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Firebase Authentication vs Passport: What are the differences?

Authentication Services: Firebase Authentication vs Passport

Firebase Authentication and Passport are both popular authentication services used in web development but they have key differences in their approach and functionality. Here are 6 key differences between Firebase Authentication and Passport:

  1. Integration with Backend Technologies: Firebase Authentication is a complete authentication service that provides an out-of-the-box solution for user authentication, including integrations with common backend technologies such as Firebase Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore. On the other hand, Passport is a middleware authentication library for Node.js that can be integrated with any backend framework or database, giving developers more flexibility in choosing their backend technologies.

  2. Authentication Providers: Firebase Authentication supports a wide range of authentication providers including email/password, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others. It provides pre-built UI components for easy integration with these providers. In contrast, Passport is authentication middleware that provides a modular approach for implementing multiple authentication providers. Developers can choose and configure specific authentication strategies to support different providers based on their requirements.

  3. Server-side vs Client-side Authentication: Firebase Authentication primarily handles authentication on the client-side by providing SDKs for various platforms (web, iOS, Android, etc.). It manages user sessions and authentication tokens seamlessly. Passport, on the other hand, is primarily designed for server-side authentication. It provides middleware functions to authenticate requests and store session data.

  4. Scalability and Performance: Firebase Authentication is a cloud-based service provided by Google, making it highly scalable and performant. It can handle large volumes of authentication requests and provides reliable session management. Passport, being a middleware library, relies on the scalability and performance of the underlying server or framework it is integrated with.

  5. Customization and Flexibility: Firebase Authentication provides a straightforward workflow for user authentication with minimal configuration. It comes with pre-built UI components and customizable UI templates to match the app's look and feel. Passport, on the other hand, gives developers more control and flexibility in implementing custom authentication flows and user interfaces. It allows developers to choose their own UI libraries or design patterns.

  6. Community and Ecosystem: Firebase Authentication is part of the Firebase suite of products offered by Google. It has a large and active community of developers, extensive documentation, and official support from Google. Passport, being an open-source library, has a wider ecosystem and community support from the Node.js and JavaScript community. It also has a variety of strategies and plugins developed by the community that can be used for different authentication scenarios.

In Summary, Firebase Authentication provides a comprehensive and seamless authentication solution with pre-built integrations and UI components, suitable for rapid application development and access to Google's infrastructure. Passport, on the other hand, offers a more flexible and customizable approach, enabling developers to integrate authentication with any backend framework or database and providing greater control over the authentication process.

Advice on Firebase Authentication 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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Pros of Firebase Authentication
Pros of Passport
  • 12
    Completely Free
  • 8
    Native App + Web integrations
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
    Works seemlessly with other Firebase Services
  • 5
    Integration with OAuth Providers
  • 4
    Anonymous Users
  • 4
    Easy to Integrate and Manage
  • 1
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    Cons of Firebase Authentication
    Cons of Passport
    • 6
      Heavy webpack
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      - No public GitHub repository available -

      What is Firebase Authentication?

      It provides backend services, easy-to-use SDKs, and ready-made UI libraries to authenticate users to your app. It supports authentication using passwords, phone numbers, popular federated identity providers like Google,

      What is Passport?

      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.

      Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

      What companies use Firebase Authentication?
      What companies use Passport?
      See which teams inside your own company are using Firebase Authentication or Passport.
      Sign up for StackShare EnterpriseLearn More

      Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

      What tools integrate with Firebase Authentication?
      What tools integrate with Passport?

      Blog Posts

      Sep 29 2020 at 7:36PM


      PythonSlackG Suite+17
      What are some alternatives to Firebase Authentication and Passport?
      A set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enables Single Sign On and user management to all your applications.
      MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
      Connect all your apps in days, not months, with instant access to thousands of pre-built integrations - even add apps to the network yourself. Integrations are easy to set up, constantly monitored, proactively repaired and handle authentication and provisioning.
      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.
      It is an Open Source Identity and Access Management For Modern Applications and Services. It adds authentication to applications and secure services with minimum fuss. No need to deal with storing users or authenticating users. It's all available out of the box.
      See all alternatives