OpenID

OpenID: distributed identity for the web that doesn't suck.

What is OpenID?

OpenID is a simple way for you to sign in to tens-of-thousands of sites around the web, without having to create a new username and password. Instead of the traditional process of providing a username and password, you login with your existing "OpenID," which is simply URL (or web address) to a profile, blog or other service that supports the OpenID specification. Many sites are adding support for OpenID every day and large providers like AOL and Yahoo! are providing OpenID for all of their users.

OpenID is an open specification that's implemented in a decentralized fashion; just like other standards that make the Internet work. That means that there is no centralized OpenID sign-in service or any single company that owns or controls OpenID. Rather, sites around the web can choose to support the technology by providing OpenIDs to their users, allowing users to sign in with an OpenID from elsewhere, or both.

Where is OpenID accepted?

OpenID is accepted by tens-of-thousands of sites and applications around the web, with more being added every day. The best way to know whether or not the site you're on allows you to sign in with OpenID is to look for the OpenID logo -- it's usually displayed in places that accept OpenID.

Just look for this, and click on it or look for a field near it to enter your OpenID:

OpenID logo

How can I enable OpenID sign-in on my blog?

Some blog software supports commenting via OpenID, for best results we recommend that you check your particular system's documentation. Six Apart's Movable Type supports OpenID commenting out of the box; for more information about how to enable OpenID commenting, visit the Movable Type documentation for Authentication and Registration.

If you're running WordPress.org you can download the WP-OpenID plugin to add support for OpenID commenting. This plugin was not developed by the developers of WordPress.

How do I get my own OpenID?

Chances are you already have one and just don't know about it yet! OpenID is supported by some of the world's largest online services, which means that if you have an account with one of these providers, it's easy to use that account to sign in to OpenID-enabled sites around the web.

  • AOL. If you have an AOl Instant Messenger account, then you have an OpenID at http://openid.aol.com/yourscreenname.
  • Yahoo!. If you have a Yahoo account, then you have an OpenID. Learn more about Yahoo's OpenID support at http://openid.yahoo.com/.

If you're already a blogger, your blog URL is also most likely already an OpenID. If not, it's easy to install a plugin to turn your blog into your OpenID.

  • Movable Type. If you wish to use your Movable Type powered blog as your OpenID, you need to install a simple plugin.
  • TypeKey and TypePad. If you have a TypeKey ID or a TypePad blog, then your TypeKey profile (http://profile.typekey.com/username) is your OpenID.
  • Blogger. If you have a blog on Blogger, then your Blogspot blog URL (http://user.blogspot.com/) is your OpenID.
  • LiveJournal. If you have a blog on LiveJournal, your OpenID is http://username.livejournal.com/.
  • WordPress.com. If you have a blog on WordPress.com, then your blog URL (http://username.wordpress.com/) is your OpenID.
  • WordPress.org. There is not currently a plugin to turn your WordPress.org blog into an OpenID Provider, though there is a plugin for WordPress MU.

If you don't want to think about running your own OpenID Provider for your blog, you can easily get an OpenID from a dedicated OpenID Provider and configure your blog to "delegate" to it. This still allows you to use your blog URL as your OpenID, just moves the management to companies focused on creating great OpenID Providers. If you don't already have an OpenID, you may want to consider a dedicated OpenID provider like myOpenID, Verisign's Personal Identity Provider or myVidoop.

Sam Ruby has a great tutorial "OpenID for Non-SuperUsers" about setting up your OpenID via delegation.

How is Six Apart involved in OpenID?

OpenID was invented at Six Apart in May of 2005 by Brad Fitzpatrick, as we were looking to make it easy for users of our LiveJournal and TypePad (then known as "Project Comet") blogging platforms to sign in on the different services and share with one another, without having to create an entirely new account.

Today, Six Apart supports OpenID by providing OpenID functionality in our products. Additionally, Six Apart contributes to OpenID development, is a member of the OpenID Foundation, of which Six Apart's David Recordon is the Vice Chair.

Where can I learn more about OpenID?

The best source for information about OpenID is OpenID.net, which is home for OpenID developer documentation, mailing lists, archived presentations and the OpenID Foundation. If you're interested in learning more about the history of OpenID, visit the OpenID entry at Wikipedia.

OpenID logo
Application Type: Protocol
Version: 2.0
Discuss: Mailing Lists