Authentication from Scratch : Password Reset Feature


To allow users to reset their password when they forget their password


To reset a password, the user goes through these steps:

  1. The user requests a password reset
  2. An email is sent to the user with instructions
  3. The user verifies their identity by using the link in the email
  4. The user is presented with a simple form for updating the password


Step 1

Add a column called perishable_token to your table. It is a temporary string. It is used for simple identification. Generate the migration:

$rails g migration add_perishable_token_to_users

Step 2

The migration contents:

class AddPerishableTokenToUsers < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    add_column :users, :perishable_token, :string, :default => "", :null => false
    add_index :users, :perishable_token

Step 3

Migrate the database:

$ rake db:migrate

Step 4

$ rails generate controller password_resets

Step 5

class PasswordResetsController < ApplicationController
  def new


Step 6

Create app/views/password_resets/new.html.erb:

<h1>Reset Password</h1>

<p>Please enter your email address below and then click "Reset Password".</p>

<%= form_tag password_resets_path do %>
  <%= text_field_tag :email %>
  <%= submit_tag "Reset Password" %>
<% end %>

Step 7

Add the routes:

  resources :password_resets, only: [ :new, :create]

  get '/password_resets/edit' => 'password_resets#edit', as: :edit_password_reset
  put '/password_resets/' => 'password_resets#update', as: :password_reset

Step 8

rails s

Go to localhost:3000/password_resets/new.

Fill out the email address and click the 'Reset Password' button.

Step 9

Add the create action to password_resets controller.

  def create
    user = User.where(email: params[:email]).first

    if user
      flash[:notice] = "Instructions to reset your password have been emailed to you"

      redirect_to root_path
    else[:error] = "No user was found with email address #{params[:email]}"
      render :new

Step 10

In user.rb:

  def deliver_password_reset_instructions
    self.perishable_token = SecureRandom.hex(4)
    save(validate: false)


Step 11

In app/mailers/password_reset_notifier.rb:

class PasswordResetNotifier < ActionMailer::Base
  def password_reset_instructions(user)
    @url  = edit_password_reset_url(token: user.perishable_token)

    mail(to:, subject: "Password Reset Instructions")

Step 12

In config/environments/development.rb:

config.action_mailer.default_url_options = { :host => 'localhost:3000' }

Step 13

In app/views/password_reset_notifier/password_reset_instructions.html.erb:

<h1>Password Reset Instructions</h1>

  A request to reset your password has been made. If you did not make
  this request, simply ignore this email. If you did make this
  request, please click the link below.

<%= link_to "Reset Password!", @url %>

Step 14

In the terminal you see the link in the sent email. Click on that link: http://localhost:3000/password_resets/new

Step 15

Add edit action to password_resets_controller.rb:

  def edit
    @token = @user.perishable_token


  def load_user_using_perishable_token
    @user = User.where(perishable_token: params[:token]).first
    unless @user
      flash[:error] = "We're sorry, but we could not locate your account"
      redirect_to root_url

Step 16

In app/views/password_resets/edit.html.erb:

<h1>Update your password</h1>

<p>Please enter the new password below and then press "Update Password".</p>

<%= form_tag password_reset_path, :method => :put do %>
  <%= password_field_tag :password %>
  <%= hidden_field_tag :token, @token %>

  <%= submit_tag "Update Password" %>
<% end %>

Step 17

Implement the update action in password_resets controller:

  def update
    @user.password = params[:password]

      flash[:success] = "Your password was successfully updated"
      redirect_to @user
      render :edit


In this article, we developed the password reset feature. Things that can be improved are:

  1. Move email delivery to a background job.
  2. As soon as password is reset, change the perishable_token value for that user. So that the token is one time use only.

You can download the source code for this article from :


Authlogic Password Reset Tutorial

Related Articles

Watch this Article as Screencast

You can watch this as a screencast Authentication from Scratch : Password Reset Feature

Ace the Technical Interview

  • Easily find the gaps in your knowledge
  • Get customized lessons based on where you are
  • Take consistent action everyday
  • Builtin accountability to keep you on track
  • You will solve bigger problems over time
  • Get the job of your dreams

Take the 30 Day Coding Skills Challenge

Gain confidence to attend the interview

No spam ever. Unsubscribe anytime.