How does this work?

django-elevate works by setting an additional cookie that must match a secret value in your session. This cookie is ideally set to a shorter TTL than the normal session. When not in Elevate mode, any view that is decorated with @elevate_required will require the user to re-enter their password. Once in Elevate mode, they won’t be prompted to enter their password for the next ELEVATE_COOKIE_AGE seconds.

In practice, we want to serve this Elevate cookie over https only to avoid a man-in-the-middle attack where someone hijacks this cookie. This can be utilized safely in situations where the sessionid cookie is being transmitted over http, but we want to make sure that secure areas of our site are not accessible with just the sessionid.

  • When logging in, django-elevate automatically elevates your permission to Elevate mode.
  • A second cookie is sent to your browser (by default this cookie is named elevate but can be set to anything with ELEVATE_COOKIE_NAME). This cookie contains a randomly generated string of characters.
  • The same randomly generated string of characters is stored in the user’s session.
  • On subsequent requests, the cookie value must match the value that was stored in the session. If the values do not match, or the cookie is not sent at all, the user will be redirected to a page to re-enter their password.
  • If they re-enter their password successfully, a new cookie is set and their permissions are again elevated.


The best way to secure your site and your users is to use https. django-elevate won’t be able to help you if it’s being served over http.