Sep 16, 2021
Sep 16, 2021
Learn about “forgot password” flows, how they work, and the best practices to keep in mind.
Just about every software application today relies on individual user accounts to provide people with a personalized and private experience. However, as “software eats the world,” the average user is managing an increasing number of accounts. Practically every online store, social media platform, SaaS product, newsletter, game, and group requires users to create an online account with a username and password. The average American adult has a total of 130 online accounts — and they all need to be kept secure, which exacerbates an already all-too-common problem: lost and forgotten passwords.
That’s why most apps offer password reset flows. This essential workflow allows users to reclaim their accounts while maintaining their security and privacy. Keep reading to learn about “forgot password” flows, how they work, and the best practices to keep in mind.
If you’ve ever had to reset a password, you’ve gone through a “forgot password” flow. Users go through this self-service process to reset their passwords and reclaim their accounts. Any website, app, or other account that relies on passwords for security should have some kind of reset flow.
Why? Because users are prone to forgetting their passwords. It’s also common for people to forget their accounts entirely or change devices and lose their saved passwords. Without some way for users to quickly and easily reset passwords and reclaim accounts, you may lose users, have to support multiple accounts for the same user, and/or deal with an overwhelming number of “forgot password” support requests.
Password resets can be manual or automatic. Manual resets rely on the user reaching out to support by email or phone. The support team member asks them some kind of security or verification questions and resets their password accordingly. However, manual flows mean that a significant percentage of your support tickets will be password resets, taking up your staff’s valuable time. Additionally, manual verification is often less secure than an automated process, and can be especially frustrating for a user that needs access quickly.
The alternative is to implement a self-service password reset (SSPR) process. These automated workflows allow users to reset their passwords or reclaim their accounts without human intervention. They’re used by most websites, apps, and other password-protected systems to streamline the security process. Your support staff won’t need to spend time answering password reset claims and can focus on more important work.
Each type of self-service flow works a little differently. For example:
While password reset systems are essential, they can be a complex feature to implement on your own. Rolling your own password reset process means dealing with:
If your team has more pressing features to focus on than creating a password recovery flow, Clerk can eliminate the guesswork (and real work) of user management and authentication. Clerk makes it easy to add complete user management to your app in minutes today, while allowing you to easily make changes and add new features in the future.
Start completely free for up to 5,000 monthly active users and up to 10 monthly active orgs. No credit card required.
Learn more about our transparent per-user costs to estimate how much your company could save by implementing Clerk.
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