User accounts are an indispensable feature of web applications. They allow us to create persistent, tailored experiences for the people using our site.
User accounts are an indispensable feature of web applications. They allow us to create persistent, tailored experiences for the people using our site. They also help us better track how our application is used. Despite their usefulness, implementing user accounts can be akin to opening Pandora’s box of troubles.
We live in an age of savvy sackers of digital domains. While we’ve opened a box of possibilities, they’ve brought a host of problems with them! How do we stand a chance? We lean on others’ work and trade configuration for convention. But before we find some shoulders to stand on, let’s get a sense of the problem we’re trying to solve.
Signing Up and Signing In are actions with which we are all familiar. They allow web applications to authenticate and authorize their users.
When we Sign Up, we create a means by which a web application determines that we are who we say we are. Signing Up happens once in the lifetime of a user in an application. It creates a new user instance in the backend of the server with information that can be use to _authenticate _that user. Authentication asks the question, “Are you who you say you are?” When we sign in, we are authenticated by the application based on the username and password we provide, and consequently given access to different features of the application.
We are engaged in single-factor authentication when we only have to provide one type of information to authenticate ourselves. As you might imagine, single-factor authentication is not the best means of securing user accounts, as anyone with a username and password can access an account.
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