Jan 9, 2010
I'm creating a PHP website which involves users signing up, and I'm wondering about best practices for "email confirmation" codes.New users must confirm their email addresses - I do this by generating a code and sending it to the user in an email, which he can then use to activate his account. Rather than storing this key in a database, I'm using a handy little workaround: the code is the result of:
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Where $timestamp refers to the user-creation time. On the whole I was quite pleased with this, but then I got to thinking, is this secure enough? And what about the possibility of collisions? And I also need to generate codes for password reset, etc. If I used a similar methodology, a collision could result in one user inadvertently resetting another user's password. And that's no good.So how do you do these things? My thoughts was a table of the following format:
codePK (int, a-I), userID (int), type (int), code (varchar 32), date (timestamp)
Where 'type' would be 1, 2 or 3 meaning "activation", "email change" or "password reset". Is this a good way of doing it? Do you have a better way?Using a method similar to the above, could I automatically delete anything over two days old without using cron-jobs? My host (nearlyfreespeech.net) does not support them. If at all possible I'd like to avoid having a cron-job on an external host which wget's a script which deletes things, as that's just messy =P.
Update: To clarify: I've realized the only way to securely and safely go about this task is by using a database, which is what the original function was trying to avoid. My question is on how the table (or tables?) should be structured. Somebody suggested I do away with codePK and just make the code a PK. So in short, my question is: is this what you do?