What is Persona?

This article is no longer maintained, so its content might be out of date.

As of November 30th 2016, the persona.org service is no longer supported and is shutting down. Persona.org and related domains will be taken offline before the end of 2016.

What is Persona?

Persona is a new way to sign in to websites. With Persona, you can:

  • sign in to websites using your email address and a password
  • use a single password to sign in to any website that supports Persona
  • use multiple email addresses, and choose which address you want to use with each website

Persona has been designed from the ground up to protect your privacy and put you in control of how your data is shared. It works on all major desktop, smartphone, and tablet browsers.

Sign in with your email address

With Persona your username is your email address.

You can use any email address, as long as it's one you own - you have to prove you own it. You can use more than one email address: so you could use your work email address to sign in to work-related accounts and your personal address to sign in to personal accounts.

No new passwords

Most of us have several websites we sign in to, and many of us have dozens of them. It's very difficult to remember a separate strong password for each site. Using the same password for every site is easier, but it means that if one site is hacked, the attacker could get access to all your other accounts.

Persona is different:

  • If your email provider supports Persona, you can sign in to any Persona-enabled website without needing any new passwords at all.
  • If your email provider doesn't support Persona, you'll need one new password for all sites.

Either way, you never send a password to the websites you're signing in to. You sign in to your email provider or the Persona service instead, and then you can sign in to websites without giving them a password.

With Persona you get the best of both worlds: a single password for all websites, but because the websites never see your password, it can't be stolen if a site you sign in to gets hacked.

Persona takes privacy seriously

Many of our interactions on the web involve sharing and exchanging personal data. As we do so, we enable the companies that provide web services to collect, correlate, and sell information about us in ways we can't control.

Mozilla wants to give the user control over the data they share, and an identity system - Persona - is the first building block. There are other identity systems, such as Facebook Connect, in which you can sign in to multiple sites with a single password, but they rarely respect your privacy. With those systems, the website has to "phone home" to the provider - Facebook, for example - which is then able to compile information about your browsing habits for its own purposes.

We've designed Persona from the start so that's not necessary. At the moment, Mozilla's Persona service does get to see which websites you sign in to, but we're working on removing this requirement, and in future versions of Persona nobody will be able to track which websites you visit.

Not just Firefox

Persona works where you do, it's not just for Firefox users. You can use Persona on the desktop with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Opera; on iPhones and iPads with the Mobile Safari; and on Android phones and tablets with Firefox and Chrome.

These fine people helped write this article: Tonnes, wbamberg, Joni. You can help too - find out how.