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Node.js express.js MongoDB JWT REST API - Basic Project Skeleton

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Getting started

This is a basic API REST skeleton written on JavaScript using async/await. Great for building a starter web API for your front-end (Android, iOS, Vue, react, angular, or anything that can consume an API)

This project is created to help other developers create a basic REST API in an easy way with Node.js. This basic example shows how powerful and simple JavaScript can be. Do you want to contribute? Pull requests are always welcome to show more features.

Buy me a coffee

Hi! I'm Daniel Avellaneda, I'm an open source enthusiast and devote my free time to building projects in this field.

I'm the creator and maintainer of node-express-mongodb-jwt-rest-api-skeleton and vue-skeleton-mvp

These projects are a "starter web app kit" for any developer who wants to build their own app without starting from scratch: API + Frontend

Both projects have been downloaded thousands of times by web developers around the world.

I'm doing my best to provide you a good experience when using my apps, so if you like what I'm doing and wish to say "thanks!", please buy me a coffee ☕️

Buy Me A Coffee

Feel free to send me a tweet, share this with others or make a pull request


  • Multiple environment ready (development, production)
  • Custom email/password user system with basic security and blocking for preventing brute force attacks.
  • Compressed responses.
  • Secured HTTP headers.
  • CORS ready.
  • Cache ready (Redis).
  • HTTP request logger in development mode.
  • i18n ready (for sending emails in multiple languages).
  • User roles.
  • Pagination ready.
  • User profile.
  • Users list for admin area.
  • Cities model and controller example.
  • Login access log with IP, browser and country location (for country it looks for the header cf-ipcountry that CloudFlare creates when protecting your website).
  • API autogenerated documentation by Postman.
  • API collection example for Postman.
  • Testing with mocha/chai for API endpoints.
  • NPM scripts for cleaning and seeding the MongoDB database.
  • NPM script for keeping good source code formatting using prettier and ESLint.
  • Use of ESLint for good coding practices.
  • Mailer example with Nodemailer and Mailgun.
  • Ability to refresh token
  • JWT Tokens, make requests with a token after login with Authorization header with value Bearer yourToken where yourToken is the signed and encrypted token given in the response from the login process.


  • Node.js 10+
  • MongoDB 3.6+
  • Redis 5.0+


A demo of this API is located at:

Login credentials

email: [email protected]
password: 12345

IMPORTANT: Database resets every 30 mins like "12:00am, 12:30am, 1:00am" and so on. So anything you do with the API will be lost after a short time.

API documentation
Postman API example collection
If you want to test it don´t forget to change the server variable to:

Demo is also linked to a VueJS project that shows how this API can be integrated to a frontend that is able to consume an API.
Repo is here:
Running demo is here:

How to install

Using Git (recommended)

  1. Clone the project from github. Change "myproject" to your project name.
git clone ./myproject

Using manual download ZIP

  1. Download repository
  2. Uncompress to your desired directory

Install npm dependencies after installing (Git or manual download)

cd myproject
npm install
npm update

Setting up environments (development or production)

  1. In the root this repository you will find a file named .env.example
  2. Create a new file by copying and pasting the file and then renaming it to just .env
  3. The file .env is already ignored, so you never commit your credentials.
  4. Change the values of the file to your environment (development or production)
  5. Upload the .env to your environment server(development or production)
  6. If you use the postman collection to try the endpoints, change value of the variable server on your environment to the url of your server, for development mode use http://localhost:3000

IMPORTANT: By default token expires in 3 days (4320 minutes set in .env.example). You can refresh token at endpoint GET /token. If everything it´s ok you will get a new token.


To ensure the deliverability of emails sent by this API, Mailgun is used for mailing users when they sign up, so if you want to use that feature go sign up at their website

If you want to try a different method it´s ok, I used for this API and they have different transport methods like: smtp.


Language is automatically detected from Accept-Language header on the request. So either you send locale manually on the request or your browser will send its default, if Accept-Language header is not sent then it will use en locale as default.

How to run

Database cleaning and seeding samples

There are 3 available commands for this: fresh, clean and seed.

npm run command
  • fresh cleans and then seeds the database with dynamic data.
  • clean cleans the database.
  • seed seeds the database with dynamic data.

Running in development mode (lifting API server)

npm run dev

You will know server is running by checking the output of the command npm run dev

*    Starting Server
*    Port: 3000
*    NODE_ENV: development
*    Database: MongoDB
*    DB Connection: OK

Running tests

It´s a good practice to do tests at your code, so a sample of how to do that in mocha/chai is also included in the /test directory

npm run test

Formatting code

Format your code with prettier by typing:

npm run format

Formatting markdown files

Format all your markdown files with remark by typing:

npm run remark

Linting code

Lint your code with ESLint by typing:

npm run lint


Once everything is set up to test API routes either use Postman or any other api testing application. Default username/password combination for login is [email protected]/12345.

API documentation

Postman API example collection

You can import the example collection to Postman. To import, click the import button located and select postman-example.json located within the root directory.

Go to manage environments to create environments for development, production, etc. On each of the environments you create you will need to:

  1. Create a new key authToken and within the /login request this value is automatically updated after a successfull login through a script located in the tests tab. Each time you make a request to the API it will send Authorization header with the token value in the request, you can check this on the headers of users or cities endpoints in the Postman example.

  2. Create a second key server with the url of your server, for development mode use http://localhost:3000

This is a REST API, so it works using the following HTTP methods:

  • GET (Read): Gets a list of items, or a single item
  • POST (Create): Creates an item
  • PATCH (Update): Updates an item
  • DELETE: Deletes an item

Creating new models

If you need to add more models to the project just create a new file in /app/models/ and it will be loaded dynamically.

Creating new routes

If you need to add more routes to the project just create a new file in /app/routes/ and it will be loaded dynamically.

Creating new controllers

When you create a new controller, try to also create another folder with validations and helpers. Ex. /countries, /countries/validators and /countries/helpers. An example of this is included in the repository.

Bugs or improvements

Feel free to report any bugs or improvements. Pull requests are always welcome.


This project is open-sourced software licensed under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for more information.

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