File Under: Programming, Web Basics

How To Make Your Own Domain An OpenID

I recently decided it was time to explore OpenID. For those that aren’t familiar with OpenID, the sound-bite version boils down to this: OpenID is a way to identify yourself to others using a URL rather than username and password.

Openid
With more and more big names, Microsoft and AOL come to mind, supporting OpenID, I figured it was about time to dive in and set up my own account.

If you happen to be a LiveJournal or Vox user you already have an OpenID account. For the rest of us there’s a variety of options MyOpenID, Verisign and ClaimID to name a few. I went with MyOpenID because it was the first one I stumbled across. The signup process was fast, free and easy.

So far so good, but what if I don’t want to remember my newly created URL? The answer is use your own domain and drop in some headtags which tell requesting sites to get the info from the other server.

If you’re using MyOpenID, the code looks like this:

<link rel="openid.server" href="http://www.myopenid.com/server">
<link rel="openid.delegate" href="http://myname.myopenid.com/">

Replace the address in the second url with your OpenID address and add these lines to the head of the page that you want to use as your OpenID address. If you’re using another service I’ve mentioned here’s a handy server url reference table courtesy of blogger Simon Willison:

OpenID Provider Server URL
LiveJournal http://www.livejournal.com/openid/server.bml
Vox http://www.vox.com/services/openid/server
VeriSign https://pip.verisignlabs.com/server
MyOpenID http://www.myopenid.com/server

If you’d like to see a more thorough explanation of OpenID, Simon Willison also has a great screencast that walks you through the process of initially setting up your OpenID account which I’ve embedded below (or try the higher res version).

I’ll admit it took me a minute to wrap my head around the why part of OpenID, but now that I have it all setup it really does make life easier. And the more people that start using OpenID the more sites that will adopt it.

For a list of existing site that support OpenID check out the list on MyOpenID.