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OpenID - Single Digital Identity

What is OpenID? OpenID is a free and decentralized open standard that let internet user logon to multiple websites using single digital identity and therefore eliminates need for multiple ids and passwords.

Key Terms


User – Internet User
Identifier – The URL chosen by Internet user as OpenID identifier
OpenID Identity Provider - Service provider where user can register for OpenID URL. These providers manage identities and provide authentication.
Relying Parties – Growing number of sites accepting OpenID as authentication methods.


Where do I get OpenID URL?


You can get it from any Open ID Identity Provider. In fact, you probably already have it. If you use Blogger.com, you can use your blog url as open id URL. You will be sharing your information with the provider. So, choose a provider, you trust. Just like emails, you can have multiple OpenIDs for different purposes.


How does OpenID work?


Once signed up, You can use OpenID URL on any OpenID enabled site for signing in. Simply, enter your OpenID URL and you will be taken to your OpenID provider’s sign in page. Sign in to your account and grant access to the relying party.


Are there any Security Concerns?


Primary concern is phishing attack. A fake website can duplicate the feel and look of your provider and capture id and password. This can be a major issue because then the phisher can access all the sites that rely on Open id URL.



Delegation - Use Custom Domain for OpenID


You can sign up with any of the providers for OpenID URL. URL will be hosted on the provider’s domain (for example yourid.myopenid.com). It can be an issue, if you are not happy with your provider or if your provider goes down and you want to switch to another provider. To avoid the problem, You can use your own custom domain name such as your blog URL or website (http://www.yourdomain.com/) for Open id. The technique is called delegation.

Before using the technique, check your provider website for any other method for using your own custom URL. For example, if you are using Blogger to host your blog and forward it to custom domain name, you are automatically setup to use the feature. Simply, use your Custom Blog URL as openid and you will be forwarded to Blogger account.

If you are using MyOpenid.com as provider, simply copy following 2 lines in the head section (Just before tag) of your blog or website html to use OpenID delegation.

<link rel="openid.server" href="http://www.myopenid.com/server"/>
<link rel="openid.delegate" href="http://YourMyOpenid.myopenid.com/"/>

Then use your blog or website URL (http://www.yourdomain.com/) as openID and you will be forwarded to Myopenid.com for authentication. If you are using any other provider, simply change the server name and openid URL accordingly.

Thanks Sam for MyOpenID tip.

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