Preview Spring Security WebSocket Support & Sessions

Engineering | Rob Winch | September 16, 2014 | ...


In my previous post, I discussed Spring Security WebSocket integration. One of the problems is that in a servlet container, the WebSocket requests do not keep the HttpSession alive.

Consider an email application that does much of its work through HTTP requests. However, there is also a chat application embedded within it that works over WebSocket APIs. If a user is actively chatting with someone, we should not timeout the HttpSession since this would be pretty poor user experience. However, this is exactly what JSR-356 does.

Another issue is that according to JSR-356 if the HttpSession times out any WebSocket that was created with that HttpSession and an authenticated user should be forcibly closed. This means that if we are actively chatting in our application and are not using the HttpSession, then we will also disconnect from our conversation!

Spring Session

The Spring Security team initially set out to solve these problems in Spring Security 4.0.0.M2. However, we realized that this was a much broader problem and so Spring Session was born.

Spring Session HTTP Integration

The first step is to configure Spring Session in our web application. This means that our HttpSession is now backed by Spring Session and not our container.

In the example below, we add Spring Session to our Spring Security's HttpSecurity instance. Alternatively, we could have added the SessionRepositoryFilter directly to our Servlet Container's filter mappings before springSecurityFilterChain. You can find much more detailed steps in the Spring Session reference.

protected void configure(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
        .addFilterBefore(new SessionRepositoryFilter(sessionRepository), ChannelProcessingFilter.class)

Spring Session WebSocket integration

Spring Session does not yet have support for WebSocket integration, but it is planned in the next release. However, we can easily implement it ourselves.

The first step is to ensure we have access to the session id in our WebSocket Session. We can do this by creating a HandshakeInterceptor

public class HttpSessionIdHandshakeInterceptor implements HandshakeInterceptor {

        public boolean beforeHandshake(ServerHttpRequest request, 
                ServerHttpResponse response, 
                WebSocketHandler wsHandler, 
                Map<String, Object> attributes) 
                  throws Exception {
            if (request instanceof ServletServerHttpRequest) {
                ServletServerHttpRequest servletRequest = (ServletServerHttpRequest) request;
                HttpSession session = servletRequest.getServletRequest().getSession(false);
                if (session != null) {
                    attributes.put(SESSION_ATTR, session.getId());
            return true;

        public void afterHandshake(ServerHttpRequest request, ServerHttpResponse response,
                                   WebSocketHandler wsHandler, Exception ex) {

We can then add the HandshakeInterceptor to our endpoint. For example:

public class WebSocketConfig extends 
          AbstractWebSocketMessageBrokerConfigurer {

    public void registerStompEndpoints(StompEndpointRegistry registry) {
                .setInterceptors(new HttpSessionIdHandshakeInterceptor());



Next we can create a ChannelInterceptorAdapter that uses the session id to update the last accessed time using Spring Session. For example:

public ChannelInterceptorAdapter sessionContextChannelInterceptorAdapter() {
    return new ChannelInterceptorAdapter() {
        public Message<?> preSend(Message<?> message, MessageChannel channel) {
            Map<String, Object> sessionHeaders = SimpMessageHeaderAccessor.getSessionAttributes(message.getHeaders());
            String sessionId = (String) sessionHeaders.get(SESSION_ATTR);
            if (sessionId != null) {
                Session session = sessionRepository.getSession(sessionId);
                if (session != null) {

            return super.preSend(message, channel);

Last we need to configure the incoming messages to use the ChannelInterceptorAdapter so that each time a message is received, we update the last accessed time of the HttpSession. For example:

public class WebSocketConfig extends 
          AbstractWebSocketMessageBrokerConfigurer {

    public void configureClientInboundChannel(ChannelRegistration registration) {

Sample Application

You can find a complete example, of authorization and session management in the security branch of rwinch/spring-websocket-portfolio.

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