These links are at the forefront of the magical future of passwordless authentication.
User authentication is a very sensitive subject for any business application. It needs to be super secure yet frictionless to strike a perfect balance between safety and user satisfaction.
Since the early days of the internet, passwords have been the de-facto authentication mechanism for everyone. It started with simple strings like 1234 or qwerty, which were more than enough to do the job until cybercriminals started to make their living out of them.
Then came the password managers, which generate and save strong passwords for a safer login experience. However, there is some friction about them, and people still don’t want to use such tools for a variety of reasons:
Consequently, there had to be something easier and more secure at the same time.
Welcome, Passwordless Authentication!
This is the modern and comparatively safer alternative to passwords. It’s user-friendly and more seamless.
For instance, Apple Face ID is a passwordless authentication I can’t love enough. Similarly, biometric authentication and one-time passwords are passwordless too.
And there are many more such techniques, including Magic Links.
What are Magic Links?
Magic links are where users enter their username and get a link in the associated mailbox to click and log in.
In an imaginary world where emails work perfectly and all platforms use magic link authentication, users must remember a single password for their email service provider.
Rest everything will be taken care of by Magic Links. This is infinitely more convenient from a user’s point of view. In addition, this makes the password hacking attempts irrelevant and useless.
So here we are with some tools to help you integrate this into your application.
The best part about Stytch is its straightforward implementation and a free plan to get you started.
There are two ways to integrate magic links with Stytch: API and SDKs.
Stytch API, on the other hand, gives you ultimate control over the design.
The free plan works for 5000 monthly active users (MAUs); afterward, it’s pay-as-you-go.
Paid subscriptions offer more design customizations and no Stytch branding.
FusionAuth also has its own interface needing minimum input, and its passwordless API for complete flexibility.
Its magic links send a time-bound code which a user must enter in the login form to proceed. However, the API option lets you send this code by SMS or push notification for an even more frictionless experience.
In addition, FusionAuth also features Google One Tap authentication, which auto-detects active Google accounts in the browser and pops up, allowing the user to log in with a single tap.
FusionAuth has two subscription streams based on hosting.
You can use either self-host, which also has a free community-supported plan without any cap on monthly active users. Cloud hosting has no free plans to start, unfortunately. However, you can take a 14-day free trial of its base plan.
WorkOS has its SDKs in multiple programming languages, including Node.js, Ruby, Python, Java, .Net, etc., to get you started.
You can use its WorkOS API or a custom email provider to send the magic link authentication emails. Such one-time links stay valid for 15 minutes.
WorkOS has many email templates which you can also customize to better suit your brand.
Finally, you can get started for free without any upfront payment.
With readymade integrations for platforms like WordPress, Webflow, Bubble, etc., MojoAuth assures one of the fastest magic link implementations.
Its SDKs are available in various languages and platforms, such as Node.js, Java, Android, Golang, iOS, PHP, Asp.net, etc.
In addition, its API is meant for developers for a custom application as per the use case. Besides, MojoAuth also allows using magic links in a typical multi-factor authentication (MFA) setting with its independent APIs.
The best part of MojoAuth is a white-label UI for its users and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
The base plan starts for 1000 MAUs, and all plans come with features like unlimited users, unlimited logins, email OTP, team management, etc. And although there is no free plan, you can take the 30-day free trial.
Supabase is an open-source tool to manage magic link authentication.
On the pricing front, one can start free for up to 50,000 MAUs and 200 concurrent connections. Paid plans add features like email support, daily backups, 7-day log retention, greater bandwidth, etc.
Clerk assures of the top magic link functionality, fully implemented and running in just a few minutes.
Its magic link authentication includes redirection with the link without a one-time password (OTP). Besides, one can also add magic links as a part of an MFA process.
Its free plan offers 5000 MAUs, unlimited total accounts, custom domains, and community support with its own branding. Paid plans add unlimited MAUs, and custom domains, allow listing/blocklisting, MFA, custom session duration, and more.
Descope magic links allow login URLs and OTPs and offer a generous free-forever tier enabling up to 7,500 MAUs for startups.
Even the implementation is a breeze with flexible options such as SDKs, API, and Flows.
Descope Flows is a no-code drag-and-drop interface you can use to create user interaction responses. It comes with a flow builder, screen builder, and design customizer and presents the quickest way to get started.
Besides, the SDKs give you two options in Client SDKs and Backend SDKs, based on whether you want Descope to handle session management or integrate your own server to Descope services.
Finally, their REST APIs are for advanced use cases with superior flexibility.
Still, what I most liked about Descope is there is no watermark with the free tier, and even it comes with a 99% SLA, making it a decent option for any startup.
Currently, EZiD is best suited for developers looking to deploy magic link authentications in their applications.
One can use their APIs to build the authentication flows exactly as they want.
EZiD has no free tier. In addition, their base plan allows up to 500 MAUs and will have their own branding. It’s only when you climb the ladder further up you can remove EZiD branding from the user interface.
What’s good is pay-as-you-go pricing with no limits on the number of logins.
They are Magical!
If you can ensure excellent email deliverability, there is no reason to avoid magic link authentication.
They are generally faster and more user-friendly substitutes for passwords. However, you can try to avoid OTPs in the magic link emails as it defeats their intended purpose. And a single clickable link that logs in the user is more desirable.
Hitesh works as a senior writer at Geekflare and dabbles in cybersecurity, productivity, games, and marketing. Besides, he holds master’s in transportation engineering. His free time is mostly about playing with his son, reading, or lying… read more