Simplifying User Authentication with OpenID Connect

OpenID connect schema

As the digital world expands, so does the need for efficient and secure user authentication methods. OpenID Connect (OIDC) is a powerful authentication protocol that helps simplify this process for users and developers alike. Built on top of the OAuth 2.0 authorization framework, OpenID Connect enables seamless and secure access to web and mobile applications using existing user accounts from trusted identity providers. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of OpenID Connect, its core components, and how it streamlines the authentication process.

Understanding OpenID Connect

OpenID Connect is an authentication protocol that allows users to access multiple applications or services using their existing credentials from a trusted identity provider (IdP), such as Google or Facebook. By leveraging OpenID Connect, users can sign in to various applications without the need to create a new account specifically for each one. This simplifies the login process, reduces password fatigue, and enhances overall security.

Core Components of OpenID Connect

  1. End-User: The individual who wants to access a protected resource or application using their existing identity from an Identity Provider (IdP).
  2. Relying Party (RP): The application or service that the end-user wants to access. The Relying Party relies on the IdP to authenticate the end user.
  3. OpenID Provider (OP): Also known as the identity provider, the OP is responsible for authenticating the end-user and issuing identity tokens (ID tokens) to the relying party.

OpenID Connect Authentication Flow

The OpenID Connect authentication process typically involves the following steps:

  1. The end-user attempts to access the relying party (e.g., a web application).
  2. The relying party redirects the end-user to the OpenID Provider (IdP) to initiate the authentication process.
  3. The end-user authenticates with the OpenID Provider, usually by providing their credentials (e.g., username and password).
  4. Upon successful authentication, the OpenID Provider generates an ID token, which is a JSON Web Token (JWT) containing information about the end-user, and optionally an access token for accessing protected resources.
  5. The end-user is redirected back to the relying party with the ID token (and access token, if applicable).
  6. The relying party verifies the ID token, extracts the end-user information, and establishes a session for the end user.
  7. The end-user can now access the relying party’s protected resources.

The OpenID Connect Discovery Document URL

The Discovery Document URL is a key component of the OpenID Connect protocol. It is an endpoint that returns a JSON object containing essential configuration information to help clients interact with the identity provider (IdP) for authentication and token exchange. This information includes endpoints, supported scopes, claims, and public keys.

When using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) as the IdP, the Discovery Document URL has the following format:{your-tenant-id}/v2.0/.well-known/openid-configuration

Make sure to replace {your-tenant-id} with your Azure AD tenant ID or use “common” if it’s a multi-tenant application.

For example, if your Azure AD tenant ID is “d0b109cb-ca06-419b-a7a3-147c7d096087”, the Discovery Document URL would be:

Opening this URL in a web browser or making an HTTP GET request will return a JSON object containing various OpenID Connect configuration details. These details include the authorization endpoint, token endpoint, userinfo endpoint, and other information that clients need to implement OpenID Connect authentication.

When configuring an OpenID Connect client, such as the OpenID Connect Generic Client plugin for WordPress or custom applications, it is important to provide the Discovery Document URL to help the client obtain the necessary configuration information for interacting with Azure AD.

Benefits of OpenID Connect

  • Simplified User Experience: By enabling users to authenticate with a single set of credentials, OpenID Connect reduces the need for multiple usernames and passwords, resulting in a more streamlined user experience.
  • Enhanced Security: OpenID Connect centralizes the authentication process through trusted identity providers, decreasing the risk of unauthorized access and improving overall security.
  • Interoperability: OpenID Connect Connect is designed for web and mobile applications, making it easy to integrate with a wide range of platforms and technologies.
  • Scalability: As OpenID Connect is built on top of OAuth 2.0, it can easily be extended to support additional features and use cases.


OpenID Connect has emerged as a popular and widely adopted standard for user authentication due to its simplicity, interoperability, and ease of integration with various applications. By leveraging OIDC, developers can create a more seamless and secure user experience, while users benefit from reduced password fatigue and increased convenience. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, OpenID Connect will play a pivotal role in simplifying and enhancing user authentication across the web and mobile platforms.