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Cloudflare authorization cookie

When you protect a site with Cloudflare Access, Cloudflare checks every HTTP request bound for that site to ensure that the request has a valid CF_Authorization cookie. If a request does not include the cookie, Access will block the request.

​​ Access JWTs

The CF_Authorization cookie contains the user’s identity in the form of a JSON Web Token (JWT). Cloudflare securely creates these tokens through the OAUTH or SAML integration between Cloudflare Access and the configured identity provider.

Two tokens are generated:

  • Global session token: a token generated when a user logs in to Access. This token is stored as a cookie at your team domain (for example, https://<your-team-name> and prevents a user from needing to log in to each application.

  • Application token: a token generated for each application that a user reaches. This token is stored as a cookie on the protected domain (for example, and may be used to validate requests on your origin.

​​ Multi-domain applications

Cloudflare Access allows you to protect and manage multiple domains in a single self-hosted application. After a user has successfully authenticated to one domain, Access will automatically issue a CF_Authorization cookie when they go to another domain in the same Access application. This means that users only need to authenticate once to a multi-domain application.

For Access applications with five or less domains, Access will preemptively set the cookie for all domains through a series of redirects. This allows single-page applications (SPAs) to retrieve data from other subdomains, even if the user has not explicitly visited those subdomains. Note that we cannot set cookies up-front for a wildcarded subdomain, because we do not know which concrete subdomain to redirect to (wildcarded paths are allowed).

If the Access application has more than five domains, Access will not preemptively set any cookies. Cookies are only issued as the user visits each domain. This limitation is to avoid latency issues that could affect the user experience.

Cloudflare Access provides optional security settings that can be added to the browser cookies generated by Access for an authenticated user.

To enable these settings:

  1. In Zero Trust, go to Access > Applications.

  2. Locate the application you would like to configure and select Edit.

  3. Select Settings and scroll down to Cookie settings.

  4. Configure the desired cookie settings.

  5. Select Save application.

​​ SameSite Attribute

The SameSite Attribute selector restricts the cookie to only being sent if the cookie’s defined site matches the site being requested in the browser. This adds protection against cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

The selector options are:

  • None - Cookies will be sent in all contexts, including cross-origin requests.
  • Lax - Cookies are allowed to be sent with top-level navigations and will be sent along with GET requests initiated by third party websites.
  • Strict - Cookies will only be sent in a first-party context and not be sent along with requests initiated by third party websites.

Refer to the Mozilla documentation for more information.

​​ When not to use SameSite

Do not enable SameSite restrictions if you have additional sites or applications that rely on a specific application’s authorization cookie.

​​ HttpOnly

The HttpOnly flag is a cookie attribute that prevents the cookie from being accessed by any client-side scripts, reducing the likelihood of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks. This flag is enabled by default.

​​ When not to use HttpOnly

Do not enable HttpOnly if:

  • You are using the Access application for non-browser based tools (such as SSH or RDP).
  • You have software that relies on being able to access a user’s cookie generated by Access.

The Binding Cookie is an additional cookie created when a user successfully authenticates, shared with Cloudflare to verify identity, and then stripped before it reaches the origin server. The Binding Cookie associates the browser with the Access token; the association protects against compromised authorization tokens because the origin webapp would never see this binding cookie. This protects against session hijack style attacks.

Do not enable Binding Cookie if:

The Cookie Path Attribute adds the application’s path URL to the CF_Authorization cookie. When enabled, a user who logs in to must re-authenticate to access When disabled, the CF_Authorization cookie is only scoped to the domain and subdomain.

​​ Allow third-party cookies in the browser

By default, some browsers block all third-party cookies in private browsing mode, including the CF_Authorization cookie. For XHR requests to work in private windows, you will need to exempt your application and team domain from the browser’s tracking protection system.

To enable third-party cookies for an Access application:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy and security > Cookies and other site data.
  2. Under Sites that can always use cookies, add the following URLs:
    • Hostname of your Access application (for example,
    • https://<your-team-name>
  1. Go to Safari > Settings > Privacy.
  2. Deselect Block all cookies.
  1. Go to Settings > Privacy & Security.
  2. Scroll down to Cookies and Site Data.
  3. Select Manage Exceptions.
  4. Enter the URL of your Access application (for example, and select Allow.
  5. Enter https://<your-team-name> and select Allow.
  6. Select Save Changes.
  1. Go to brave://settings/cookies.
  2. Under Sites that can always use cookies, add the following URLs:
    • Hostname of your Access application (for example,
    • https://<your-team-name>