Enable API token based authentication

Require every incoming API request to include an authentication token before allowing that request to pass through

By default, Dapr relies on the network boundary to limit access to its public API. If you plan on exposing the Dapr API outside of that boundary, or if your deployment demands an additional level of security, consider enabling the token authentication for Dapr APIs. This will cause Dapr to require every incoming gRPC and HTTP request for its APIs for to include authentication token, before allowing that request to pass through.

Create a token

Dapr uses JWT tokens for API authentication.

Note, while Dapr itself is actually not the JWT token issuer in this implementation, being explicit about the use of JWT standard enables federated implementations in the future (e.g. OAuth2).

To configure APIs authentication, start by generating your token using any JWT token compatible tool (e.g. https://jwt.io/) and your secret.

Note, that secret is only necessary to generate the token, and Dapr doesn’t need to know about or store it

Configure API token authentication in Dapr

The token authentication configuration is slightly different for either Kubernetes or self-hosted Dapr deployments:


In self-hosting scenario, Dapr looks for the presence of DAPR_API_TOKEN environment variable. If that environment variable is set while daprd process launches, Dapr will enforce authentication on its public APIs:

export DAPR_API_TOKEN=<token>

To rotate the configured token, simply set the DAPR_API_TOKEN environment variable to the new value and restart the daprd process.


In Kubernetes deployment, Dapr leverages Kubernetes secrets store to hold the JWT token. To configure Dapr APIs authentication start by creating a new secret:

kubectl create secret generic dapr-api-token --from-literal=token=<token> 

Note, the above secret needs to be created in each namespace in which you want to enable Dapr token authentication

To indicate to Dapr to use that secret to secure its public APIs, add an annotation to your Deployment template spec:

  dapr.io/enabled: "true" 
  dapr.io/api-token-secret: "dapr-api-token" # name of the Kubernetes secret

When deployed, Dapr sidecar injector will automatically create a secret reference and inject the actual value into DAPR_API_TOKEN environment variable.

Rotate a token


To rotate the configured token in self-hosted, simply set the DAPR_API_TOKEN environment variable to the new value and restart the daprd process.


To rotate the configured token in Kubernates, update the previously created secret with the new token in each namespace. You can do that using kubectl patch command, but the easiest way to update these in each namespace is by using manifest:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: dapr-api-token
type: Opaque
  token: <your-new-token>

And then apply it to each namespace:

kubectl apply --file token-secret.yaml --namespace <namespace-name>

To tell Dapr to start using the new token, trigger a rolling upgrade to each one of your deployments:

kubectl rollout restart deployment/<deployment-name> --namespace <namespace-name>

Note, assuming your service is configured with more than one replica, the key rotation process does not result in any downtime.

Adding JWT token to client API invocations

Once token authentication is configured in Dapr, all clients invoking Dapr API will have to append the JWT token to every request:


In case of HTTP, Dapr inspect the incoming request for presence of dapr-api-token parameter in HTTP header:

dapr-api-token: <token>


When using gRPC protocol, Dapr will inspect the incoming calls for the API token on the gRPC metadata: