid, and any payload we want without round tripping to a server. So our tests stay fast so we can unit test appropriately. Additionally we don't have to add any hacks into our code to test it. We just mock how it would work in the real world.

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