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How to restrict website access by authorisation

Sometimes, for example during the pre-launch phase, you want to limit access to your website; unauthorized visitors shouldn’t even get presented with a login page. In this article, you’ll find a tutorial how to achieve this. We used the following example data:

  • Website ID: s42

Enable basic HTTP authentication

As a first step, you activate HTTP authentication so a visitor first has to enter login credentials to gain access to the website. To this purpose, append the following lines to the file .htaccess which should be placed in the docroot directory of your repository:

AuthType Basic  
AuthName "Website Login"  
AuthUserFile /srv/www/freistilbox/clients/c11000/s42/current/docroot/.htpasswd
Require valid-user

On the line starting with AuthUserFile, use your own website’s ID instead of “s42”.

Be careful about the path you use for AuthUserFile: you might use pwd on the shell host to get the path, but the point is that this path does not exist on the webhost, as your user account does not exist there. Hence you need to specify a path that exists on all nodes, and that’s the one specified in the example above. It follow this scheme:
/srv/www/freistilbox/clients/<client ID>/<site ID>/current/docroot/.htpasswd

The client ID is in most cases c11000, but older accounts may use a different one. You can find it either in our dashboard on the website details page, or on the shell host: It is the same as the group ID of your shellbox user, so you can find out the client ID by using your shell username (which is also the site ID, by the way) in the following command:

id <username>

Generate an encrypted password

Then, you’ll have to create a text file named .htpasswd, also in the docroot directory. This file contains all users allowed to access the website, together with their encrypted passwords.

If you have access to an Apache server installation, you can use its htpasswd command to create the file .htpasswd:

htpasswd -c .htpasswd admin

If you want to add users to an existing file, leave off the option -c because it would create a new, empty file.

Alternatively, the website AskApache will help you. Just enter a user name and password into the form and choose “Generate .htpasswd”. You’ll find the necessary information in the rectangle titled “.htpasswd using all 4 algorithms”:

admin:Protected By AskApache:5b8e5bc85154313d6400921a8161c5a4  

All lines contain the user name and the password, each encrypted with a different technique. We suggest using the line where the encrypted password after the colon starts with $apr1$ (which signifies MD5 encryption). Copy this line into your .htpasswd file.

Deploy your changes

Commit both files, .htaccess and .htpasswd, to your repository and push your changes to freistilbox. Your website is now protected from unauthorized looks.