Passwordless Authentication with Magic Links

Remembering complex passwords, each used only for a specific website, only to forget them later and use the forgotten password functionality has pushed towards the shift to passwordless authentication.

Passwordless authentication is a trend among emerging SaaS products. At the same time, many established platforms are transitioning to passwordless authentication as well.

Our experience at Future-proof software shows too, that clients nowadays favor the convinience of passwordless authentication over traditional authentication with username and password.

Understanding passwordless authentication

Passwordless authentication is a method that allows you to authenticate on a platform without a password, thus eliminating the need for a password at all. The approach uses a special link (often called magic login link) that is sent straight to your e-mail inbox. Upon clicking on this link, you are automatically redirected and authenticated on the plaform.

As only you are supposed to have access to your e-mail inbox, it is only you, who can see and use this link.

The magic login link contains a special code: think of a one-time password, or a random shared secret between you and the platform. Therefore, upon opening the link, the platform is able to recognize and authenticate you. Typically, the magic link would be valid only for a limited time and can be used only once.

Some passwordless authentication approaches use also other means beside e-mail, for example SMS or push notifications.


The benefits of implementing and using magic login are improved user experience and security-related advantages.

Enhanced user experience

Passwordless systems simplify the user journey from registration to daily access. They eliminate the need for password creation, which in turn significantly reduces the registration barrier and speeds up the process. This could potentially boost user acquisition and retention.

When authenticated with a magic login link, the platforms are typically using longer sessions for the given device, so you do not need to reauthenticate very often. This boosts the convinence to use the platform on a regular basis.

In addition, use of magic login links can decrease the efforts of your support team — it has been reported that 50% of the support tickets are password-related.

Increased security

Passwordless authentication makes it impossible to steal your password, as there is no password to be stolen.

By using magic login links organizations do not need to worry about safely storing passwords or password management practices in general. The shift towards zero password breaches is of a great advantage for reputation in the context of digital security.

Drawbacks and risks

Despite its benefits, passwordless authentication is directly dependent on the security of the e-mail provider and also the e-mail password. For example, having a weak e-mail password could allow someone to access your mailbox, which in turn could compromise your passwordless account in other platforms as well. Mitigating these risks requires educating users on secure practices.

A potential risk is also the e-mail message with the magic login link landing in spam or event not being delivered at all. This could prohibit your users from being able to access the platform at all. This requires businesses to make sure that the e-mail services they use are reliable and with good reputation.

Some platforms therefore decide to offer a combined approach — they support both authentication with credentials and magic links. Notification e-mails from the platform would usually contain magic links, so the user can land directly on the desired page and already logged-in, whereas login on the website is performed with traditional credentials.

Future of authentication

The authentication landscape is evolving, with passwordless methods slowly becoming the status-quo. We can expect a seamless integration of authentication processes into our daily digital interactions, making them more intuitive, secure, and accessible for users everywhere.