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mod_auth_form - Apache HTTP Server Version 2.4









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Apache HTTP Server Version 2.4



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Apache Module mod_auth_form

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Description:Form authentication
Status:Base
ModuleIdentifier:auth_form_module
SourceFile:mod_auth_form.c
Compatibility:Available in Apache 2.3 and later
Summary

    Warning
      Form authentication depends on the mod_session
      modules, and these modules make use of HTTP cookies, and as such can fall
      victim to Cross Site Scripting attacks, or expose potentially private
      information to clients. Please ensure that the relevant risks have
      been taken into account before enabling the session functionality on
      your server.
    

    This module allows the use of an HTML login form to restrict access
    by looking up users in the given providers. HTML forms require
    significantly more configuration than the alternatives, however an
    HTML login form can provide a much friendlier experience for end users.
    

    HTTP basic authentication is provided by
    mod_auth_basic, and HTTP digest authentication is
    provided by mod_auth_digest.  This module should
    be combined with at least one authentication module
    such as mod_authn_file and one authorization
    module such as mod_authz_user.

    Once the user has been successfully authenticated, the user's login
    details will be stored in a session provided by mod_session.
    


Topics

 Basic Configuration
 Standalone Login
 Inline Login
 Inline Login with Body Preservation
 Logging Out
 Usernames and Passwords
Directives

 AuthFormAuthoritative
 AuthFormBody
 AuthFormDisableNoStore
 AuthFormFakeBasicAuth
 AuthFormLocation
 AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation
 AuthFormLoginSuccessLocation
 AuthFormLogoutLocation
 AuthFormMethod
 AuthFormMimetype
 AuthFormPassword
 AuthFormProvider
 AuthFormSitePassphrase
 AuthFormSize
 AuthFormUsername

Bugfix checklisthttpd changelogKnown issuesReport a bugSee also

mod_session
AuthName
AuthType
Require
Authentication howto
Comments


Basic Configuration

      To protect a particular URL with mod_auth_form, you need to
      decide where you will store your session, and you will need to
      decide what method you will use to authenticate. In this simple example, the
      login details will be stored in a session based on
      mod_session_cookie, and authentication will be attempted against
      a file using mod_authn_file. If authentication is unsuccessful,
      the user will be redirected to the form login page.

      Basic example<Location "/admin">
    AuthFormProvider file
    AuthUserFile "conf/passwd"
    AuthType form
    AuthName "/admin"
    AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation "http://example.com/login.html"

    Session On
    SessionCookieName session path=/

    Require valid-user
</Location>


      The directive AuthType will enable
      the mod_auth_form authentication when set to the value form.
      The directives AuthFormProvider and
      AuthUserFile specify that usernames
      and passwords should be checked against the chosen file.

      The directives Session and
      SessionCookieName 
      session stored within an HTTP cookie on the browser. For more information
      on the different options for configuring a session, read the documentation for
      mod_session.

      You can optionally add a 
      SessionCryptoPassphrase to 
      create an encrypted session cookie. This required the additional
      module mod_session_crypto be loaded.

      In the simple example above, a URL has been protected by
      mod_auth_form, but the user has yet to be given an opportunity to
      enter their username and password. Options for doing so include providing a
      dedicated standalone login page for this purpose, or for providing the login
      page inline.
    

Standalone Login

      The login form can be hosted as a standalone page, or can be provided inline on
      the same page.

      When configuring the login as a standalone page, unsuccessful authentication
      attempts should be redirected to a login form created by the website for this purpose,
      using the AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation
      directive. Typically this login page will contain an HTML form, asking the user to
      provide their usename and password.

      Example login form<form method="POST" action="/dologin.html">
  Username: <input type="text" name="httpd_username" value="" />
  Password: <input type="password" name="httpd_password" value="" />
  <input type="submit" name="login" value="Login" />
</form>


      The part that does the actual login is handled by the form-login-handler.
      The action of the form should point at this handler, which is configured within
      Apache httpd as follows:

      Form login handler example<Location "/dologin.html">
    SetHandler form-login-handler
    AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation "http://example.com/login.html"
    AuthFormLoginSuccessLocation "http://example.com/admin/index.html"
    AuthFormProvider file
    AuthUserFile "conf/passwd"
    AuthType form
    AuthName /admin
    Session On
    SessionCookieName session path=/
</Location>


      The URLs specified by the
      AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation directive will typically
      point to a page explaining to the user that their login attempt was unsuccessful, and they
      should try again.  The AuthFormLoginSuccessLocation
      directive specifies the URL the user should be redirected to upon successful login.

      Alternatively, the URL to redirect the user to on success can be embedded within the login
      form, as in the example below. As a result, the same form-login-handler can be
      reused for different areas of a website.

      Example login form with location<form method="POST" action="/dologin.html">
  Username: <input type="text" name="httpd_username" value="" />
  Password: <input type="password" name="httpd_password" value="" />
  <input type="submit" name="login" value="Login" />
  <input type="hidden" name="httpd_location" value="http://example.com/success.html" />
</form>


    

Inline Login

      Warning
        A risk exists that under certain circumstances, the login form configured
        using inline login may be submitted more than once, revealing login credentials to
        the application running underneath. The administrator must ensure that the underlying
        application is properly secured to prevent abuse. If in doubt, use the
        standalone login configuration.
      

      As an alternative to having a dedicated login page for a website, it is possible to
      configure mod_auth_form to authenticate users inline, without being
      redirected to another page. This allows the state of the current page to be preserved
      during the login attempt. This can be useful in a situation where a time limited
      session is in force, and the session times out in the middle of the user request. The
      user can be re-authenticated in place, and they can continue where they left off.

      If a non-authenticated user attempts to access a page protected by
      mod_auth_form that isn't configured with a
      AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation directive,
      a HTTP_UNAUTHORIZED status code is returned to the browser indicating to the user
      that they are not authorized to view the page.

      To configure inline authentication, the administrator overrides the error document
      returned by the HTTP_UNAUTHORIZED status code with a custom error document
      containing the login form, as follows:

      Basic inline exampleAuthFormProvider file
ErrorDocument 401 "/login.shtml"
AuthUserFile "conf/passwd"
AuthType form
AuthName realm
AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation "http://example.com/login.html"
Session On
SessionCookieName session path=/


      The error document page should contain a login form with an empty action property,
      as per the example below.  This has the effect of submitting the form to
      the original protected URL, without the page having to know what that
      URL is.

      Example inline login form<form method="POST" action="">
  Username: <input type="text" name="httpd_username" value="" />
  Password: <input type="password" name="httpd_password" value="" />
  <input type="submit" name="login" value="Login" />
</form>


      When the end user has filled in their login details, the form will make
      an HTTP POST request to the original password protected URL.
      mod_auth_form will intercept this POST request, and if
      HTML fields are found present for the username and password, the user
      will be logged in, and the original password protected URL will be returned
      to the user as a GET request.

    

Inline Login with Body Preservation

      A limitation of the inline login technique described above is that should an
      HTML form POST have resulted in the request to authenticate or
      reauthenticate, the
      contents of the original form posted by the browser will be lost. Depending on
      the function of the website, this could present significant inconvenience for the
      end user.

      mod_auth_form addresses this by allowing the method and body
      of the original request to be embedded in the login form. If authentication
      is successful, the original method and body will be retried by Apache httpd, preserving
      the state of the original request.

      To enable body preservation, add three additional fields to the login form as
      per the example below.

      Example with body preservation<form method="POST" action="">
  Username: <input type="text" name="httpd_username" value="" />
  Password: <input type="password" name="httpd_password" value="" />
  <input type="submit" name="login" value="Login" />
    <input type="hidden" name="httpd_method" value="POST" />
  <input type="hidden" name="httpd_mimetype" value="application/x-www-form-urlencoded" />
  <input type="hidden" name="httpd_body" value="name1=value1&name2=value2" />
</form>


      How the method, mimetype and body of the original request are embedded within the
      login form will depend on the platform and technology being used within the website.
      

      One option is to use the mod_include module along with the
      KeptBodySize directive, along with a suitable
      CGI script to embed the variables in the form.

      Another option is to render the login form using a CGI script or other dynamic
      technology.

      CGI example        AuthFormProvider file
        ErrorDocument 401 "/cgi-bin/login.cgi"
        ...


    

Logging Out

      To enable a user to log out of a particular session, configure a page to
      be handled by the form-logout-handler. Any attempt to access this
      URL will cause the username and password to be removed from the current
      session, effectively logging the user out.

      By setting the
      AuthFormLogoutLocation directive,
      a URL can be specified that the browser will be redirected to on successful
      logout. This URL might explain to the user that they have been logged out, and
      give the user the option to log in again.

      Basic logout exampleSetHandler form-logout-handler
AuthName realm
AuthFormLogoutLocation "http://example.com/loggedout.html"
Session On
SessionCookieName session path=/


      Note that logging a user out does not delete the session; it merely removes
      the username and password from the session. If this results in an empty session,
      the net effect will be the removal of that session, but this is not
      guaranteed. If you want to guarantee the removal of a session, set the
      SessionMaxAge directive to a small
      value, like 1 (setting the directive to zero would mean no session age limit).
      

      Basic session expiry exampleSetHandler form-logout-handler
AuthFormLogoutLocation "http://example.com/loggedout.html"
Session On
SessionMaxAge 1
SessionCookieName session path=/


    

Usernames and Passwords
    Note that form submission involves URLEncoding the form data:
    in this case the username and password.  You should therefore
    pick usernames and passwords that avoid characters that are
    URLencoded in form submission, or you may get unexpected results.
    

AuthFormAuthoritative Directive

Description:Sets whether authorization and authentication are passed to
lower level modules
Syntax:AuthFormAuthoritative On|Off
Default:AuthFormAuthoritative On
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form

    Normally, each authorization module listed in AuthFormProvider will attempt
    to verify the user, and if the user is not found in any provider,
    access will be denied. Setting the
    AuthFormAuthoritative directive explicitly
    to Off allows for both authentication and
    authorization to be passed on to other non-provider-based modules
    if there is no userID or rule
    matching the supplied userID.  This should only be necessary when
    combining mod_auth_form with third-party modules
    that are not configured with the AuthFormProvider
    directive.  When using such modules, the order of processing
    is determined in the modules' source code and is not configurable.



AuthFormBody Directive

Description:The name of a form field carrying the body of the request to attempt on successful login
Syntax:AuthFormBody fieldname
Default:httpd_body
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormMethod directive specifies
    the name of an HTML field which, if present, will contain the method of the request to
    to submit should login be successful.

    By populating the form with fields described by
    AuthFormMethod,
    AuthFormMimetype and
    AuthFormBody, a website can retry
    a request that may have been interrupted by the login screen, or by a session
    timeout.



AuthFormDisableNoStore Directive

Description:Disable the CacheControl no-store header on the login page
Syntax:AuthFormDisableNoStore On|Off
Default:AuthFormDisableNoStore Off
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormDisableNoStore flag
    disables the sending of a Cache-Control no-store header with the
    error 401 page returned when the user is not yet logged in. The purpose of the header
    is to make it difficult for an ecmascript application to attempt to resubmit the
    login form, and reveal the username and password to the backend application. Disable
    at your own risk.




AuthFormFakeBasicAuth Directive

Description:Fake a Basic Authentication header
Syntax:AuthFormFakeBasicAuth On|Off
Default:AuthFormFakeBasicAuth Off
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormFakeBasicAuth flag
    determines whether a Basic Authentication header will be added to
    the request headers. This can be used to expose the username and password to
    an underlying application, without the underlying application having to be aware
    of how the login was achieved.




AuthFormLocation Directive

Description:The name of a form field carrying a URL to redirect to on successful login
Syntax:AuthFormLocation fieldname
Default:httpd_location
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormLocation directive specifies
    the name of an HTML field which, if present, will contain a URL to redirect the browser to
    should login be successful.



AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation Directive

Description:The URL of the page to be redirected to should login be required
Syntax:AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation url
Default:none
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later. The use of the expression
parser has been added in 2.4.4.

    The AuthFormLoginRequiredLocation directive
    specifies the URL to redirect to should the user not be authorised to view a page. The value
    is parsed using the ap_expr parser before being sent to the client.
    By default, if a user is not authorised to view a page, the HTTP response code
    HTTP_UNAUTHORIZED will be returned with the page specified by the
    ErrorDocument directive. This directive overrides this
    default.

    Use this directive if you have a dedicated login page to redirect users to.




AuthFormLoginSuccessLocation Directive

Description:The URL of the page to be redirected to should login be successful
Syntax:AuthFormLoginSuccessLocation url
Default:none
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later. The use of the expression
parser has been added in 2.4.4.

    The AuthFormLoginSuccessLocation directive
    specifies the URL to redirect to should the user have logged in successfully. The value is
    parsed using the ap_expr parser before being sent to the client.
    This directive can be overridden if a form field has been defined containing another URL
    using the AuthFormLocation directive.

    Use this directive if you have a dedicated login URL, and you have not embedded the
    destination page in the login form.




AuthFormLogoutLocation Directive

Description:The URL to redirect to after a user has logged out
Syntax:AuthFormLogoutLocation uri
Default:none
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later. The use of the expression
parser has been added in 2.4.4.

    The AuthFormLogoutLocation directive
    specifies the URL of a page on the server to redirect to should the user attempt to log
    out. The value is parsed using the ap_expr parser before
    being sent to the client.

    When a URI is accessed that is served by the handler form-logout-handler,
    the page specified by this directive will be shown to the end user. For example:

    Example<Location "/logout">
    SetHandler form-logout-handler
    AuthFormLogoutLocation "http://example.com/loggedout.html"
    Session on
    #...
</Location>


    An attempt to access the URI /logout/ will result in the user being logged
    out, and the page /loggedout.html will be displayed. Make sure that the page
    loggedout.html is not password protected, otherwise the page will not be
    displayed.




AuthFormMethod Directive

Description:The name of a form field carrying the method of the request to attempt on successful login
Syntax:AuthFormMethod fieldname
Default:httpd_method
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormMethod directive specifies
    the name of an HTML field which, if present, will contain the method of the request to
    to submit should login be successful.

    By populating the form with fields described by
    AuthFormMethod,
    AuthFormMimetype and
    AuthFormBody, a website can retry
    a request that may have been interrupted by the login screen, or by a session
    timeout.



AuthFormMimetype Directive

Description:The name of a form field carrying the mimetype of the body of the request to attempt on successful login
Syntax:AuthFormMimetype fieldname
Default:httpd_mimetype
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormMethod directive specifies
    the name of an HTML field which, if present, will contain the
    mimetype of the request to submit should login be successful.

    By populating the form with fields described by
    AuthFormMethod,
    AuthFormMimetype and
    AuthFormBody, a website can retry
    a request that may have been interrupted by the login screen, or by a session
    timeout.



AuthFormPassword Directive

Description:The name of a form field carrying the login password
Syntax:AuthFormPassword fieldname
Default:httpd_password
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormPassword directive specifies
    the name of an HTML field which, if present, will contain the password to be used to log
    in.



AuthFormProvider Directive

Description:Sets the authentication provider(s) for this location
Syntax:AuthFormProvider provider-name
[provider-name] ...
Default:AuthFormProvider file
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form

    The AuthFormProvider directive sets
    which provider is used to authenticate the users for this location.
    The default file provider is implemented
    by the mod_authn_file module.  Make sure
    that the chosen provider module is present in the server.

    Example<Location "/secure">
    AuthType form
    AuthName "private area"
    AuthFormProvider  dbm
    AuthDBMType        SDBM
    AuthDBMUserFile    "/www/etc/dbmpasswd"
    Require            valid-user
    #...
</Location>


    Providers are implemented by mod_authn_dbm,
    mod_authn_file, mod_authn_dbd,
    mod_authnz_ldap and mod_authn_socache.



AuthFormSitePassphrase Directive

Description:Bypass authentication checks for high traffic sites
Syntax:AuthFormSitePassphrase secret
Default:none
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormSitePassphrase directive
    specifies a passphrase which, if present in the user session, causes Apache httpd to
    bypass authentication checks for the given URL. It can be used on high traffic websites
    to reduce the load induced on authentication infrastructure.

    The passphrase can be inserted into a user session by adding this directive to the
    configuration for the form-login-handler. The form-login-handler
    itself will always run the authentication checks, regardless of whether a passphrase
    is specified or not.

    Warning
      If the session is exposed to the user through the use of
      mod_session_cookie, and the session is not protected with
      mod_session_crypto, the passphrase is open to potential exposure
      through a dictionary attack. Regardless of how the session is configured,
      ensure that this directive is not used within URL spaces where private user data
      could be exposed, or sensitive transactions can be conducted. Use at own risk.
    




AuthFormSize Directive

Description:The largest size of the form in bytes that will be parsed for the login details
Syntax:AuthFormSize size
Default:8192
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormSize directive specifies
    the maximum size of the body of the request that will be parsed to find the login form.

    If a login request arrives that exceeds this size, the whole request will be aborted
    with the HTTP response code HTTP_REQUEST_TOO_LARGE.

    If you have populated the form with fields described by
    AuthFormMethod,
    AuthFormMimetype and
    AuthFormBody, you probably want to set this
    field to a similar size as the KeptBodySize
    directive.




AuthFormUsername Directive

Description:The name of a form field carrying the login username
Syntax:AuthFormUsername fieldname
Default:httpd_username
Context:directory
Status:Base
Module:mod_auth_form
Compatibility:Available in Apache HTTP Server 2.3.0 and later

    The AuthFormUsername directive specifies
    the name of an HTML field which, if present, will contain the username to be used to log
    in.




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