Troubleshooting Guide: Resolving Active Access Token Issues for Accurate User Information Queries

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of troubleshooting active access token issues when querying user information. Access tokens are an essential part of authenticating and authorizing users in a web application. However, developers may encounter issues when trying to retrieve accurate user information using these tokens.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should be able to resolve any issues related to active access tokens and ensure accurate user information queries.

Table of Contents

Understanding Access Tokens

Access tokens are a key component in OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect authentication and authorization schemes. They allow a client application to access protected resources on behalf of a user. To learn more about access tokens and how they work, check out the OAuth 2.0 documentation.

Step 1: Verify the Access Token

Before retrieving user information, it's essential to ensure that the access token is valid. To do this, you can use the token introspection endpoint provided by your OAuth 2.0 server. This endpoint allows you to verify whether a given token is active, expired, or revoked.

POST /introspect
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Authorization: Basic {client_credentials}


If the access token is valid, the server will return a JSON object containing information about the token.

  "active": true,
  "exp": 1626480000,
  "scope": "read:profile",

Step 2: Check Token Expiration

Access tokens have an expiration time, after which they are no longer valid. To check the token's expiration, look for the exp claim in the token introspection response. Then, compare the expiration time with the current time to determine if the token has expired.

const tokenExpiration = new Date(tokenInfo.exp * 1000);
const currentTime = new Date();

if (currentTime > tokenExpiration) {
  // The token has expired.

Step 3: Refresh the Access Token

If the access token has expired, you may need to refresh it to continue querying user information. To do this, use the refresh token that was issued when the access token was granted.

POST /token
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Authorization: Basic {client_credentials}


The server will respond with a new access token and refresh token, which you can use to replace the expired token.

Step 4: Handle Invalid or Expired Tokens

If your token is invalid or expired, you should handle this gracefully in your application. This may involve redirecting the user to the login page, displaying an error message, or silently refreshing the token using a silent authentication flow.

Step 5: Debugging and Error Logging

If you're still experiencing issues with access tokens, it's crucial to have proper debugging and error logging in place. This can help you identify issues with token validation, token expiration, or other errors that may be causing problems in your application.


Q1: What is the difference between an access token and a refresh token?

Access tokens are short-lived tokens used to access protected resources on behalf of a user, while refresh tokens are long-lived tokens used to obtain new access tokens when the current one expires.

Q2: Can I use the same access token for multiple resources?

Yes, you can use the same access token for multiple resources as long as they share the same scope.

Q3: How can I revoke an access token?

To revoke an access token, you can use the token revocation endpoint provided by your OAuth 2.0 server. This will invalidate the token and prevent it from being used to access protected resources.

Q4: Can I extend the expiration time of an access token?

No, you cannot extend the expiration time of an access token. Once it has expired, you must obtain a new access token using a refresh token.

Q5: Should I store access tokens in a database?

It is not recommended to store access tokens in a database. Instead, access tokens should be stored securely on the client-side and passed to the server when needed.

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