• 11/10/2003

Apache module mod_auth

This module provides for user authentication using text files.

Status: Base
Source File: mod_auth.c
Module Identifier: auth_module

Summary

This module allows the use of HTTP Basic Authentication to restrict access by looking up users in plain text password and group files. Similar functionality and greater scalability is provided by mod_auth_dbm and mod_auth_db. HTTP Digest Authentication is provided by mod_auth_digest.

Directives

  • AuthGroupFile
  • AuthUserFile
  • AuthAuthoritative

See also: require and satisfy.

AuthGroupFile directive

Syntax: AuthGroupFile filename
Context: directory, .htaccess
Override: AuthConfig
Status: Base
Module: mod_auth

The AuthGroupFile directive sets the name of a textual file containing the list of user groups for user authentication. Filename is the path to the group file. If it is not absolute (i.e., if it doesn’t begin with a slash), it is treated as relative to the ServerRoot.

Each line of the group file contains a groupname followed by a colon, followed by the member usernames separated by spaces. Example:

mygroup: bob joe anne

Note that searching large text files is very inefficient; AuthDBMGroupFile should be used instead.

Security: make sure that the AuthGroupFile is stored outside the document tree of the web-server; do not put it in the directory that it protects. Otherwise, clients will be able to download the AuthGroupFile.

See also AuthName, AuthType and AuthUserFile.

AuthUserFile directive

Syntax: AuthUserFile filename
Context: directory, .htaccess
Override: AuthConfig
Status: Base
Module: mod_auth

The AuthUserFile directive sets the name of a textual file containing the list of users and passwords for user authentication. Filename is the path to the user file. If it is not absolute (i.e., if it doesn’t begin with a slash), it is treated as relative to the ServerRoot.

Each line of the user file file contains a username followed by a colon, followed by the crypt() encrypted password. The behavior of multiple occurrences of the same user is undefined.

The utility htpasswd which is installed as part of the binary distribution, or which can be found in src/support, is used to maintain this password file. See the man page for more details. In short

htpasswd -c Filename username
Create a password file ‘Filename’ with ‘username’ as the initial ID. It will prompt for the password. htpasswd Filename username2
Adds or modifies in password file ‘Filename’ the ‘username’.

Note that searching large text files is very inefficient; AuthDBMUserFile should be used instead.

Security: make sure that the AuthUserFile is stored outside the document tree of the web-server; do not put it in the directory that it protects. Otherwise, clients will be able to download the AuthUserFile.

See also AuthName, AuthType and AuthGroupFile.

AuthAuthoritative directive

Syntax: AuthAuthoritative on|off
Default: AuthAuthoritative on
Context: directory, .htaccess
Override: AuthConfig
Status: Base
Module: mod_auth

Setting the AuthAuthoritative directive explicitly to ‘off’ allows for both authentication and authorization to be passed on to lower level modules (as defined in the Configuration and modules.c files) if there is no userID or rule matching the supplied userID. If there is a userID and/or rule specified; the usual password and access checks will be applied and a failure will give an Authorization Required reply.

So if a userID appears in the database of more than one module; or if a valid Require directive applies to more than one module; then the first module will verify the credentials; and no access is passed on; regardless of the AuthAuthoritative setting.

A common use for this is in conjunction with one of the database modules; such as mod_auth_db.c, mod_auth_dbm.c, mod_auth_msql.c, and mod_auth_anon.c. These modules supply the bulk of the user credential checking; but a few (administrator) related accesses fall through to a lower level with a well protected AuthUserFile.

Default: By default; control is not passed on; and an unknown userID or rule will result in an Authorization Required reply. Not setting it thus keeps the system secure; and forces an NCSA compliant behaviour.

Security: Do consider the implications of allowing a user to allow fall-through in his .htaccess file; and verify that this is really what you want; Generally it is easier to just secure a single .htpasswd file, than it is to secure a database such as mSQL. Make sure that the AuthUserFile is stored outside the document tree of the web-server; do not put it in the directory that it protects. Otherwise, clients will be able to download the AuthUserFile.

See also AuthName, AuthType and AuthGroupFile.

Apache HTTP Server Version 1.3

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