HOTP vs TOTP: Differences and advantages


Digitalization has truly made life much easier; you can access what you wish for from the comfort of your homes, from the convenience of your phones and laptops. While the internet and the advancement in technology are great blessings in this era, security becomes a point of concern. However, this too comes with a solution; the solution which we call OTP or a one-time password. At some point, you as a user have also used an OTP before making a payment or logging into a website that opens on the web. OTPs are usually used as a part of the two-factor authentication process. 

A one-time password or OTP is simple and provides the right kind of security. As the name suggests it is a one-time secret key that is sent to your mobile via SMS, Email, or Call, this is a code of 4-6 digits that you have to enter. Typically, once you have used this password, it is not valid to use anymore. While choosing and thinking about integrating an OTP authentication system on your own platform you must know how it works, and which one you think would be the best for you. The first and foremost is to understand that an OTP is generated through an algorithm, which uses two inputs to generate it i.e., the seed and the moving factor. The seed is what is generated when you create an account at the authentication server it is a static value, and the moving factor is what changes every time. To understand this better, let us look at how the type of OTP changes with the moving factor. 


What is TOTP?

TOTP or time-based one-time-password as the name suggests is bound by time. This means that if the password is not used in the time frame that is mentioned, it will no longer be valid to use. The time limit that is mentioned is known as the timestep. A timestep is usually given a duration of 30-180 seconds, if you do not enter it within this time the password will then be invalid. Here the moving factor is changing based on time. 

What is HOTP?

A little different from TOTP the HOTP is also a one-time password. HOTP stands for Hash-based one-time password. In such a password, the code that is sent remains valid till the next code is generated. It is not based on a period of time but rather for the time you do not as for another code. It is based on a counter which is the moving factor of HOTPs. 

What is the difference between the two?

While both are forms of OTP the difference between the two is the moving factor. Considering that the TOTP is time-based, its timestep here becomes the moving factor and on the other hand for the HOTP the moving factor is the counter, as mentioned above. 

A Few Advantages

Security: Among the two kinds of passwords, the TOTP offers a better opportunity for security since it is time-based, this will ensure that no one can re-use the OTP ensuring the safety of the user. 

User-friendly: HOTP on the other hand provides a user-friendly interface since the user can enter the password at their own convenience. They are not bound by time or anything else to enter the password. So, if you are doing a transaction and get an important call at the same time, you can take your call and come back to the OTP, and it will still be valid. 

All being said everything has its advantages and its disadvantages; one of the major disadvantages of OTP is that it works only when one has a network, if your service provider or your internet does not have coverage, you will not be able to receive an OTP. But at the same time, this is where HOTPs may also come in handy, you may be able to receive the OTP once you get coverage again and can use a HOTP. 

When it comes to the security of the customer, we at MTalkz understand that it is the topmost priority. We offer our OTP authentication and generation services and guarantee utmost security and OTP generation under 15 seconds. We also offer external OTP generation for financial transactions and banks. To get yourself the best security and quick OTP generation get in touch with MTalkz and choose the type your business and company needs now!

Erric Ravi
Erric Ravi
Erric Ravi is an entrepreneur, speaker & the founder of Storify News and Gurgaon Times of India He is the Co-Founder of The Storify News Times. He was born and raised in Gurgaon, India, where he developed an early interest in technology and the internet. After completing his Bachelor's degree in Information Technology from a reputed university, Erric began his career as an SEO specialist. He quickly made a name for himself in the industry by staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and techniques, and he soon gained a reputation as a skilled and knowledgeable expert in the field.


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