Account lookup using Resolver

The resolver configuration option is used in conjunction with NATS JWT Authentication and nsc. The resolver option specifies a URL where the nats-server can retrieve an account JWT. There are three built-in resolver implementations:

If the operator JWT specified in operator contains an account resolver URL, resolver only needs to be specified in order to overwrite that default.

URL Resolver

The URL resolver specifies a URL where the server can append an account public key to retrieve that account's JWT. Convention for NATS Account JWT Servers is to serve JWTs at: http://localhost:9090/jwt/v1/accounts/. For such a configuration you would specify the resolver as follows:

resolver: URL(http://localhost:9090/jwt/v1/accounts/)

Note that if you are not using a nats-account-server, the URL can be anything as long as by appending the public key for an account, the requested JWT is returned.

If the server used requires client authentication, or you want to specify which CA is trusted for the lookup of account information, specify resolver_tls. This tls configuration map lets you further restrict TLS to the resolver.


The MEMORY resolver is statically configured in the server's configuration file. The memory resolver makes use of the resolver_preload directive, which specifies a map of a public key to an account JWT:

resolver: MEMORY
resolver_preload: {

The MEMORY resolver is recommended when the server has a small number of accounts that don't change very often.

For more information on how to configure a memory resolver, see this tutorial.

NATS Based Resolver

The NATS based resolver embeds the functionality of the account server inside the nats-server. In order to avoid having to store all account JWT on every server, this resolver has two sub types full and cache. Their commonalities are that they exchange/lookup account JWT via NATS and the system account, and store them in a local (not shared) directory.


The Full resolver stores all JWTs and exchanges them in an eventually consistent way with other resolvers of the same type. nsc supports push/pull/purge with this resolver type. JWTs, uploaded this way, are stored in a directory the server has exclusive access to.

resolver: {
type: full
# Directory in which account jwt will be stored
dir: './jwt'
# In order to support jwt deletion, set to true
# If the resolver type is full delete will rename the jwt.
# This is to allow manual restoration in case of inadvertent deletion.
# To restore a jwt, remove the added suffix .delete and restart or send a reload signal.
# To free up storage you must manually delete files with the suffix .delete.
allow_delete: false
# Interval at which a nats-server with a nats based account resolver will compare
# it's state with one random nats based account resolver in the cluster and if needed,
# exchange jwt and converge on the same set of jwt.
interval: "2m"
# limit on the number of jwt stored, will reject new jwt once limit is hit.
limit: 1000

This resolver type also supports resolver_preload. When present, JWTs are listed and stored in the resolver. There, they may be subject to updates. Restarts of the nats-server will hold on to these more recent versions.

Not every server in a cluster needs to be set to full. You need enough to still serve your workload adequately, while some servers are offline.


The Cache resolver only stores a subset of JWT and evicts others based on an LRU scheme. Missing JWTs are downloaded from full nats based resolver. This resolver is essentially the URL Resolver in NATS.

resolver: {
type: cache
# Directory in which account jwt will be store
dir: "./"
# limit on the number of jwt stored, will evict old jwt once limit is hit.
limit: 1000
# How long to hold on to a jwt before discarding it.
ttl: "2m"

NATS Based Resolver - Integration

The NATS based resolver utilizes the system account for lookup and upload of account JWTs . If your application requires tighter integration you can make use of these subjects for tighter integration.

To upload or update any generated account JWT without nsc, send it as a request to $SYS.REQ.CLAIMS.UPDATE. Each participating full NATS based account resolver will respond with a message detailing success or failure.

To serve a requested account JWT yourself and essentially implement an account server, subscribe to $SYS.REQ.ACCOUNT.*.CLAIMS.LOOKUP and respond with the account JWT corresponding to the requested account id (wildcard).