Ways to Apply Custom User Authentication

Applications that require server-side implementation often require the clients (mobile apps or web browsers) to authenticate themselves to the server. For instance, when someone uses Chrome to access Facebook after logging in before, they communicate specific information to the Facebook server proving their identity. Logging with social media is just one way of user authentication. But I should also mention the authentication through Gmail, with other services/integrations, that are related to the initial app, or generally with Operation System recognition. In both cases, the custom user authentication needs to be set up, so we are going to define the major ways for the developer.

Ways To Build Custom User Authentication

The software can implement bespoke user authentication in a variety of methods. Some of them require full custom coding, and others are easier to apply.

Starting from the second (easier) option, I can name 2 common solutions a.k.a. services, that can make integration much faster: AWS Cognito and Auth0. Both of them are letting the developer have the base of the authentication feature, and the extra layering, as well as expansion, could be added if needed. So, what about them?

AWS Cognito

One of the many services provided by Amazon’s cloud platform is AWS Cognito. By using this service, you may easily connect it to other Amazon Web Services including API integration, AppSync, and Lambdas. It can save any user information that your users generally save in the web or mobile application, including given name, family name, email, login, password, and other details. It’s likely to be quicker to utilize AWS Cognito for user authentication on the application side than to create the full user authentication service from scratch. 

Furthermore, AWS Cognito will take care of everything, so you won’t need to bother about the backend. Various error messages, service connections, and user interface forms will also be provided right out of the box. This is a great choice if you want to employ advanced security features like two-factor user authentication, phone number verification, or logging in with Google or Facebook.

And actually, the AWS Cognito setup process looks pretty similar. 


A client-side library for Auth0 is called Auth0.js. It is advised to utilize it along with Universal Login, which is to be used whenever practical. Starting with the user’s first visible encounter with your application (the login page), Auth0 helps to secure the process and delivers significant simplification. You do not need to manage user self-registration as well as user authentication thanks to the Auth0 Universal Login page. In reality, the default configuration gives users the option to sign up for an account if they need one to access your application by clicking the Sign-up link. By clicking that link, the user can quickly begin the registration and authentication procedure by entering an email address and a password.

Generally speaking, Auth0 makes it possible to add extended variations of user authentication to the app, without making too much on your side.

On the other hand, some developers prefer to code everything themselves, cause sometimes the project requirements are demanding so, or it just depends on the tech team’s choice. However, the next 2 methods require full custom code, with some nuances.

JWT Authentication

JSON Web Tokens, are portable means of identification. JSON Web Tokens are being used more and more frequently. Companies that specialize in customer identity and access management (CIAM) are promoting JWT as the cure-all for all problems. 

JSON Web Tokens can be sent to services and applications and contain identity data in JSON format. Any application or service may verify a JSON Web Token. The service or application that receives a JWT is not required to confirm its validity with the identity provider who generated it. A JSON Web Token can be used by a service or application to act on behalf of the user once it has been confirmed.

The integration process now might seem more complicated, since JWT is just a token that is generated to let you better keep the session. However, there are lots of guides on how to apply and use it

OAuth 2.0

In particular, OAuth 2.0 just states that a user has authorized an application to act on their behalf; it makes no mention of the identity of the user or how they authenticated. This delegation is made possible by the OAuth 2.0 framework in the form of an access token, which the application can utilize to take action on the user’s behalf. The API (the “resource server”) receives the access token and can determine if it is active by using this knowledge.

The OAuth 2.0 framework can be used to create an authentication protocol by treating authentication and identification separately.

The integration process comprises lots of nuances and deep work with tokens


As you can see, there are at least 4 different ways to apply custom user authentication. But this list is far from final, and it can keep going to whatever your skills let you. You can either choose something more ready-to-use, or rely on the framework you use, and the project requirements you have.

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