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Amazon Cognito vs Firebase: What are the differences?


In the world of cloud services, Amazon Cognito and Firebase are two popular options that provide authentication, authorization, and user management capabilities. While both platforms offer similar functionalities, there are key differences that set them apart.

  1. Scalability and Integration: Amazon Cognito is tightly integrated with other Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings, allowing seamless integration with various cloud services. On the other hand, Firebase is a Google product and is well-integrated with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services. The choice between the two depends on the existing cloud infrastructure and services being used.

  2. Pricing Model: Amazon Cognito operates on a pay-as-you-go model, where users are charged based on their monthly active users and specific features utilized. Firebase, on the other hand, provides a generous free tier with limited usage and offers additional pricing plans based on usage and additional features required. The pricing model of the platforms should be carefully evaluated to choose the most cost-effective option.

  3. Authentication Options: Amazon Cognito offers a wide range of authentication options, including social identity providers (such as Facebook, Google, etc.), username/password-based authentication, and multi-factor authentication. Firebase also provides similar authentication methods but additionally offers phone authentication using SMS verification. The authentication options provided by each platform should be assessed based on the specific needs of the application.

  4. Extended Functionality: Apart from authentication and user management, both Amazon Cognito and Firebase provide additional functionalities. Amazon Cognito offers features such as data synchronization, offloading backend complexity, and fine-grained access control using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies. Firebase, on the other hand, offers real-time database capabilities, cloud functions, and analytics integration. The choice between the platforms should consider the need for these extended functionalities.

  5. User Pool and Real-time Database: Amazon Cognito primarily focuses on managing user pools and provides limited support for real-time databases. Firebase, on the other hand, is built around real-time databases with seamless integration with other Firebase services. Choosing between the two platforms should consider the emphasis on user pools or real-time database requirements.

  6. Developer Community and Support: Both Amazon Cognito and Firebase have active developer communities and provide comprehensive documentation and support resources. However, Firebase, being a Google product, has a more extensive community and support ecosystem, including various blogs, forums, and tutorials. The community and support availability should be taken into consideration for ease of development and troubleshooting.

**In Summary, Amazon Cognito and Firebase differ in terms of scalability, integration, pricing, authentication options, extended functionality, emphasis on user pools or real-time databases, and developer community and support. Careful evaluation of these differences is essential to choose the most suitable platform for specific application requirements.

Advice on Amazon Cognito and Firebase
Needs advice

We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.

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Replies (3)
Timothy Malstead
Junior Full Stack Developer at Freelance · | 7 upvotes · 456.4K views

I would recommend looking hard into Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.

The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.

Node.js Express MongoDB Socket.IO and Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.

Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your React application instead of other parts of your stack, Firebase is a great way to do that.

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Hello Noam 👋,

I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.

Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase

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Hey Noam,

I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.

Thanks, Ilya

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Decisions about Amazon Cognito and Firebase
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 Firebase
  • 14
    Backed by Amazon
  • 7
    Manage Unique Identities
  • 4
    Work Offline
  • 3
  • 2
    Store and Sync
  • 1
    Free for first 50000 users
  • 1
    It works
  • 1
    Integrate with Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, SAML
  • 1
    SDKs and code samples
  • 371
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 270
    Fast and responsive
  • 242
    Easy setup
  • 215
  • 191
  • 134
  • 128
    Backed by google
  • 83
    Angular adaptor
  • 68
  • 36
    Great customer support
  • 32
    Great documentation
  • 25
    Real-time synchronization
  • 21
    Mobile friendly
  • 18
    Rapid prototyping
  • 14
    Great security
  • 12
    Automatic scaling
  • 11
    Freakingly awesome
  • 8
    Super fast development
  • 8
    Angularfire is an amazing addition!
  • 8
  • 6
    Built in user auth/oauth
  • 6
    Ios adaptor
  • 6
    Awesome next-gen backend
  • 6
    Firebase hosting
  • 4
    Speed of light
  • 4
    Very easy to use
  • 3
  • 3
    It's made development super fast
  • 3
    Brilliant for startups
  • 2
    The concurrent updates create a great experience
  • 2
    Push notification
  • 2
  • 2
    Cloud functions
  • 2
    Free hosting
  • 2
    Free authentication solution
  • 2
    JS Offline and Sync suport
  • 2
    Low battery consumption
  • 2
    I can quickly create static web apps with no backend
  • 2
    Great all-round functionality
  • 1
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
    Free SSL
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
    Google's support
  • 1
    CDN & cache out of the box
  • 1
    Easy Reactjs integration
  • 1
    Simple and easy
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1

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Cons of Amazon Cognito
Cons of Firebase
  • 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
    Different Language SDKs not compatible
  • 1
    No recovery codes for MFA
  • 1
    Hard to find expiration times for tokens/codes
  • 1
    Only paid support
  • 31
    Can become expensive
  • 16
    No open source, you depend on external company
  • 15
    Scalability is not infinite
  • 9
    Not Flexible Enough
  • 7
    Cant filter queries
  • 3
    Very unstable server
  • 3
    No Relational Data
  • 2
    Too many errors
  • 2
    No offline sync

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What is Amazon Cognito?

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.

What is Firebase?

Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

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