Authentication: Directories

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Basic Authentication

Authentication Directories (Folders)

The previous page covered setting up four folders each with its own .htaccess file, protecting that folder and all its sub-folders. The current configuration protects each folder with a name and password. This page explores changes to the authentication directives used.

Recap Password Protecting Directories

Password protecting directories requires the following elements:

  • A password file containing a list of name/password pairs for each user
root:root
John:john123
Dave Smith:dave123
Mike:mike123
Jane:jane123
Dawn:dawn123
Ruth Smith:ruth123

File name: .htpasswd (The file can be named anything you like)
Location: UniServer\udrive\htpasswd\www (Must be located outside of the server web-root folder UniServer\udrive\www)
Names may include spaces.
Last entry do not press return
Note 1: Delete the first entry root:root (everyone knows this)

  • An .htaccess file placed in the folder requiring name/password protection it contains the following four lines
AuthName "Uniform Server - Server Access"
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /htpasswd/www/.htpasswd
Require user "Dave Smith"

AuthName: (Displayed to a user) defines a realm name of a collection
AuthType: Protocol Apache should use for authentication Basic
AuthUserFile: Location of a password file .htpasswd Require: user followed by a list of names from the password file that are allowed access to this folder

We currently have four folders being protected each contains its own .htaccess file. These differ only in the fourth line.

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Test 1

If you implemented the structure as explained on the previous page run the servers and test each folder for name password access:

  • Start servers
  • Type http://localhost/ use links on the page displayed to access the named folders
  • Alternatively type each of these addresses:
    • http://localhost/john/
    • http://localhost/dave_smith/
    • http://localhost/dawn/
    • http://localhost/ruth_smith/
  • Whichever method used you will be challenged for a name and password.

Note: Once you have logged into to all four accounts you will not be challenged again you need to restart the browser to disconnect from server and repeat any tests.

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Share Password Protected Directories

Ruth Smith has decided to allow Dave Smith access to her protected folder. To implement this all that is required is to add Dave Smith to the fourth line ofher .htacces files:

Edit file: UniServer\udrive\www\ruth_smith\.htaccess as shown:

AuthName "Uniform Server - Server Access"
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /htpasswd/www/.htpasswd
Require user "Ruth Smith" "Dave Smith"

Test:

  • Save file
  • Restart browser
  • Type http://localhost into browser
  • Click link Dave Smith and log in
  • Click link Ruth Smith

Result:

Dave Smith has access to two accounts his own and Ruth's. He only needs to log in once to either of the accounts inorder to access the other.

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Summary

The above has shown how easy it is to setup name/password protection on any folder.

On the next page I show how to secure these folders using SSL to encrypt names, passwords and content.

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