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In Security Last updated: July 6, 2023
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Have you ever logged into a website using Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Github? How about uploading files to a website directly from your cloud, such as your google drive account?

Well, both of these are examples of websites or application getting access to your information stored on other websites or services. But how is this achieved without compromising the security of your personal data and you giving your credentials to a third-party application?

Take Facebook, for instance; Facebook can use the contacts stored in your Google account to find your friends on the platform. For Facebook to access your contacts and find your friends, you need to give it access to your Google account.

A few years back, this was done in a very crude way, where you’d give Facebook your Google email address and your Gmail password, which it would use to log in to your Google account as yourself and access your contacts. Many applications, and not just Facebook, implemented authorization for user data stored in other websites this way.

With so many third-party applications implementing authorization this way, users were having the short end of the stick as they had to compromise their security to access services. A malicious developer could easily misuse users’ credentials to the detriment of users. This is what necessitated the development of OAuth. 


According to Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), OAuth is an authorization framework that allows third-party applications to obtain access to a service on behalf of the resource owner. OAuth is what allows users to grant limited access to third-party applications. 

This allows the applications to access their online resources, such as their profiles or personal data stored in another application, without having to disclose their login credentials to the third-party application trying to access the resource.

This is often referred to as delegated access, where users give third-party applications limited access to their resources hosted on another service without sharing their users’ credentials.

OAuth 2.0 is the most widely used version of the OAuth protocol, and it is a key component of web authorization and authentication.

OAuth is widely used in mobile application authentication, securing APIs, allowing Single Sign-on to multiple applications, and delegated access for third parties, and it also allows users to manage and control permissions granted to third-party applications.

Benefits of using Open Source OAuth Platforms. 


Open-source OAuth platforms refer to open-source implementations of the OAuth standard. Considering applications are developed using a variety of programming languages and frameworks, OAuth platforms provide libraries and tools that allow developers to easily integrate OAuth functionality in their applications. Some of the benefits of using Open Source OAuth Platforms include:

Code quality and transparency

Open-source platforms allow users to access their code. This is beneficial in that many developers with a wide range of skills and experience go through the code and can raise issues they may notice with the code.

This helps ensure the code is of the highest quality with no vulnerabilities or bugs. Companies can also go through the code to determine how well it can address their need before committing to using the product.

Cost Effectiveness

Open source software solutions are free to use and thus can be a way for companies to save on costs they would incur by going for propriety OAth platforms. This has the benefit of allowing even companies without big budgets to ensure the security of their users is not compromised.

Avoid Vendor Lock-in


When using open-source OAuth providers, you can easily switch between different OAuth providers without having to redesign your entire application architecture to match a new vendor.

Open-source OAuth solutions adhere to widely accepted standards allowing them which ensure compatibility and interoperability with other systems. This makes it easy to switch between different open-source solutions.

Community Support

Open source solutions are often backed by a large community of developers working to improve on them and provide updates to the software. This ensures that not only does the software work with a lot of tools that developers use, but also issues with the software can be addressed faster as there’s bound to be someone familiar with the software ready to help.

Key Criteria for Evaluating Open Source OAuth Platforms

Some of the key factors to consider when evaluating an open-source OAuth platform include:

Security and Encryption Measures


It is important that the open-source OAuth solution you use has solid watertight security and encryption measures in place.

This is because the platforms handle sensitive user data and access resources. The platform should support secure communication and also provide mechanisms to protect access tokens.

Ease of Integration and Developer-Friendly APIs

Since OAuth platforms are integrated into applications, it is paramount that the OAuth solution should offer clear and intuitive APIs, documentation, and software development kits(SDK) that simplify the integration process.

The platform’s endpoints should also be well-documented with code samples and libraries for popular programming languages and frameworks.

Community Support and Active Development

A strong active community of users and contributors to an open-source resource indicates a healthy environment around the resources. In this case, it means that the OAuth is continuously being improved upon and used.

Additionally, an active community can provide useful resources and support that can help in your understanding and use of an open-source OAuth solution.

Scalability and Performance

Applications often have a growing user base as more people are introduced to the application. Therefore, it is important that any OAuth solution you use should support scaling as your user base increases and should also be able to handle a large number of concurrent requests.

Customization and Extensibility Options

An OAuth solution should be highly customizable in order to adapt to the different business requirements and logic across a wide range of users. To put it simply, businesses should not have to build their logic around an OAuth platform.

Instead, the OAuth solution should be customizable and extensible enough to allow it to be implemented without changing the business logic. This can be achieved by allowing the addition of custom authentication flows, claims, and user attributes.

With the above considerations in mind, here are some of the best open-source OAuth solutions to use in your next project


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SuperTokens is an open-source login provider that boasts wide use among startups such as HackeRank, Skoot, and Food Market Hub and uses by engineers working in companies such as Google, Amazon, and Meta, among others.

SuperTokens provides highly customizable, extensible, and overrideable components that allow users to easily integrate user authentication into their application.

Not only is SuperTokens easy and fast to integrate, but it also offers prebuilt user interfaces for sign-up pages and user authentication functionality out of the box. Users also have the freedom to build their own login quickly using the helpers functions that come with SuperTokens.

Using SuperTokens, you implement Email Password login, Social Login using OAuth, and passwordless login to applications. You can also use social login and email password login in the same login screen for your applications.


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Cerbos is an open-source, language-agnostic, scalable authorization platform that was recognized by Business Wire as the best in API Security in 2022.

Cerbos, which is an authorization layer for implementing roles and permissions, works with a variety of identity providers, including Auth0, Magic, WorkOS, Okta, and FusionAuth, among others.

Cerbos allows you to centrally manage the authorization logic across all your applications and instantly make changes to how your applications handle authorization and authentication.

Additionally, Cerbos offers context-aware role definitions and attributes and exposes a language-agnostic API that can be used with any tech stack.

To cap it all, Cerbos is both stateless and self-hosted and can be hosted on serverless platforms, any public or private cloud, or even a privately owned data center. 



Passport is a very popular authentication middleware for the Node.js framework, and it authenticates incoming requests in applications built with a Node.js backend.

Authentication is done using plugins known as strategies. Passport provides developers with hooks for controlling the actions to be taken when authentication fails or succeeds.

Passport offers over 500 authentication strategies and allows for Single sign-on with OpenID and OAuth. It also supports persistent sessions, dynamic scope and permissions, implementation of custom strategies, and easy handling of success and failure during authentication.

Additionally, Passport.js does not mount routes in Node.js applications and doesn’t assume any particular database schema and thus allows the developer to make all application-level decisions.



Auth.js is an open-source authentication solution that works with a variety of frontend frameworks, including Next.js, SvelteKit, and SolidStart, among others.

Auth.js is designed to work with a variety of OAuth versions. It supports stateless authentication with any backend, email/passwordless authentication, and JSON Web Tokens together with database sessions.

Although Auth.js was designed for serverless architectures, it can be run anywhere, including AWS Lambda, Docker, and Heroku, among others.

Auth.js also guarantees users control of their data and can work without a database even though it has built-in support for popular databases such as MySQL, Postgres, MongoDB, SQLite, MariaDB, and Microsoft SQL Server.

Auth.js uses Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF) Tokens on POST routes, encrypts JSON Web Tokens, and auto-generates symmetric signing and encryption keys for developer convenience.



Keycloak is a very popular Open Source Identity and Access Management solution. Keycloak is a solution based on standard protocols and supports OAuth 2.0, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), and OpenID Connect.

Being an open-source solution, Keycloak is very easy to integrate and comes with features such as Single-Sign-On, which allows users to login into multiple applications through a single login to Keycloak.

This also benefits developers in that they don’t have to be the ones dealing with authenticating and storing users and making login forms in their applications.

An area where KeyCloak shines is its ease of integration with applications. KeyCloak allows you to easily add the ability to login into applications using social networks without having to change your application or code.

All this is done through an admin console where you can also configure additional Keycloak features such as user federation and identity brokering. Through the admin console, you can also create and manage applications and services and fine-tune authorization policies.

Apereo CAS

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Apereo CAS, is an open-source single sign-on solution and identity provider.  CAS supports a wide range of authentication protocols, including OAuth 2.0, SAML, OpenID, REST, and WS-Federation, among others.

CAS comes with built-in support for password management, notifications, terms of use, and impersonation.

CAS also supports pluggable authentication, delegated authentication to external identity providers such as Facebook, Twitter, and OpenID Connect, and multifactor authentication through providers such as Google Authenticator, Authy, YubiKey, Acceptto, and Inwebo, among others.

To use CAS, it is best to use it with its officially supported client platforms which include Java, .NET, Apache, and PHP.

Ory Kratos

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Ory Kratos is a robust and feature-rich user management system that is catered to the cloud. Although Ory Kratos is written in Go, it comes with SDKs for every programming language, together with customizable login, registration, and profile management.

Additionally, Ory Kratos can work with any UI framework and requires minimal code to set it up.

Some notable features that come with Ory Kratos include multifactor authentication with a variety of providers, self-service login and registration, social network login, account verification and recovery, and user management.

User management allows the creation, updating, and deleting of identities and their data in your user base. Finally, Ory Kratos allows the use of customizable identity models, where you can create your own interfaces and define custom fields such as names, addresses, or favorite pet.



According to its documentation, Logto is a cost-effective open-source alternative to Auth0, which is a proprietary authentication and authorization solution. Logto offers all features needed for secure authentication and authorization at more affordable rates.

Logto comes with a ready-to-use management API that can be used as an authentication provider. It also has SDKs that allow for easy and quick integration of Logto with any application you’re building. 

OpenID Connect (OIDC), which extends the OAuth 2.0 authorization protocol, is used for authentication, while Role-based access control (RBAC)  is used for authorization.

With LogTo, your applications can implement passwordless sign-in social sign-in and be able to handle users who have forgotten their login credentials. To make development even easier and faster, LogTo offers beautiful prebuilt UI components with customizable CSS.

Users also get access to their cloud platform, where they can customize, integrate and preview the authentication they are implementing in their application.


When implementing authentication and authorization into your application, there are a variety of open-source solutions that will save you and your business tons of money. Consider any of the solutions shared in the article to secure your business and critical user data.

You may also explore some best user authentication platforms.

  • Collins Kariuki
    Collins Kariuki is a software developer and technical writer for Geekflare. He has over four years experience in software development, a background in Computer Science and has also written for Argot, Daily Nation and the Business Daily Newspaper.
  • Narendra Mohan Mittal

    Narendra Mohan Mittal is a Senior Digital Branding Strategist and Content Editor with over 12 years of versatile experience. He holds an M-Tech (Gold Medalist) and B-Tech (Gold Medalist) in Computer Science & Engineering.

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