Play by Play: NodeJS Express Session's storage configuration

Setting up sessions and using express-session in an Express application is essential for managing user state across multiple requests.

Why We Need Sessions

  1. Stateful Interactions: HTTP is a stateless protocol, meaning each request from a client to a server is independent, with no memory of previous interactions. Sessions provide a way to maintain state between these requests.

  2. User Authentication: Sessions are commonly used to maintain a user's logged-in state. When a user logs in, their session is created and stored, allowing the server to recognize the user on subsequent requests without requiring them to log in again.

  3. Personalized Experience: Sessions enable personalized user experiences by storing user-specific data (like preferences, shopping cart contents, etc.) across multiple interactions with the web application.

  4. Security: Sessions can help manage and secure user interactions by tracking login status and ensuring that sensitive operations are performed by authenticated users.

express-session is a middleware for managing sessions in an Express application. It provides several features that make session management easier and more secure:

  1. Session Management: express-session automatically handles creating, updating, and destroying sessions. This simplifies session management and ensures consistency across your application.

  2. Session Storage: By default, express-session uses an in-memory store, but it supports various other stores (like Redis, MongoDB, etc.) for better scalability and persistence. This flexibility allows you to choose a storage solution that fits your needs.

  3. Session Cookies: express-session manages session cookies for you. It sets, retrieves, and secures session cookies, ensuring that session data is correctly tied to user interactions.

  4. Configuration Options: express-session provides numerous configuration options, allowing you to customize session behavior, such as cookie settings, session lifetime, and security options (like secure cookies and HTTP-only cookies).

While I was working on a friend's project, I came across the following warning: connect.session() MemoryStore is not designed for a production environment., as it will leak memory, and will not scale past a single process. If you are seeing this warning, it indicates that you are using the default "MemoryStore" for session storage in your express application. "MemoryStore" is not suitable for production because it stores session data in memory.

The error message is corresponding to the follow code:

    secret: process.env.SESSION_SECRET,
    resave: false,
    saveUninitialized: false,

If you're already using mongodb, we can use connect-mongo package to configure our session storage.

 npm install connect-mongo
import session from 'express-session';
import MongoStore from 'connect-mongo';

  store: MongoStore.create({
    mongoUrl: 'mongodb://localhost:27017/your-database-name'
  secret: 'your-secret-key',
  resave: false,
  saveUninitialized: false,
  cookie: { secure: true } // Set to true if using HTTPS

Now, go ahead and check your application logs to ensure this error message is gone.

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Application Support by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!