Sessions in GOLang

This example will show how to store data in session cookies using the popular gorilla/sessions package in Go.

Cookies are small pieces of data stored in the browser of a user and are sent to our server on each request. In them, we can store e.g. whether or not a user is logged in into our website and figure out who he actually is (in our system).

In this example we will only allow authenticated users to view our secret message on the /secret page. To get access to it, the will first have to visit /login to get a valid session cookie, which logs him in. Additionally he can visit /logout to revoke his access to our secret message.

// sessions.go
package main

import (


var (
    // key must be 16, 24 or 32 bytes long (AES-128, AES-192 or AES-256)
    key = []byte("super-secret-key")
    store = sessions.NewCookieStore(key)

func secret(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    session, _ := store.Get(r, "cookie-name")

    // Check if user is authenticated
    if auth, ok := session.Values["authenticated"].(bool); !ok || !auth {
        http.Error(w, "Forbidden", http.StatusForbidden)

    // Print secret message
    fmt.Fprintln(w, "The cake is a lie!")

func login(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    session, _ := store.Get(r, "cookie-name")

    // Authentication goes here
    // ...

    // Set user as authenticated
    session.Values["authenticated"] = true
    session.Save(r, w)

func logout(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    session, _ := store.Get(r, "cookie-name")

    // Revoke users authentication
    session.Values["authenticated"] = false
    session.Save(r, w)

func main() {
    http.HandleFunc("/secret", secret)
    http.HandleFunc("/login", login)
    http.HandleFunc("/logout", logout)

    http.ListenAndServe(":8080", nil)

Run and test this example.

$ go run sessions.go

$ curl -s http://localhost:8080/secret

$ curl -s -I http://localhost:8080/login
Set-Cookie: cookie-name=MTQ4NzE5Mz...

$ curl -s --cookie "cookie-name=MTQ4NzE5Mz..." http://localhost:8080/secret
The cake is a lie!