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Shreshth Goyal
Shreshth Goyal

Posted on • Updated on

User Authorization in NodeJS using PostgreSQL

User authentication is one of the integral parts while developing a web application. Although we can use third party apps like Firebase or Passport to authenticate our user, but in this blog we'll use a simple and self-developed approach by creating REST APIs using NodeJS and PostgreSQL which will help us understand fundamentals of authentication.

Prerequisites and Technologies Used

  • nodeJS
  • nodemon
  • express
  • cors
  • pg
  • bcrypt
  • jwt
  • dotenv

Also it is preferred to have an account on ElephantSQL.


Basic Structure

Once you have all the dependencies set up you can start by first making a folder structure. Here we will be using MVC folder structure, which stands for Model --> View --> Controller type of structure. Here we will be making different folders for each task.

In your root directory run the following command

touch server.js
mkdir routes controller routes configs
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This will create all the folders that we will be required to authorize our users. server.js will be our root file where we will be initiating our server with the help of ExpressJS.

It might be daunting for few, but stick with me till the end and you'll surely get an idea how to create your server and how to work through it authorizing and authenticating new users to your application.

Starting Our Server

In our main server.js file we will be structuring our server.
Our server.js should look like

const  express  =  require("express");

const app = express(); //Initialized express

app.use(express.json());
app.use(cors());

const port = process.env.PORT || 5000;

app.get("/", (req, res) => {

res.status(200).send("Engine Started, Ready to take off!");

})

app.listen(port, () => {

console.log(`Here we go, Engines started at ${port}.`);

})
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Here we added cors which enables cross origin sharing of resources. You can learn more about it here.
Here we process.env.port looks for any free port to run our server locally if our port is not free as in our case port 5000. We can check if our server is running properly by running localhost:5000.

'Users' table schema in PostgresSQL

To create our users table now we can run postgres locally too, but in this blog we are using ElephantSQL to ease connecting it remotely with our backend. After creating an account on ElephantSQL, copy the database URL from the details section to your clipboard.
We have to run the following SQL queries to create our users table.

CREATE TABLE "users" (

"id" SERIAL PRIMARY KEY,

"name" text NOT NULL,

"email" text NOT NULL UNIQUE,

"phonenumber" text NOT NULL UNIQUE,

"password" varchar NOT NULL,

);
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Users that register themselves should have a unique E-mail and a unique phone-number to prevent multiple registrations of same users, and spamming of user-bots.

Now we will have our users table where we can store our users information.

Working with our Node App

Now as we have constructed our database we need to configure and connect it to our server. In our project directory we will direct ourselves too configs directory and create two files database.js and dotenv.js.

Before adding our Postgres Credentials we will make a new file .env in our root directory to store all the values as Enviornment variables so if any other person gets our code they wont be able to access our credentials.

In our .env, add the following lines

DB_URL = paste your database URL here
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Now in our dotenv.js we will add the following lines

if (process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production') {

require('dotenv').config() //Configuring dotenv during development stage

}
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which means that if we are in a development stage server has to configure our dotenv files.

Now to connect our database to our backend we have to add these lines in our database.js to configure our postgres database.

const { Client } = require("pg");

const client = new Client(process.env.DB_URL); //Configuring PostgresSQL Database

module.exports = client;
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Now as we have configured our database, to connect this to our database we have to add these lines to our server.js.

require("./configs/dotenv");
const  client  =  require("./configs/database");

client.connect((err) => { //Connected Database

if (err) {

console.log(err);

}

else {

console.log("Data logging initiated!");}

});
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By doing so through our console we'll get to know whether we are connected to our database or not on our local host.

Making and Routing our User endpoint

In our server.js we will add the following lines of code, just to tell the server that whenever we fetch /users it has to run our user method.

const  user  =  require("./routes/user");

app.use("/user",  user);  //Route for /user endpoint of API
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Here we can make multiple endpoints for different tasks.

We'll know what routes/user is in the following section.

Now in our routes directory we will make users.js and add the following code

const express = require('express');

const router = express.Router();

const {register} = require("../controllers/register");

const {login} = require("../controllers/login");

router.post('/register' , register); //POST request to register the user

router.post('/login' , login); // POST request to login the user

module.exports = router;
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Here we are telling the server to go to these endpoints and make requests based on corresponding methods.

For example :- If our user fetches at /user/register our server will make a POST request on our register method which we will write in our next section.

If you have gotten this far in this blog, tap yourself on the back as you have created your own server, have set your own enviornment variables, created, configured and connected your own postgreSQL database to your server and have completed your first step in authorizing users to your web applications.

From here onwards it'll get more interesting and you will be writing functions that will work on Real World Projects and you'll fall in love with it.

Registering Users to our App

In our controllers directory we will create register.js where we will add function to register our user.

Here we will be making SQL queries such that to prevent SQL injection. Interested people can know more about SQL injection from here and will be doing error handling at each step, also will be using try-catch methods to write the functions.

Before moving forward with our function we need to update our .env file.
We will add follwoing variables to our .env file

SECRET_KEY = any random string here

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In register.js we will add the following code

const  bcrypt  =  require("bcrypt");

const  client  =  require("../configs/database");

const  jwt  =  require("jsonwebtoken");

//Registration Function

exports.register  =  async (req, res) => {
const { name, email, phonenumber, password } =  req.body;
try {
const  data  =  await client.query(`SELECT * FROM users WHERE email= $1;`, [email]); //Checking if user already exists
const  arr  =  data.rows;
if (arr.length  !=  0) {
return  res.status(400).json({
error: "Email already there, No need to register again.",
});
}
else {
bcrypt.hash(password, 10, (err, hash) => {
if (err)
res.status(err).json({
error: "Server error",
});
const  user  = {
name,
email,
phonenumber,
password: hash,
};
var  flag  =  1; //Declaring a flag

//Inserting data into the database

client
.query(`INSERT INTO users (name, email, phonenumber, password) VALUES ($1,$2,$3,$4);`, [user.name, user.email, user.phonenumber, user.password], (err) => {

if (err) {
flag  =  0; //If user is not inserted is not inserted to database assigning flag as 0/false.
console.error(err);
return  res.status(500).json({
error: "Database error"
})
}
else {
flag  =  1;
res.status(200).send({ message: 'User added to database, not verified' });
}
})
if (flag) {
const  token  = jwt.sign( //Signing a jwt token
{
email: user.email
},
process.env.SECRET_KEY
);
};
});
}
}
catch (err) {
console.log(err);
res.status(500).json({
error: "Database error while registring user!", //Database connection error
});
};
}
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This code will register your user in your database, we can test this endpoint on Postman or ThunderClient extension on VS code.

We'll understand this code in next section.

Understanding Registration function

To understand our registration function we'll break it into different blocks.

Block 1 : Checking if user is already present in our database

const  data  =  await client.query(`SELECT * FROM users WHERE email= $1;`, [email]); //Checking if user already exists
const  arr  =  data.rows;  
if (arr.length  !=  0) {
return  res.status(400).json({
error: "Email already there, No need to register again.",
});
}
...
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Here we are querying our client i.e. is our database to check where user's email is already present in our database or not. Then we check whether the response of this query's rows has some length (If email is present) or not.

If length is 0, we give an error response to the user stating that he need not register again.

Block 2 : Hashing user's Password

bcrypt.hash(password, 10, (err, hash) => {
if (err)
res.status(err).json({
error: "Server error",
});
const  user  = {
name,
email,
phonenumber,
password: hash,
};

...
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Here we uses bcrypt to hash user's password so if any third-party gets our database our user's password are safe and secure and cannot be cracked by third-party. 10 parameter is in the function is the number of salt rounds this function does to store the password.
You can know more about bcrypt from here.

Then we are making a user object to store all the inputted values and hashed password of the user.

Block 3 : Inserting User's Information in our Database

var  flag  =  1; //Declaring a flag

//Inserting data into the database

client
.query(`INSERT INTO users (name, email, phonenumber, password) VALUES ($1,$2,$3,$4);`, [user.name, user.email, user.phonenumber, user.password], (err) => {

if (err) {
flag  =  0; //If user is not inserted is not inserted to database assigning flag as 0/false.
console.error(err);
return  res.status(500).json({
error: "Database error"
})
}
else {
flag  =  1;
res.status(200).send({ message: 'User added to database' });
}
})

...
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Here we are querying through our database and inserting our user's data with the hashed password. Also here we are declaring a variable named flag which will act as boolean for the following section.

Block 4 : Signing JSON Web Token for each User

if (flag) {
const  token  = jwt.sign( //Signing a jwt token
{
email: user.email
},
process.env.SECRET_KEY
);
};

...
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Here if our User is registered to our database (Boolean flag checks this) we sign a Json Web Token for the user. Json Web Token offers signature and encrypts data given to it. In our case we are encrypting user's email to identify it later on whenever user signs into our application.
process.env.SECRET_KEY is the enviornment variable in our .env file which gives a random string with jwt functions encrypts our data.

If you are intrested you can know more about jwt from here or refer to its package documentation from here

Now as we are through with registering our user we can check these endpoint, by making POST request on /users/register and inputting required data.


Hurrayy!! 🥳🥳🥳
As of now you have developed your own backend to register your users and that too by following best practices out there.
You have prevented SQL-Injections, You have done good error handling and securely stored user's data in your database.

Now we will see how to Sign In our user into our application.

Signing In Users to our App

In our controllers directory we will create login.js where we will add function to sign in our user.

Here we will be making SQL queries such that to prevent SQL injection. Intrested people can know more about SQL injection from here and will be doing error handling at each step, also wil be using try-catch methods to write the functions.

We will add the following code to ur login.js file

const bcrypt = require("bcrypt");

const client = require("../configs/database");

const jwt = require("jsonwebtoken");

//Login Function
exports.login = async (req, res) => {
const { email, password } = req.body;
try {
const data = await client.query(`SELECT * FROM users WHERE email= $1;`, [email]) //Verifying if the user exists in the database
const user = data.rows;
if (user.length === 0) {
res.status(400).json({
error: "User is not registered, Sign Up first",
});
}
else {
bcrypt.compare(password, user[0].password, (err, result) => { //Comparing the hashed password
if (err) {
res.status(500).json({
error: "Server error",
});
} else if (result === true) { //Checking if credentials match
const token = jwt.sign(
{
email: email,
},
process.env.SECRET_KEY
);
res.status(200).json({
message: "User signed in!",
token: token,
});
}
else {
//Declaring the errors
if (result != true)
res.status(400).json({
error: "Enter correct password!",
});
}
})
}
} catch (err) {
console.log(err);
res.status(500).json({
error: "Database error occurred while signing in!", //Database connection error
});
};
};
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This code will sign in your user in your database, we can test this endpoint on Postman or ThunderClient extension on VS code.

We'll understand this code in next section.

Understanding Sign In function

To understand our sign in function we'll break it into different blocks.

Block 1 : Checking if User registered to our application or not

const { email, password } = req.body;
try {
const data = await client.query(`SELECT * FROM users WHERE email= $1;`, [email]) //Verifying if the user exists in the database
const user = data.rows;
if (user.length === 0) {
res.status(400).json({
error: "User is not registered, Sign Up first",
});
}

...
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Here we are querying through our database and checking if the user inputted values are present in our database or not. If our query's response has length 0, which means there is no user with these credentials it throws an error.

Block 2 : Comparing Hashed Password with User's Password

 else {
bcrypt.compare(password, user[0].password, (err, result) => { //Comparing the hashed password
if (err) {
res.status(500).json({
error: "Server error",
});
} else if (result === true) { //Checking if credentials match
const token = jwt.sign(
{
email: email,
},
process.env.SECRET_KEY
);
res.status(200).json({
message: "User signed in!",
token: token,
});
}

...
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Here if user is present in our database we are using compare method of bcrypt to check where user inputted password and user's password in database are equal or not.

And if these both passwords are equal we sign a JWT token for the user, where we encrypt user's email.

Block 3 : Handling Errors While Signing in the User

else {
//Declaring the errors
if (result != true)
res.status(400).json({
error: "Enter correct password!",
});
}
})
}
} catch (err) {
console.log(err);
res.status(500).json({
error: "Database error occurred while signing in!", //Database connection error
});
};
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In this part of the code we are telling the user if there is any error while logging him in the application be it related to his credentials or if it is related to database.

Now as we are through with signing in our user we can check these endpoint, by making POST request on /users/loigin and inputting required data.

If everything is done well Response 200 OK will be there and you have successfully authorized and authenticated user without using third party apps on your own.

It's time to celebrate as you have done pretty well and gained a lot of knowledge about how to work with node and express and other technologies and work your way out.
There is much more to User Authentication and this is just your beginning. You have learnt so much now explore on your own


What more you can do now?

  • Validate User's Email, Password and Phone Number using RegEx.
  • Verify User's Email by sending mails to the user using NodeMailer.
  • Prevent different attacks like XSS attacks on your server.
  • Add more endpoints and learn about middlewares.

This is my first blog and a small contribution for the community, some love would be appreciated ♥

You can contact me here regarding any feedback and queries.

Discussion (14)

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cide74 profile image
Régis BRUNET BLEC • Edited

hello great TUTO, but in your 'Users' table schema in PostgresSQL, there is an error there is no "," to

 '' password " varchar NOT NULL    ', '
); 
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otherwise the table does not work.

Here is my DataBase on ElephantSQL

BEGIN;

-- Data Table --
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS "users" CASCADE;

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS "users" (
     - serial PRIMARY KEY for unique id
     "id" SERIAL PRIMARY KEY,
     "name" text NOT NULL,
     "email" text NOT NULL UNIQUE,
     "phonenumber" text NOT NULL UNIQUE,
     "password" varchar NOT NULL
);

-- DataBase --
INSERT INTO "users" (
     "id",
     "name",
     "E-mail",
     "phonenumber",
     "password"
) VALUES

     (1, 'john', 'john.doe@email.zzz', 'phoneNumber', 'password');

COMMIT;
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shreshthgoyal profile image
Shreshth Goyal Author • Edited

Hi! Thanks for the compliment, but this schema did work for me while creating my database diagram for this user authentication.
Also I'll look into it, thanks for the insights.

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srishtipandey10 profile image
Srishti-Pandey10

Very Helpful Content !!🤩

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satyamshukla007901 profile image
Satyamshukla007901

Great work bro🤟🤟

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shreshthgoyal profile image
Shreshth Goyal Author

Thanks satyam 😀

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addy0110 profile image
Adarsh Pandey

God or wot 👏👏

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shreshthgoyal profile image
Shreshth Goyal Author

Thanks adarsh 😄💫

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ifierygod profile image
Goran Kortjie

Spectacular work!

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shikhar13012001 profile image
Shikhar

Woah man ! Awesome so clean and helpful!
This will surely help in my project !!

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shreshthgoyal profile image
Shreshth Goyal Author

Thanks for these words Shikhar, Feeling glad that it was helpful for you. 😄

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ambujraj2001 profile image
Ambuj Raj

👍👍

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shreshthgoyal profile image
Shreshth Goyal Author

😄

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rjtsharma3538 profile image
Rajat Sharma

Amazing bro🍻

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Shreshth Goyal Author

😄