Secure Cookies not working, despite successful HTTPS connection

Posted May 14, 2021 3.5k views
NginxNode.jsDockerLet's Encrypt

Hi :)

I am trying to debug my express server. I have a reverse proxy set up with NGINX and Let’s Encrypt. I am able to successfully connect using HTTPS. I get the green lock and it says ‘Connection secure’.

I am using session-based auth with express-sessions. My cookies work perfectly when the secure flag is not set. The moment I set secure to true my cookies gets rejected. Not sure why this is, I have trust-proxy set up and my connection is secure. Any ideas?

Here is a sample of the logs I am getting:
“Some cookies are misusing the recommended “SameSite“ attribute”
“Cookie “sid” has been rejected because it is already expired.”

And here is my cookie setup:

if (process.env.NODE_ENV === "production") {
  app.set('trust proxy', 1)

    name: "sid",
    resave: false,
    saveUninitialized: false,
    secret: process.env.SESSION_SECRET,
    cookie: {
      domain: process.env.BASE_URL,
      path: "/",
      sameSite: "strict",
      secure: process.env.NODE_ENV === "production" ? true : false,
      maxAge: 1000 * 60 * 60 * 2, // 2 hours
    store: MongoStore.create({
      client: db.getClient(),
      ttl: 60 * 60 * 2, // 2 hours, in seconds
      touchAfter: 24 * 3600, // time period in seconds
      crypto: {
        secret: process.env.STORE_SECRET,

Like I mentioned, no logs or errors once I take out secure (i.e. if I don’t see my NODE_ENV to “production”)

Thank you in advance.

edited by bobbyiliev
  • I realized that the logs are the result of my middleware rejecting the cookies and clearing them. The issue appears to be express-sessions not setting the req.session or the session cookie (named sid). I have another cookie set with express’ native res.cookie method and it works just fine, even though it also has secure: true and the same domain, path, etc. as my express-sessions cookie. Is there some additional configuration I am missing with setting secure to true with express sessions?

  • Here are my logs from express-sessions:
    app1 | Fri, 14 May 2021 20:30:29 GMT express-session no SID sent, generating session
    1 | Fri, 14 May 2021 20:30:29 GMT express-session saving orpPtmM2ASOpDt3Cf7nuNdLowtwAUNib
    app1 | Fri, 14 May 2021 20:30:29 GMT express-session split response
    1 | Fri, 14 May 2021 20:30:29 GMT express-session not secured
    app_1 | Fri, 14 May 2021 20:30:29 GMT express-session no SID sent, generating session

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1 answer

Hi there,

Could you also share the Nginx server block that you are using here?

I could suggest adding the following to your reverse proxy configuration:

proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;