Choosing your authentication provider

Stytch vs. AWS Cognito

Cognito may be sufficient for those looking to build simple authentication flows centered around passwords and social OAuth logins. In particular, Cognito may appeal to companies already using AWS and looking for a basic low-cost solution.
However, many companies may quickly outgrow Cognito - Stytch may be a better solution if you’re looking for more advanced authentication features, maximum flexibility with your backend stack, and more hands-on support.

A quick summary

Authentication solutions

Stytch
Cognito
Passwords
Supported
Supported
One-Time Passcodes (OTP)
Supported
  • Support for OTP via SMS, email, and Whatsapp.
  • Redundant SMS providers included for failover delivery
Supported
  • OTP via SMS only
  • Relies on Amazon SNS only for SMS delivery
Email Magic Links
Supported
Not supported
Social OAuth
Supported
  • 18+ social identity providers
  • Built-in support for Google One-Tap
  • Generic OIDC providers not supported
Supported
  • Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple supported
  • Generic OIDC providers supported
Biometrics
Supported
  • WebAuthn support
  • Native biometrics on Apple devices via an iOS SDK
  • Passkeys (a technology built upon WebAuthn)
Not supported
Time-based OTP (authenticator apps)
Supported
Supported
Web3 Logins
Supported
Not supported
Device Fingerprinting
Supported
Not supported
SAML Single Sign On (SSO)
Supported
Supported
Machine-to-machine
Not supported
Supported
Role-based access control (RBAC)
Partially supported
  • Not supported out-of-the-box, but can be implemented with Stytch’s API (example)
Supported
  • Not supported out-of-the-box, but can be implemented with Lambdas

Developer experience

Stytch
Cognito
Frontend UI
  • Flexibility to use pre-built UI components, a headless JavaScript and native mobile SDKs, whitelabel UI, or direct access to the Stytch API for full customization.
  • Hosted UI with limited customizations available; redirect to Cognito or custom domain required. Access to direct User Pool API also available for full customization.
SDKs
  • Native frontend SDKs for iOS, Android, React Native, and JavaScript (React and Vanilla JS).
  • Backend SDKs in Python, Ruby, Go, and Node.
  • Stytch’s Direct API makes it simple to integrate in any language.
  • Javascript SDK as well as AWS Amplify SDKs (JS, iOS, Android)
Integrations
  • Limited number of third-party integrations.
  • Integrations with AWS services.
Support
  • USA-based support via community Slack, direct email, and Forum.
  • Step-by-step integration help and highly available support during integration and beyond.
  • Various AWS support plans available, ranging from Developer to Enterprise.

Pricing

Stytch
Cognito
Free usage
  • First 2,000 monthly active users
  • 25 active organizations and 1,000 active members for SSO
  • 50,000 MAU
  • 50 MAU for SSO
Pay-as-you-go rate
  • $0.05/MAU
  • $1.00/monthly active organization and $0.10/monthly active member for SSO
  • Discounts available as you scale
  • Tiers starting at $0.0055/MAU
Single Sign On
  • $1.00/monthly active organization
  • $0.10/monthly active member
  • $0.015/MAU for SSO
Fraud and risk features
  • Password breach detection and step-up MFA features included by default.
  • Device Fingerprinting features available in beta (device group classification, unique identifiers, suggested actions).
  • “Advanced Security” features starting at $0.050/MAU (password breach detection and adaptive authentication).

A more detailed comparison

Product coverage

One of the major differences between Stytch and Cognito is product coverage and the flexibility of authentication methods available. Fundamentally, Cognito only offers passwords and social OAuth logins as primary factors, so a truly passwordless experience is not possible. Cognito may work well for those already using AWS services and looking for basic login features, but those looking for more advanced authentication features such as biometrics, email magic links, or additional social OAuth providers like Slack, Discord, or Twitter will find that Stytch offers a wider breadth of solutions.
Moreover, Stytch’s API-first approach allows for maximum flexibility, enabling you to build more nuanced, custom authentication logic like just-in-time step-up challenges. On the other hand, Cognito’s “Advanced Security'' features only support MFA via SMS and TOTP (with some limited ability to build more custom flows with Challenge Lambda triggers). Furthermore, whereas one needs to add on Cognito’s “Advanced Security” features to check for compromised credentials, Stytch’s Passwords product has breach detection and strength assessment built-in.
In addition to authentication, Stytch also offers highly flexible fraud tools like Device Fingerprinting, which leverages a broad set of nuanced parameters that allow you to build more fine-grained logic around how to treat traffic by risk level. Moreover, these anti-bot and fraud prevention capabilities are embedded natively on Stytch’s platform, reducing the need to rely on additional security vendors.
Lastly, many of Stytch’s products are built with edge cases in mind. For example, Stytch partners with multiple SMS/email providers, so one-time passcodes and email magic links have automatic failover protection to offer you maximum uptime and redundancy. Similarly, Stytch automatically deduplicates users who attempt to authenticate via multiple login methods.

Approach to flexibility and scalability

Cognito’s Hosted UI
The standard way to implement Cognito is using their “Hosted UI,” a Cognito-owned modal that handles password and OAuth-based logins with some customization available. Because the UI is Cognito-hosted, it requires redirecting users away from your page/app, authenticating them on Cognito or a custom domain, then returning them to your page/app, which may hurt conversion.
Stytch's flexible SDKs
The easiest way to implement Stytch is using a frontend SDK (JavaScript, React Native, iOS) and either using a pre-built UI flow or custom-building your own with headless SDK methods (not available with Cognito). Unlike Cognito’s Hosted UI, there is no redirect involved, and since you fully own the login page, there is a broader range of customization available. Fully owning the UI/UX is also possible using Stytch’s API directly.
Why you might choose Cognito's approach
Cognito’s Hosted UI may work well for those looking for a simple login page offering passwords and social OAuth with basic customization options. Some additional (though limited) custom logic can be implemented via Lambda triggers. Because the UI is Cognito-hosted, you have limited control over the performance, look-and-feel, and potential (breaking) changes to the login experience.
Why you might choose Stytch's approach
Stytch’s approach may be a better fit for those seeking more flexibility and full control, both over the look-and-feel of the UI/UX and any nuanced authentication logic you’re looking to layer on, enabling tighter integration with your stack. The lack of a redirect also typically offers a more seamless, higher-converting user experience (Lighthouse improved conversion by 60% after switching to Stytch).

Approach to product development and support

Cognito is a relatively small part of the broader AWS platform. In contrast, Stytch as a whole is focused on authentication, identity, and access management, meaning the company’s attention and resources are directed towards building and maintaining this core functionality. Whereas one may find it hard to access the latest authentication innovations or receive timely support with Cognito, Stytch’s sole focus on authentication means product resources are devoted to continued expansion of Stytch’s solution suite to keep up with the latest technologies, and support resources are similarly devoted to customers’ authentication issues and use cases.

Approach to pricing

In general, you’ll find that Cognito comes out to a lower cost on a per-unit basis. There is a generous free tier with low pay-as-you-go rates for additional usage. However, fast-growing companies may also find that they quickly outgrow Cognito’s more limited product offerings and technical support.
Stytch’s per-unit pricing is higher in general, though products tend to be more fully-featured than Cognito’s. Moreover, generous volume discounts are available via a high-touch and collaborative sales process. Given Stytch’s greater focus on product development and support, you’ll also find more robust and up-to-date product features as well as more responsive support.