A few years ago, Martin covered OpenID, an open authentication system. Since then, it has become increasingly popular and a wide range of sites, from AOL to LiveJournal provide OpenIDs, and OpenID login is also quite common. OpenID is particularly popular for blog comments, with Blogger now integrating support for it.
An OpenID is an URL. However, using an URL like http://computerjoe.myopenid.com/ to log-in and post comments with just doesn't look sophisticated. I much prefer to use my own blog's URL to post comments and log-in; it pumps traffic to my blog and frankly just looks better.
Whilst you could run your own OpenID identity server to do this, this takes quite a bit of expertise to set-up and whilst it is probably more secure, it isn't needed in my opinion.
It is possible to use a any identity server with your website's URL. I personally use MyOpenID, but I log in to sites with joeanderson.co.uk/blog; not with computerjoe.myopenid.com.
This can be done by simply adding a few lines of HTML to your website's <head>.
For example, I put
<link rel=”openid.server” href=”http://www.myopenid.com/server” />
<link rel=”openid.delegate” href=”http://computerjoe.myopenid.com” />
Naturally, these have to be modified depending on your username and server, but the provider should provide the information.
There are several benefits using this type of OpenID identification. The main one is that it just looks better but the most practical one is probably that it allows you to change provider whilst keeping the same log on. So, if I suddenly decide not to use MyOpenID, I can change to any other provider but my URL remains the same.
Update: The process itself has not changed. You first need an OpenID account before you can start using the service on websites supporting OpenID, or implement the authentication method on your own.
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