This document hopefully helps troubleshoot authentication troubles. If anything is not covered, please raise an issue on GitHub.

Helpful Resources

Setting your own client ID

Donal Phipps has a helpful video on how to set up your own Google Project client ID and secret via this link - its for googleAnalyticsR but applies for all googleAuthR packages.

Understanding authentication

Generally, successful authentication needs the following in place:

  • A client ID and secret
  • API scopes
  • Permission from a user

A lot of the time the first two are set by the package and the end user does not need to worry about them. They are set via these options:

  • A client ID and secret - option("googleAuthR.client_id") and option("googleAuthR.client_secret")
  • API scopes - option("googleAuthR.scopes.selected")
  • Permission from a user - Done via the OAuth2 login screen on call to googleAuthR::gar_auth()

Once authentication has been done, then the authentication details are kept in a cache file, which by default is called .httr-oauth and appears in your working directory.

This file location is set via option("googleAuthR.httr_oauth_cache"), or when you pass a filename to gar_auth(token = "filename") it will set it to the filename you pass in.

At the same time a token is written to the R session into a global object, for use in the functions. On any restart of the R session, or if the token expires (default 60 mins) the cache file is looked for to reload it into the R session.

gar_auth() options

Several libraries wrap googleAuthR::gar_auth() with presets, so you don’t call them directly e.g. ga_auth() in googleAnalyticsR. Use googleAuthR::gar_auth() instead of native authentication function if you want more control.

If you call googleAuthR::gar_auth() then it will look for a cache token given by option("googleAuthR.httr_oauth_cache") or the filename you pass in - if not present it will trigger the OAuth2 flow.

If you call googleAuthR::gar_auth("token_name") then it will look for a cache token given by "token_name" and set the option("googleAuthR.httr_oauth_cache") to "token_name". This means refreshes etc. will be to that token cache file. It will also set the client ID, client secret and scopes to that specified in the file.

Common errors

If for any reason any of the above change inbetween you authenticating and calling the API, then you may get an error or need to reauthenticate.

  • The option("googleAuthR.client_id") or option("googleAuthR.client_secret") are changed by loading another library or setting them in a script, and then a cache file is used with different options set.
  • The cache file is not where you expect it to be, or is deleted. The script will typically look in its working directory, which for say scheduled scripts may be different than the one you made the token within.
  • If the cache file doesn’t match the credentials the script needs, it will attempt to manually reauthenticate. If in a scheduled script, as this needs manual intervention, this will result in an error.
  • If using JSON service authentication via gar_auth_service() make sure the service email is an authenticated user with the service you are trying to access, and your Google Project has the right API turned on.
  • If you get an error from the API like Error in init_oauth_service_account(self$secrets, scope = self$params$scope, : Bad Request (HTTP 400). then your auth request is probably malformed. Check you have set the scopes and clientID/secret correctly.

Tips and tricks

  • Use googleAuthR::gar_token_info(2) to check your current token, and validate it with googleAuthR::gar_check_existing_token() which should return TRUE. Make sure it matches your expectations.
  • If in doubt, delete the cache file, restart your R session and reauthenticate.
  • Set your options within the script before you authenticate, but after you load the library to ensure they are what you think they are:

options(googleAuthR.client_id = "XXXX", googleAuthR.client_secret = "XXXX")

## wraps `googleAuthR::gar_auth()`
  • If you are always going to use the same credentials, make use of the auto authentication options by creating a cache token, moving it to a dedicated auth folder and using environment variables GAR_AUTH or package supported ones.
  • If you are using auto-authentication, make sure this doesn’t clash with manual authentication. Comment out the environment variable if needed as this will prevent it operating on package load.
  • The safest way is to specify the filename of the token you are authenticating from:


  • Safest way to specify your client id and secret is to download the client ID JSON, create a environment variable GAR_CLIENT_JSON and use gar_set_client()