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Amazon Cognito vs Passport: What are the differences?

Developers describe Amazon Cognito as "Securely manage and synchronize app data for your users across their mobile devices". You can create unique identities for your users through a number of public login providers (Amazon, Facebook, and Google) and also support unauthenticated guests. You can save app data locally on users’ devices allowing your applications to work even when the devices are offline. On the other hand, Passport is detailed as "Simple, unobtrusive authentication for Node.js". It is authentication middleware for Node.js. Extremely flexible and modular, It can be unobtrusively dropped in to any Express-based web application. A comprehensive set of strategies support authentication using a username and password, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Amazon Cognito and Passport can be primarily classified as "User Management and Authentication" tools.

Passport is an open source tool with 15.9K GitHub stars and 936 GitHub forks. Here's a link to Passport's open source repository on GitHub.

ChromaDex, Sendhelper Pte Ltd, and Strain Merchant are some of the popular companies that use Amazon Cognito, whereas Passport is used by Decision6, University of Europe Laureate Digital, and KOACHR. Amazon Cognito has a broader approval, being mentioned in 41 company stacks & 13 developers stacks; compared to Passport, which is listed in 11 company stacks and 11 developer stacks.

Advice on Amazon Cognito and Passport
Needs advice

Currently, Passport.js repo has 324 open issues, and Jared (the original author) seems to be the one doing most of the work. Also, given that the documentation is not proper. Is it worth using Passport.js?

As of now, StackShare shows it has 29 companies using it. How do you implement auth in your project or your company? Are there any good alternatives to Passport.js? Should I implement auth from scratch?

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Replies (1)

I would recommend Auth0 only if you are willing to shell out money. You can keep up with their free version only for a very limited time and as per our experience as a growing startup where budget is an issue, their support was not very helpful as they first asked us to sign a commercial agreement even before helping us t o find out whether Auth0 fits our use case or not! But otherwise Auth0 is a great platform to speed up authentication. In our case we had to move to alternatives like Casbin for multi-tenant authorization!

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Decisions about Amazon Cognito and Passport
Brent Maxwell
Amazon CognitoAmazon Cognito

I started our team on Amazon Cognito because I was a Solutions Architect at AWS and found it really easy to follow the tutorials and get a basic app up and running with it.

When our team started working with it, they very quickly became frustrated because of the poor documentation. After 4 days of trying to get all the basic passwordless auth working, our lead engineer made the decision to abandon it and try Auth0... and managed to get everything implemented in 4 hours.

The consensus was that Cognito just isn't mature enough or well-documented, and that the implementation does not cater for real world use cases the way that it should. I believe Amplify has made some of this simpler, but I would still recommend Auth0 as it's been bulletproof for us, and is a sensible price.

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Pros of Amazon Cognito
Pros of Passport
  • 14
    Backed by Amazon
  • 7
    Manage Unique Identities
  • 4
    Work Offline
  • 3
  • 2
    Store and Sync
  • 1
    It works
  • 1
    Integrate with Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, SAML
  • 1
    SDKs and code samples
  • 1
    Free for first 50000 users
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    Cons of Amazon Cognito
    Cons of Passport
    • 4
      Massive Pain to get working
    • 3
      Documentation often out of date
    • 2
      Login-UI sparsely customizable (e.g. no translation)
    • 1
      Docs are vast but mostly useless
    • 1
      MFA: there is no "forget device" function
    • 1
      Difficult to customize (basic-pack is more than humble)
    • 1
      Lacks many basic features
    • 1
      There is no "Logout" method in the API
    • 1
      No recovery codes for MFA
    • 1
      Hard to find expiration times for tokens/codes
    • 1
      Only paid support
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