Authentication vs. Authorization

Niklas Klein
2 min readFeb 11, 2023


I’ve probably looked up what the difference is between authentication and authorization over a hundred times, but I just can never remember and always get them mixed up. But that seemed like a good question for ChatGPT instead of digging through bloated blog articles.

Me: What’s the difference between Authentication and Authorization?

ChatGPT: Authentication and authorization are related concepts but serve different purposes in the context of access control.

Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user, device, or system. The goal of authentication is to ensure that the entity claiming to be who or what it is, actually is who or what it claims to be. This is typically done through the use of credentials such as a username and password, a fingerprint, a smart card, or a certificate.

Authorization, on the other hand, is the process of determining whether an authenticated entity has the right to access a specific resource or perform a specific action. It’s the process of granting or denying access to a user based on their identity and the rights and privileges associated with that identity.

In summary, authentication is about identifying who the user is, while authorization is about what the user is allowed to do.

That’s a great answer, and I’ll probably come back here frequently to re-read the explanation. But I think what I would really need is a mnemonic.

Me: Tell me a mnemonic to avoid confusing the two concepts

ChatGPT: A mnemonic that can help you remember the difference between authentication and authorization is “AUTHorization follows AuTHENTication”.

The mnemonic suggests that authentication is the first step in the process, which is verifying the identity of a user, device, or system. Once the identity has been established, the next step is authorization, which determines what the authenticated entity is allowed to access or do.