OAuth 2.0 Flow: Client-side web apps

This OAuth 2.0 flow is designed to enable JavaScript-based web applications to send authorized Google API requests. These applications cannot maintain state over time, meaning that the application accesses the YouTube Data API while the user is present at the application. This flow assumes that the application cannot store confidential information.

Important: You need to obtain authorization credentials in the Google Developers Console to be able to use OAuth 2.0 authorization.

This document contains the following sections:

Obtaining OAuth 2.0 access tokens

This flow has the following steps:

  1. Request an access token

    Note: Requests to Google's authorization server must use https instead of http because the server is only accessible over SSL (HTTPs) and refuses HTTP connections.

    When a user first tries to perform an action that requires API authentication, you need to direct the user to Google's authorization server at https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/auth. The table below identifies the request parameters that you need to (or can) include in the URL. Note that the request URI that you construct must contain properly URL-escaped parameter values.

    Parameters
    client_id Required. The OAuth 2.0 client ID for your application. You can find this value in the Developers Console.
    redirect_uri Required. A registered redirect_uri for your client ID. Register valid redirect URIs for your application in the Developers Console.
    response_type Required. Determines whether the Google OAuth 2.0 endpoint returns an authorization code. JavaScript applications need to set the parameter's value to token. This instructs the Google Authorization Server to return the access token as a name=value pair in the hash (#) fragment of the redirect URI that the server returns.
    scope Required. A space-delimited list of scopes that identify the resources that your application could access on the user's behalf. These values determine which permissions are listed on the consent page that Google displays to the user.

    The YouTube Data API supports the following scopes:

    Scopes
    https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube.force-ssl Manage your YouTube account. This scope requires communication with the API server to happen over an SSL connection.
    https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube Manage your YouTube account. This scope is functionally identical to the youtube.force-ssl scope listed above because the YouTube API server is only available via an HTTPS endpoint. As a result, even though this scope does not require an SSL connection, there is actually no other way to make an API request.
    https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube.readonly View your YouTube account.
    https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube.upload Upload YouTube videos and manage your YouTube videos.
    https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtubepartner-channel-audit Retrieve the auditDetails part in a channel resource.
    approval_prompt Optional. This parameter indicates whether the user should be prompted to grant account access to your application each time she tries to complete a particular action. The default value is auto, which indicates that a user would only need to grant access the first time she tried to access a protected resource.

    Set the parameter value to force to direct the user to a consent page even if she has already granted access to your application for a particular set of scopes.
    state Optional. A string that your application uses to maintain state between the request and redirect response. The exact value that you send is returned as a name=value pair in the hash (#) fragment of the redirect_uri after the user consents to or denies your application's access request. You could use this parameter for several purposes, such as directing the user to the correct resource in your application, sending nonces, and mitigating cross-site request forgery.
    login_hint Optional. If your application knows which user is trying to authenticate, it can use this parameter to provide a hint to Google's Authentication Server. The server uses the hint to simplify the login flow by either prefilling the email field in the sign-in form or selecting the appropriate multi-login session.

    The sample URL below shows a Google's authorization server URI that requests permission for an application to submit YouTube Data API requests on the user's behalf. Note that parameter values must be properly URL-escaped.

    https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/auth?
    client_id=1084945748469-eg34imk572gdhu83gj5p0an9fut6urp5.apps.googleusercontent.com&
    redirect_uri=http%3A%2F%2Flocalhost%2Foauth2callback&
    scope=https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube&
    response_type=token
  2. Handle response from Google

    After the user consents or refuses to grant access to your application, Google redirects the user to the redirect_uri that you specified in step 1.

    • If the user granted access to your application, Google appends a short-lived access token in the hash fragment of the redirect URI as shown in the sample URI below. The response also includes the expires_in and token_type parameters. These parameters describe the lifetime of the token in seconds and the kind of token that is being returned, respectively. Finally, the response includes the state parameter if a state parameter was included in the original request to the authorization server.

      http://localhost/oauth2callback#access_token=1/QbIbRMWW&token_type=Bearer&expires_in=3600

      Note: Your application should also allow other parameters to be included in the response's hash fragment. The paragraph above describes the minimum set of name-value pairs returned in the redirect_uri.

      JavaScript code running on your page can capture the access token from the window.location.hash value and either store the token in a cookie or POST it to a server.

    • If the user refused to grant access to your application, Google includes the access_denied error message in the hash fragment of the redirect_uri:

      http://localhost/oauth2callback#error=access_denied
  3. Validate the user's token

    Assuming the user has granted access to your application, you need to explicitly validate the token returned in the redirect_uri. By validating, or verifying, the token, you ensure that your application is not vulnerable to the confused deputy problem.

    To validate the token, send a request to https://www.googleapis.com/oauth2/v1/tokeninfo and set the token as the access_token parameter's value. That URL accepts and returns information about the token, including the application that the token was issued to, the user associated with the token, the scopes that the user granted access to, and the time before the token expires.

    The sample URL below demonstrates where you would send a token validation request:

    https://www.googleapis.com/oauth2/v1/tokeninfo?access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN
  4. Process the token validation response

    In response to a token validation request, the Google authorization server returns a JSON object that either describes the token or contains an error message.

    • If the token is valid, the JSON object includes the following properties:

      Fields
      audience The application that is the intended user of the access token.

      Important: Before using the token, you need to verify that this field's value exactly matches your Client ID in the Google Developers Console. This verification ensures that your application is not vulnerable to the confused deputy problem.
      expires_in The number of seconds left before the token becomes invalid.
      scope A space-delimited list of scopes that the user granted access to. The list should match the scopes specified in your authorization request in step 1.
      userid This value lets you correlate profile information from multiple Google APIs. It is only present in the response if you included the https://www.googleapis.com/auth/userinfo.profile scope in your request in step 1. The field value is an immutable identifier for the logged-in user that can be used to create and manage user sessions in your application.

      A sample response is shown below:

      {
        "audience":"8819981768.apps.googleusercontent.com",
        "user_id":"123456789",
        "scope":"https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube",
        "expires_in":436
      }
      
    • If the token has expired, been tampered with, or had its permissions revoked, Google's authorization server returns an error message in the JSON object. The error surfaces as a 400 error and a JSON body in the format shown below.

      {"error":"invalid_token"}

      By design, no additional information is given as to the reason for the failure.

      Note: In practice, a 400 error typically indicates that the access token request URL was malformed, often due to improper URL escaping.

Calling the YouTube Data API

After obtaining an access token for a user, your application can use that token to submit authorized API requests on that user's behalf. The API supports two ways to specify an access token:

  1. Specify the access token as the value of the Authorization: Bearer HTTP request header. This is the recommended approach.

    GET /youtube/v3/channels?part=id&mine=true HTTP/1.1
    Host: www.googleapis.com
    Authorization: Bearer ACCESS_TOKEN
    ...
    

    You can test this using cURL with the following command:

    curl -H "Authorization: Bearer ACCESS_TOKEN" https://www.googleapis.com/youtube/v3/channels?part=id&mine=true
    
  2. Specify the access token as the value of the access_token query parameter:

    https://www.googleapis.com/youtube/v3/channels?part=id&mine=true&access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN

    You can test this using cURL with the following command:

    curl https://www.googleapis.com/youtube/v3/channels?part=id&mine=true&access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN
    

The API returns an HTTP 401 response code (Unauthorized) if you submit a request to access a protected resource with an access token that is expired, bogus, improperly scoped, or invalid for some other reason.

If the API returns an HTTP 403 response code, then your application may not be registered. Many APIs set a query-volume limit of 0 for unregistered applications and return a 403 response code when the query-volume limit is exceeded.

The following section explains how to refresh an access token.

Refreshing an access token

Access tokens periodically expire and, when that happens, need to be refreshed. When an access token expires or at any other time, your application may be able to use a refresh token to obtain a new, valid access token. Server-side web applications, installed applications, and devices all obtain refresh tokens during the authorization process.

To refresh an access token, your application sends a POST request to Google's authorization server that specifies your client ID, your client secret, and the refresh token for the user. The request also sets the grant_type parameter value to refresh_token. The following example demonstrates this request:

POST /o/oauth2/token HTTP/1.1
Host: accounts.google.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

client_id=21302922996.apps.googleusercontent.com&
client_secret=XTHhXh1SlUNgvyWGwDk1EjXB&
refresh_token=1/6BMfW9j53gdGImsixUH6kU5RsR4zwI9lUVX-tqf8JXQ&
grant_type=refresh_token

The authorization server returns a JSON object that contains a new access token:

{
  "access_token":"1/fFAGRNJru1FTz70BzhT3Zg",
  "expires_in":3920,
  "token_type":"Bearer"
}

Note that there are limits on the number of refresh tokens that will be issued; one limit per client/user combination, and another per user across all clients. You should save refresh tokens in long-term storage and continue to use them as long as they remain valid. If your application requests too many refresh tokens, it may run into these limits, in which case older refresh tokens will stop working.

Revoking a Token

There are two ways to revoke an access token:

  • A user can revoke access given to an application by visiting the following URL and explicitly revoking access:

    https://accounts.google.com/b/0/IssuedAuthSubTokens

    The following steps explain how to reach this page:

    1. Click on the user's picture in the Google sandbar and then click the Account link or navigate in some other way to the Account Overview page for the user's Google Account.
    2. Follow the link to the Security settings page.
    3. Click the button to manage access to connected applications and websites that can access and use details from the user's Google Account.

  • An application can programmatically revoke its own access. This type of revocation is important in instances where a user unsubscribes or removes an application, in which an API request to remove the permissions granted to the application should be a part of the removal process.

    To programmatically revoke a token, your application sends a request to https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/revoke and includes the token as a parameter:

    curl https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/revoke?token={token}

    The specified token can be an access token or a refresh token. If the token is an access token and it has a corresponding refresh token, the refresh token is also revoked.

    If the revocation succeeds, the response's status code is 200. If an error occurs, the response's status code is 400 and the response also contains an error code.

Client libraries

Sign-in with Google

Note: If you are planning to provide a sign-in with Google feature, we recommend using Google+ Sign-in, which provides the OAuth 2.0 authentication mechanism along with additional access to social features of Google+.

You can use the client libraries listed below to implement OAuth 2.0 in your application. We recommend using a client library rather than writing your own code. Using these standard client libraries is important for the safety and security of your users and your application.

You can also follow the instructions in the Calling the YouTube Data API section to modify your code to properly set the OAuth 2.0 token values.