JSON Web Tokens (JWT) utilities

A simple utility to generate and decode JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) that can be used to authenticate against web applications.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The code is released under the Apache 2 Open Source License.

See JWT-OPA for an example of how JWTs can be used to authenticate/authorize access to protected online resources/applications.


Use --help (or -h) for a full list of options and their meaning.

To generate a JWT (optionally signed with an empty passphrase), use:

$ echo '{"sub": "marco", "roles": [ "USER" ]}' | ./jwtie.py

eyJ0eXAiOiJKV .... ktOykD4

To decode a JWT that was generated by this or another tool (so long as the JWT is not encrypted), use the -d flag:

echo "eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1 ... ktOykD4" | ./jwtie.py -d
  "sub": "marco",
  "roles": [

Optionally, add the --header flag to emit the JWT header too.

Validating Signed JWTs

To use a shared secret, set it in the $JWT_SECRET env var (if you want to use a different variable name, use --secret-env SECRET_ENV):

$ export JWT_SECRET="mypazzfrase"

# If we use the JWT generated earlier, it won't pass validation
$ echo "eyJ0eXAiOiJKV ... ktOykD4" | ./jwtie.py -d -v         
ERROR: could not process JWT: Signature verification failed

# We must use --validate, -v when generating it:
echo '{"sub": "marco", "roles": [ "USER" ]}' | ./jwtie.py -v
eyJ0eXAiO .... mJLKsPkblw  # <<-- note the last part, the signature is different

echo "eyJ0eXAiO ... mJLKsPkblw" | ./jwtie.py -d -v --header
  "typ": "JWT",
  "alg": "HS256"
  "sub": "marco",
  "roles": [

Note how the header carries information about the signature algorithm.

NOTE Still TODO adding support for asymmetric and key-based signature algorithms

Raw output

If the output of jwtie needs to be fed into other utilities, pretty-printing it may be unnecessary or even undesirable; in such cases use --raw to get a simple JSON string:

$ echo "eyJ0eXAiO ... mJLKsPkblw" | ./jwtie.py -d --raw
{"sub": "marco", "roles": ["USER"]}

# This is pointless, really, but proves a point.
$ echo "eyJ0eXAiO ... mJLKsPkblw" | ./jwtie.py -d --raw \
  | cut -d ',' -f 2 | cut -d '}' -f 1

 "roles": ["USER"]


While not available yet, this will soon be made available on PyPi for installation via pip:

$ pip install jwtie


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