Getting Started

Django REST Framework Simple API Key is fast and secure API Key authentication plugin for REST API built with Django Rest Framework.


Django REST Simple Api Key is a package built upon Django, Django REST Framework, and the fernet cryptography module to generate, encrypt, and decrypt API keys. It provides fast, secure and customizable API Key authentication.


Why should you use this package for your API Key authentication?

  • ️Fast: We use the fernet cryptography module to generate, encrypt, and decrypt API keys. Besides the security facade, it is blazing fast allowing you to treat requests quickly and easily.

  • 🔐 Secure: Fernet guarantees that a message encrypted using it cannot be manipulated or read without the key, which we call FERNET_KEY. As long as you treat the fernet key at the same level you treat the Django SECRET_KEY setting, you are good to go.

  • 🔧 Customizable: The models, authentication backend, and permissions classes can be rewritten and fit your needs. We do our best to extend Django classes and methods, so you can easily extend our classes and methods.😉 Your Api Key authentication settings are kept in a single configuration dictionary named DRF_API_KEY in the file of your Django project. It can be customized to fit your project needs.


1 - Install with pip:

pip install drf-simple-apikey

2 - Register the app in the INSTALLED_APPS in the file:


  # ...

3- Add the FERNET_KEY setting in your DRF_API_KEY configuration dictionary. You can easily generate a fernet key using the python generate_fernet_key command. Keep in mind that the fernet key plays a huge role in the api key authentication system.

    "FERNET_SECRET": "sVjomf7FFy351xRxDeJWFJAZaE2tG3MTuUv92TLFfOA="

4 - Run migrations:

python migrate

In your view then, you can add the authentication class and the permission class.

⚠️ Important Note: By default, the Django User class (django.contrib.auth.User) is used for authentication.

from rest_framework import viewsets

from drf-simple-apikey.backends import APIKeyAuthentication
from rest_framework.response import Response

class FruitViewSets(viewsets.ViewSet):
    http_method_names = ["get"]
    authentication_classes = (APIKeyAuthentication, )

    def list(self, request):
        return Response([{"detail": True}], 200 )

Generate a Fernet Key

We’ve made it easier for you by creating a custom Django command to quickly generate a fernet key, which is a crucial component in the authentication system. Make sure to keep the key secure and store it somewhere safely (ie: environment variable).

Important ⛔️ : You should treat the FERNET_KEY security at the same level as the Django SECRET_KEY. 🫡

To generate the fernet key use the following command:

python generate_fernet_key