OAuth is short for “Open Authorization” and it is an open standard for user management. Anyone can use the OAuth protocols and frameworks. You can find OAuth services available via small WordPress plugins and also large multinational companies.
For example, when you sign up for an app it may offer the chance to login using Google, Facebook, Microsoft, or other accounts. There's a good chance that those connections are powered by OAuth. The best thing thing about this connections is that OAuth won't share your password details. When you use OAuth to connect, you are only giving that service limited data and access to your account.
In this guide, I'll introduce to some types of WordPress OAuth plugins and integrations available for your WordPress site.
WordPress OAuth and Facebook / Google / Twitter
There's a whole category of OAuth plugins that allow users to login to your WordPress website using Facebook, Google, Twitter or other accounts.
A good example of this is the Nextend Social Login plugin. Your visitors can register on your site using their profile on a social media site. This saves them time because they don't need to fill out the default registration form or wait for validation emails. And going forward, it's one less username and password for them to keep track of. It is OAuth that is connecting your website to Facebook, Twitter or other services.
WordPress OAuth and Single-Sign On
Another category of WordPress OAuth plugins are those that connect to Single-Sign On (SSO) services.
An example of this type of SSO plugin is from Mini Orange. This plugin connects your WordPress site to Azure, Office 365, Amazon Web Services, Clever, Okta, and more. If you have all your users registered with one of these services, you can allow them to log in to your WordPress site.
A popular example of this is when a company runs on Google Apps. Everyone already has a company GMail account, so it makes sense to connect that service to your WordPress site. Your users can login to Google and WordPress with the same credentials.
WordPress OAuth and Email
A third class of WordPress OAuth plugin is the email service. For example, the Gmail SMTP plugin uses OAuth so you can send email via Gmail. The connection for this kind of service still uses OAuth, but it is often a little more involved. For example, with Google you can't just login using your Gmail credentials, but you also need to create a project in Google Developers Console. These extra steps are required to prevent spammers from abusing the email sending platforms.