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Bringing OAuth 2.0 to Wrangler


4 min read

Over the course of this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to join the Workers Developer Productivity team and help improve the developer experience of Workers. Today, I’ll talk about my project to implement the OAuth 2.0 login protocol for Wrangler, the Workers command line interface (CLI).

Wrangler needs to be authorized in order to carry out its job. API tokens are one way to authorize Wrangler, but they do not provide the best user experience as the user needs to manually copy and paste their tokens. This is where the OAuth 2.0 protocol comes into play.

Wrangler login and OAuth 2.0

Previously, the wrangler login command used API tokens to authenticate Wrangler. However, managing API tokens can sometimes be cumbersome, since you need to go to the Cloudflare dashboard to create or modify a token. By using OAuth 2.0, we can allow users to directly choose permissions or scopes from Wrangler. OAuth 2.0 helps simplify the login process while making it more secure.

OAuth 2.0 is an industry-standard protocol for allowing users to authorize applications without having to share a password. In order to understand this protocol, we need to define some terminology:

  • Resource Owner: an entity capable of granting access to a protected resource. This is the user.
  • Resource Server: the server hosting the protected resource. This is the Cloudflare API.
  • Client: an application making protected resource requests on behalf of the resource owner and with its authorization. This is Wrangler, making API calls on the behalf of the user.
  • Authorization Server: The server issuing access tokens to the client after successfully authenticating the resource owner and obtaining authorization. This is our OAuth 2.0 service provider.

The protocol has several flows, but they all share the same objective. The resource owner needs to explicitly grant permission to the client, which can then receive an access token from the authorization server. With this access token, the client is authorized to access protected resources stored on the resource server.

Authorization Code Flow

Among the different types of flows that make up the OAuth 2.0 protocol, Wrangler implements the Authorization Code Flow with PKCE challenges. Let’s take a look at what this entails!

Successful interaction from User to Wrangler and OAuth service provider using the `wrangler login` command.

When running wrangler login, the user is first prompted to log in to the Cloudflare dashboard. Once they are logged in, they are redirected to an authorization page, where they can decide to grant or deny authorization to Wrangler. If authorization is granted, Wrangler receives an authorization grant from the OAuth service provider. Once received, Wrangler exchanges the authorization grant for an access token and a refresh token. At this point, Wrangler stores both of these tokens on disk and uses the access token to make authorized API calls. Since the access token is short-lived, refresh tokens are used to update an expired access token. Throughout this flow, Wrangler and the OAuth service provider also use additional measures to verify the identity of each other, as later described in the Security section of this blog.

Use what you need, only when you need it

In addition to providing a smoother developer experience, the new wrangler login also allows a user to specify which scopes they need. For example, if you would like to have an OAuth token with just account and user read permissions, you can do so by running:

wrangler login --scopes account:read user:read

For more information about the currently available scopes, you can run wrangler login --scopes-list or visit the Wrangler login documentation.

Revoke access at any time

The OAuth 2.0 protocol also defines a flow to revoke authorization from Wrangler. In this workflow, a user can deny Wrangler access to protected resources by simply using the command wrangler logout. This command will make a request to the OAuth 2.0 service provider and invalidate the refresh token, which will automatically invalidate the associated access token.


The OAuth integration also brings improved security by using Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) states, Proof Key for Code Exchange (PKCE) challenges, and short-lived access tokens.

Throughout the first part of the wrangler login flow, Wrangler needs to request an authorization grant. In order to avoid the possibility of a forged response, Wrangler includes a CSRF state in the parameters of the authorization code request. The CSRF state is a unique randomly generated value, which is used to confirm the response received from the OAuth service provider. In addition to the CSRF state, Wrangler will also include a PKCE code_challenge. This code_challenge will be used by the OAuth service provider to verify that Wrangler is the same application when exchanging the authorization grant for an access token. The PKCE challenge is a protection against stolen authorization grants. As the OAuth service provider will reject access token requests if it cannot verify the PKCE code_challenge.

The final way the new OAuth workflow improves security is by making access tokens short-lived. In this sense, if an access token gets stolen, how can we notify the resource server that the access token should not be trusted? Well, we can’t really. So, there are three options: 1) wait until the expiration time; 2) use the refresh token to get a new access token, which invalidates the previous access token; or 3) invalidate both refresh and access tokens. This provides us with three ways to protect resources from bad actors with stolen access tokens.

What’s next

OAuth 2.0 integration is now available in the 1.19.3 version release of Wrangler. Try it out and let us know your experience. If you prefer the API tokens or global API keys, no worries. You can still access them using the wrangler config command.

I would also like to thank the Workers team and other Cloudflare teams for the incredible internship experience. This opportunity gave me a glimpse into what industry software development looks like, and the opportunity to dive deep into a meaningful project. I enjoyed the responsiveness and teamwork during the internship, making this a great summer.

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