Context plugins allow you to extract any data you want from the request and store it in the context object. Plugins for the most common scenarios have been created, such as extracting Correlation ID.

Using a plugin

There may be a validation error occurring while processing the request in the plugins, which requires sending an error response. Starlette however does not let middleware use the regular error handler (more details on this), so middlewares facing a validation error have to send a response by themselves.

By default, the response sent will be a 400 with no body or extra header, as a Starlette Response(status_code=400). This response can be customized at both middleware and plugin level.

Example usage

from starlette.applications import Starlette
from starlette.middleware import Middleware
from starlette_context import plugins
from starlette_context.middleware import ContextMiddleware

middleware = [

app = Starlette(middleware=middleware)

You can use the middleware without plugin, it will only create the context for the request and not populate it directly.

Built-in plugins

starlette-context includes the following plugins you can import and use as shown above. They are all accessible from the plugins module.

Do note headers are case-insensitive, as per RFC9110.

You can access the header value through the <plugin class>.key attribute, or through the starlette_context.header_keys.HeaderKeys enum.


Class Name

Extracted Header





Correlation ID



UUID Plugin

Date Header



Keeps it in context as a datetime

Forwarded For



Request ID



UUID Plugin

User Agent



UUID Plugins

UUID plugins accept force_new_uuid=True to enforce the creation of a new UUID. Defaults to False.

If the target header has a value, it is validated to be a UUID (although kept as str in the context). The error response if this validation fails can be customized with error_response=<Response object>. If no error response was specified, the middleware’s default response will be used. This validation can be turned off altogether with validate = False.

Implementing your own

You can implement your plugin with variying degree of ease and flexibility.

Easy mode

You want a Plugin to extract a header that is not already available in the built-in ones. There are indeed many, and your app may even want to use a custom header.

You just need to define the header key that you’re looking for.

from starlette_context.plugins import Plugin

class AcceptLanguagePlugin(Plugin):
    key = "Accept-Language"

That’s it! Just load it in your Middleware’s plugins, and the value of the Accept-Language header will be put in the context, which you can later get with context.get(AcceptLanguagePlugin.key) or context.get("Accept-Language") Hopefully you can use it to try and serve locally appropriate content.

You can notice the key attributes is both used to define the header you want to extract data from, and the key with which it is inserted in the context.


What if you don’t want to put the header’s value as a plain str, or don’t even want to take data from the header?

You need to override the process_request method. This gives you full access to the request, freedom to perform any processing in-between, and to return any value type. Whatever is returned will be put in the context, again with the plugin’s defined key.

Any Exception raised from a middleware in Starlette would normally become a hard 500 response. However you probably might find cases where you want to send a validation error instead. For those cases, starlette_context provides a MiddleWareValidationError exception you can raise, and include a Starlette Response object. The middleware class will take care of sending it. You can also raise a MiddleWareValidationError without attaching a response, the middleware’s default response will then be used.

You can also do more than extracting from requests, plugins also have a hook to modify the response before it’s sent: enrich_response. It can access the Response object, and of course, the context, fully populated by that point.

Here an example of a plugin that extracts a Session from the request cookies, expects it to be encoded in base64, attempts to decode it before returning it to the context. It generates an error response if it cannot be decoded. On the way out, it retrieves the value it put in the context, and sets a new cookie.

import base64
import logging
from typing import Any, Optional, Union

from starlette.responses import Response
from starlette.requests import HTTPConnection, Request
from starlette.types import Message

from starlette_context.plugins import Plugin
from starlette_context.errors import MiddleWareValidationError
from starlette_context import context

class MySessionPlugin(Plugin):
    # The returned value will be inserted in the context with this key
    key = "session_cookie"

    async def process_request(
        self, request: Union[Request, HTTPConnection]
    ) -> Optional[Any]:
        # access any part of the request
        raw_cookie = request.cookies.get("Session")
        if not raw_cookie:
            # it will be inserted as None in the context.
            return None

            decoded_cookie = base64.b64decode(bytes(raw_cookie, encoding="utf-8"))
        except Exception as e:
            logging.error("Raw cookie couldn't be decoded", exc_info=e)
            # create a response to signal the user of the invalid cookie.
            response = Response(
                content=f"Invalid cookie: {raw_cookie}", status_code=400
            # pass the response object in the exception so the middleware can abort processing and send it.
            raise MiddleWareValidationError("Cookie problem", error_response=response)
        return decoded_cookie

    async def enrich_response(self, response: Union[Response, Message]) -> None:
        # can access the populated context here.
        previous_cookie = context.get("session_cookie")
        response.set_cookie("PreviousSession", previous_cookie)
        response.set_cookie("Session", "SGVsbG8gV29ybGQ=")
        # mutate the response in-place, return nothing.

Do note, the type of request and response argument received depends on the middlewares class used. The example shown here is valid for use with the ContextMiddleware, receiving built Starlette Request and Response objects. In a RawContextMiddleware, the hooks will receive HTTPConnection and Message objects passed as argument.