WordPress 5.6 to Introduce Application Passwords for REST API Authentication

In 2015, WordPress 4.4 introduced a REST API, but one thing that has severely limited its broader use is the lack of authentication capabilities for third-party applications. After considering the benefits and drawbacks of many different types of authentication systems, George Stephanis published a proposal for integrating Application Passwords, into core.

Stephanis highlighted a few of the major benefit that were important factors in the decision to use Application Passwords: the ease of making API requests, ease of revoking credentials, and the ease of requesting API credentials. The project is available as a standalone feature plugin, but Stephanis and his collaborators recommended WordPress merge a pull request that is based off the feature plugin’s codebase.

After WordPress 5.6 core tech lead Helen Hou-Sandi gave the green light for Application Passwords to be merged into core, the developer community responded enthusiastically to the news.

“I am/we are 100% in favor of this,” Joost deValk commented on the proposal. “Opening this up is like opening the dawn of a new era of WordPress based web applications. Suddenly authentication is not something you need to fix when working with the API and you can just build awesome stuff.”

Stephanis’ proposal also mentioned how beneficial a REST API authentication system would be for the Mobile teams‘ contributors who are relying on awkward workarounds while integrating Gutenberg support.

“This would be a first step to replace the use of XMLRPC in the mobile apps and it would allow us to add more features for self hosted users,” Automattic mobile engineer Maxime Biais said.

After the REST API was added to WordPress five years ago, many had the expectation that WordPress-based web applications would start popping up everywhere. Without a reliable authentication system, it wasn’t easy for developers to just get inspired and build something quickly. Application Passwords in WordPress 5.6 will open up a lot of possibilities for those who were previously deterred by the lack of core methods for authenticating third-party access.

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9 responses to “WordPress 5.6 to Introduce Application Passwords for REST API Authentication”

  1. M says:

    This is uber-awesome! The implementation is really nice. A big thank you to all the team behind the plugin and thank you to the 5.6 leads for green-lighting this.
    Why not integrate the Two-Factor feature plugin as well?

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  2. This has been missing for way too long. Game changer indeed.

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  3. Stephanis always leads the way! Great news!!

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  4. Justin says:

    REST API responses on WordPress have quite a high latency as WordPress loads all core and theme files on every response. Is there anything in the roadmap to address this? Even on a cloud-hosted site requests suffer 2000-4000ms response time whereas

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    • wzy says:

      This is the main reason why the WP REST API hasn’t taken off, especially for devs coming from other frameworks.

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    • Boris says:

      In my experience from working with headless WordPress setups, a simple REST API request can take as little as ~80ms. But I work with customized WP installations using a minimal amount of plugins.

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  5. We can use the application password without using actual user password.

    See the step by step practice guide of application password in URL https://maheshwaghmare.com/doc/application-passwords/

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