Maintain Your Identity with phpMyID

You hate maintaining a bunch of user names and passwords for the tens or even hundreds of sites on which you have accounts. I haven’t even bothered to phrase that as a question, because I know it’s true. It’s such a common problem that a group of people and companies came up with a scheme called OpenID. Sites that support OpenID check with your specified authentication source, rather than asking you to authenticate with them individually.

Of course, you still need an authentication source, or provider. This leaves you dependent on some site’s authentication scheme, and requires that you maintain an account with said site, even if you no longer want to use their service. This is analogous to using an email address to log into everything, and later deciding you don’t want to keep that email address. For example, LiveJournal accounts may be used for OpenID authentication. Imagine that you’ve established accounts on a bunch of sites, and then decide you hate LiveJournal. You then have to find a new provider, and transfer or re-create all of your other accounts.

This sort of eliminates the point of OpenID, and is one of the reasons Microsoft’s borg-like Passport / Live ID was and is doomed to failure as a universal authentication mechanism. Who wants their entire online life to be at the mercy of Microsoft?

Why not just run your own OpenID server? Don’t let a lack of programming knowledge, or knowledge of the technical details of OpenID stop you — someone has already taken care of that stuff. You can install phpMyID on a hosted web account or your own server. To truly gain the advantage of a permanent online ID, you’ll probably want to make sure you have a domain name you can keep regardless of the web hosting provider (such as

The big downside of doing this is that it will most certainly link all of your online accounts to each other. So, if you’re doing nefarious things, they may come back to haunt you. I use the same username pretty much everywhere, derived from my real name — in the end it helps to keep me honest and keeps my internal Internet Asshole from coming out too much.

I won’t go into the details of installing phpMyID here — the software’s website does that pretty well. If you have any questions about how I’ve set mine up, feel free to ask in the comments or by any of the methods here.