IndieAuth is a federated login protocol for Web sign-in, enabling users to use their own domain to sign in to other sites and services. IndieAuth can be used to implement OAuth2 login AKA OAuth-based login.
IndieAuth is built on ideas and technology from existing proven technologies like OAuth and OpenID but makes it easier for users as well as developers. It decentralizes much of the process so completely separate implementations and services can be used for each part.
If you’re familiar with writing an OAuth client, then you're familiar with the problem of having to register your client manually with each OAuth provider. IndieAuth uses DNS as a replacement for client registration, thereby eliminating the need for any manual registration with providers.
- 1 Why
- 2 How it works
- 3 How to
- 4 IndieWeb Examples
- 5 Implementations
- 6 Services
- 7 Supporting Sites
- 8 IndieAuth Protocol
- 9 FAQ
- 10 Issues
- 11 Talks and Demos
- 12 Articles
- 13 See Also
By choosing your IndieAuth provider, you can tell applications where to send you to sign in. This gives you more control over the privacy and security of your logins.
Most Micropub clients use IndieAuth to log you in, obtaining your authorization by directing you to your chosen IndieAuth server. This allows you to use your own website to log in to the tools you use to post content.
IndieAuth is part of taking back control of your online identity. Instead of logging in to websites as “you on Twitter” or “you on Facebook”, you should be able to log in as just “you”. We should not be relying on silos to provide our authenticated identities, we should be able to use our own personal domains to log in to sites everywhere.
You can use it right now to log in to this wiki and contribute to the community, including doing common things like:
- Adding yourself to chat-names after joining one of our discussion channels, and
- RSVP to an upcoming event.
How it works
Basic flow with a user signing in to a (web) app
- The user fills in his/her personal URL This is called Web sign-in.
- The app fetches the URL, looking for an authorization endpoint. For this, the user can use IndieAuth.com, but it can also be at their own domain. The app redirects the User to their authorization endpoint.
- The user authenticates at their own authorization endpoint. IndieAuth.com uses RelMeAuth to authenticate users, but if a user uses an authorization endpoint on his/her own site, it can be a password, e-mail link, or any other authentication mechanism the authorization endpoint provides. They prove their identity to their authorization endpoint while the app waits for them to complete.
- The authorization endpoint issues a temporary authorization code, and sends it to the app by redirecting the user's browser back to the app.
- The app checks the code with the authorization endpoint, and if the code is valid and if the user’s identifier matches the identifier the authorization endpoint gives, the login is completed, and the user can enter and use the app.
If all you're trying to do is log in to the wiki, then you may not need to set up IndieAuth at all! Instead, you can just link to your existing Twitter or GitHub accounts and the wiki will use those to authenticate you! See indielogin.com/setup for more details.
Set up using IndieAuth.com
IndieAuth.com is a service that allows you to sign in as your site by using your social media profiles. Your homepage and social media profiles need to link to each other for verification. Instead of registering for an account at indieauth.com, it uses your existing social media accounts to verify you own the URL you're signing in as.
- Add rel-me links to your homepage for various ways to reach you,
<a href="https://github.com/aaronpk" rel="me">GitHub</a>.
- Make sure any social media profiles you linked to have a link back to your homepage.
- Finally, include
<link rel="authorization_endpoint" href="https://indieauth.com/auth">on your homepage.
You are done! Try to log in to a site that supports IndieAuth, such as:
These services should redirect you to your chosen IndieAuth endpoint to sign in, which in this case is indieauth.com.
Set up in WordPress
If you use WordPress, you can install the Wordpress IndieAuth Plugin which provides a built-in IndieAuth server.
Set up your own IndieAuth provider
The following people have an authorization endpoint on their own domain.
Martijn van der Ven
- IndieAuth.com is an implementation of Web sign-in/RelMeAuth with an HTTP API
- IndieAuth.com is a common authorization server implementation used by many people
- selfauth is a single-user authorization endpoint implemented in a single PHP file
- https://glitch.com/~befitting-price is a nodejs port of selfauth written for nodejs running on glitch.com
- Acquiescence is a simple IndieAuth authorization and token endpoint. It is currently limited to GitHub for authorization. Barry Frost uses Acquiescence on his website.
Wordpress IndieAuth Plugin
- The Wordpress IndieAuth Plugin provides a self-contained IndieAuth server for Wordpress
- Known provides a built-in IndieAuth server
- commentpara.de provides IndieAuth identities to anyone wishing to log in to a website anonymously.
- indieauth-openid allows to use an existing OpenID setup for IndieAuth.
- indiecert was an implementation of an IndieAuth server using client certificates for authentication.
- Micro.blog implements IndieAuth for all hosted micro.blog subdomains as well as verified sites.
- https://glitch.com/~cellar-door a nodejs implementation with tests and hcard support (Github project).
Most Micropub apps use IndieAuth to allow the app to post to your site
IndieLogin.com is a service that consumes IndieAuth. It authenticates users using IndieAuth, RelMeAuth, email and PGP, wrapping all the logic in a simple API. It is a very easy way to get started consuming IndieAuth logins.
The IndieAuth.com service provides an authorization endpoint to bootstrap your Micropub server development. It lets you authenticate via GitHub, email, and PGP. Eventually this will be replaced with a new service, MyIndieAuth.com, although development of that service has not yet begun.
Historically, IndieAuth.com also provided an API for developers to use to authenticate users, tho this is being phased out in favor of IndieLogin.com.
The IndieAuth.com source code is available on GitHub.
(This section is a stub and needs expansion!)
There are a growing number of web sites that you can log into using IndieAuth and gain additional functionality:
- This site! Signing-in with IndieAuth enables you to edit the wiki!
- micro.blog sites support IndieAuth to post from Micropub apps
- WordPress can support IndieAuth via a plugin
A user should only have to communicate their own homepage URL to the website they are trying to log in to. This is the core idea of Web sign-in. This means a developer should in their turn be able to find everything they need on that one user supplied URL.
Discovery from the User's Homepage
IndieAuth defines two new
rel values for this. A user can simply link to the endpoints they want to use from their homepage, add the correct
rel value and be done.
An example would be to link to them in the
<head> section of their HTML, like so:
<link rel="authorization_endpoint" href="https://example.com/auth"> <link rel="token_endpoint" href="https://example.com/token">
Developers can discover these endpoints using traditional HTML or Microformats parsing.
The Authorization Endpoint
The authorization endpoint is a page where applications can send users to and asking them to identify themselves. Because the user defines their own endpoint on their homepage, this can be part of their own website or a completely separate service. This is how the user provides proof they really operate the homepage URL they provided.
An application can also ask the user to grant it certain rights by requesting them through the authorization endpoint. A Micropub client might ask to be allowed
create rights. The user can then either accept these or not when they have been redirected to their endpoint.
For developers, the authorization endpoint also functions as a verification service. If they get a code from a user they can check its validity with the endpoint to make sure it was truly issued by the user.
Third Party Services
- IndieAuth.com has an authorization endpoint that lets you use silo accounts like GitHub or simple alternatives like email as authentication options. Use the URL
https://indieauth.com/authas your value for
- commentpara.de allows anyone to (anonymously or pseudonymously) log in to websites supporting IndieAuth by using
https://commentpara.de/as their homepage.
- See Implementations above for more details, or to find if your platform already has a built-in option.
- selfauth is an authorization endpoint in PHP made to be easy to deploy.
- Acquiescence is an authorization endpoint in Ruby developed and used by Barry Frost.
- Known enables an authorization endpoint when the IndiePub plugin is turned on.
- Wordpress IndieAuth Plugin provides an authorization endpoint to WordPress sites.
The Token Endpoint
The token endpoint is a service that creates access tokens for applications to store and use in Micropub requests. After authorizing the application, the token endpoint creates a token that the application stores. The application will send it in a header when making a Micropub request, and the Micropub endpoint is expected to be able to validate the token while processing the request.
Third Party Services
- IndieAuth.com has a token endpoint. Use the URL
https://tokens.indieauth.com/tokenas your value for
- Acquiescence is a token endpoint in Ruby developed and used by Barry Frost.
- Known enables a token endpoint when the IndiePub plugin is turned on.
- Wordpress IndieAuth Plugin provides a token endpoint to WordPress sites.
The IndieAuth.com FAQ is here:
Feel free to add more questions here that seemed to be asked more than once.
How is IndieAuth different from OpenID Connect
Do I need a silo account
No silo accounts are required for IndieAuth services, but some may chose to use them as an authentication method.
Do I need to enter my URL every time
Q: Do I need to enter my URL every time I log in to an app that uses IndieAuth?
Yes, like traditional username/password forms, you need to enter your URL when you log in to an app. Browsers will remember your URL you enter and will suggest it using their normal autofill mechanisms as well.
Should I use HTTPS
The IndieAuth specification is an extension of OAuth 2.0, and OAuth 2.0 recommends using https URLs for everything. IndieAuth doesn't provide any new reason to require or not require https so delegates this recommendation to OAuth 2.0.
Why do I see form-encoded responses
IndieAuth originally used standard form-encoding for requests and responses, since it has been a standard encoding format since the beginning of the web.
Over time, implementations added support for sending JSON responses as well as form-encoded. When IndieAuth was written up as a formal OAuth 2.0 extension, it documented only the JSON responses in order to be compatible with OAuth 2.0. At that point, most implementations already supported JSON responses, or did content negotiation to support both formats.
How can an application get additional information about the user
The IndieAuth specification offers the user’s profile page where further public information about the user can be found, e.g. by parsing an h-card. There is currently no common way of retrieving private information.
For issues about the IndieAuth spec, please see the IndieAuth GitHub project.
For issues with the IndieAuth.com service, please see the IndieAuth.com Github project.
Older discussions and brainstorming has been moved to IndieAuth-brainstorming.
Talks and Demos
- 2018-07 OAuth.io included IndieAuth in a presentation at API Days in San Francisco
- 2016-09-24 Sebastian Lasse had a demo showing the use of protocol handlers to keep the "me" in the browser (video) at IWC Brighton
- 2014-05-06: Aaron Parecki held a session at Internet Identity Workshop XVIII
- 2013-08-13: Aaron Parecki gave a talk on IndieAuth at the W3C Workshop on Social Business
- 2012-06-24: Aaron Parecki gave a talk on IndieAuth at Portland's Open Source Bridge 2012 conference! Tuesday June 26th at 4:45pm
- 2018-07-07 : OAuth for the Open Web (archived)
- 2018-07-02 : IndieAuth for Micro.blog (archived)
- 2018-01-23 : WebSub and IndieAuth Published on w3.org! (archived)
- 2016-08-30 : IndieAuth (archived) and sub-chapters on OAuth.com: