How to use htaccess file for your website III



Password Protect a Directory

Ever wanted a specific directory in your site to be available only to people who you want it to be available to? Ever got frustrated with the seeming holes in client-side options for this that allowed virtually anyone with enough skill to mess around in your source to get in? htaccess is the answer!

There are numerous methods to password protecting areas of your site, some server language based (such as ASP, PHP or PERL) and client side based, such as JavaScript. JavaScript is not as secure or foolproof as a server-side option, a server side challenge/response is always more secure than a client dependant challenge/response. htaccess is about as secure as you can or need to get in everyday life, though there are ways above and beyond even that of htaccess. If you aren’t comfortable enough with htaccess, you can password protect your pages any number of ways, and JavaScript Kit has plenty of password protection scripts for your use.

The first thing you will need to do is create a file called .htpasswd. I know, you might have problems with the naming convention, but it is the same idea behind naming the htaccess file itself, and you should be able to do that by this point. In the htpasswd file, you place the username and password (which is encrypted) for those whom you want to have access.

For example, a username and password of pixel2pixel (and I do not recommend having the username being the same as the password), the htpasswd file would look like this:

pixel2pixel:y4E7Ep8e7EYV

Notice that it is UserName first, followed by the Password. There is a handy-dandy tool available for you to easily encrypt the password into the proper encoding for use in the httpasswd file.For security, you should not upload the htpasswd file to a directory that is web accessible (yoursite.com/.htpasswd), it should be placed above your www root directory.

You’ll be specifying the location to it later on, so be sure you know where you put it.Also, this file, as with htaccess, should be uploaded as ASCII and not BINARY.Create a new htaccess file and place the following code in it:

AuthUserFile /usr/local/you/safedir/.htpasswd
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
AuthName EnterPassword
AuthType Basic

require user wsabstract

The first line is the full server path to your htpasswd file. If you have installed scripts on your server, you should be familiar with this. Please note that this is not a URL, this is a server path. Also note that if you place this htaccess file in your root directory, it will password protect your entire site, which probably isn’t your exact goal.

The second to last line require user is where you enter the username of those who you want to have access to that portion of your site. Note that using this will allow only that specific user to be able to access that directory. This applies if you had an htpasswd file that had multiple users setup in it and you wanted each one to have access to an individual directory. If you wanted the entire list of users to have access to that directory, you would replace Require user xxx with require valid-user.

The AuthName is the name of the area you want to access. It could anything, such as “EnterPassword”. You can change the name of this ‘realm’ to whatever you want, within reason.We are using AuthType Basic because we are using basic HTTP authentication.

How to Stop Directory Listing

If you have a lot of files in a directory but there is no index file, your server will list all the files in that server. This can cause a lot of problems. For example, one of the most common directories which webmasters forget to hide is the images folder. This allows everyone to view all the images in their images folder. This isn’t usually a major problem though you may have more important files in a directory, perhaps important documents or software.

You can stop this from occurring from using the following code :

IndexIgnore *

The * is a wildcard and stops the server from listing any type of file. You can of course only stop certain files or file types from being listed.

For example :

IndexIgnore *.gif *.jpg *.png accounts.doc

The above code would stop all gif, jpg and png graphics files from being listed. The accounts.doc document would be blocked too however all other .doc files would be shown. Basically the IndexIgnore command lets you decide what files in a directory visitors can see.

You can upload an .htaccess file for every directory you want to stop people viewing butit’s more practical to place everything in your main .htaccess file (ie. your root .htaccess). To do this all you need to do is include the path to the folder(s) you want to protect.So to block people viewing the files at www.yoursite.com/images/ and www.yoursite.com/banners/ you would the following code to your .htaccess :

IndexIgnore /images/*
IndexIgnore /banners/*

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