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TWiki User Authentication

TWiki site access control and user activity tracking options

TWiki does not authenticate users internally, it depends on the REMOTE_USER environment variable. This variable is set when you enable Basic Authentication (.htaccess) or SSL "secure server" authentication (https protocol).

TWiki uses visitor identification to keep track of who made changes to topics at what time and to manage a wide range of personal site settings. This gives a complete audit trail of changes and activity.

Authentication Options

No special installation steps are required if the server is already authenticated. If it isn't, you have three standard options for controlling user access:

  1. Forget about authentication to make your site completely public - anyone can browse and edit freely, in classic Wiki mode. All visitors are assigned the TWikiGuest default identity, so you can't track individual user activity.
  2. Use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer; HTTPS) to authenticate and secure the whole server.
  3. Use Basic Authentication (.htaccess) to control access by protecting key scripts: attach, edit=, installpasswd, preview, rename, save, upload using the .htaccess file. The TWikiInstallationGuide has step-by-step instructions.

Partial Authentication

Tracking by IP address is an experimental feature, enabled in lib/TWiki.cfg. It lets you combine open access to some functions, with authentication on others, with full user activity tracking:

  • Normally, the REMOTE_USER environment variable is set for the scripts that are under authentication. If, for example, the edit, save and preview scripts are authenticated, but not view, you would get your WikiName in preview for the %WIKIUSERNAME% variable, but view will show TWikiGuest instead of your WikiName.

  • TWiki can be configured to remember the IP address/username pair whenever an authentication happens (edit topic, attach file). Once remembered, the non-authenticated scripts, like view, will show the correct username instead of TWikiGuest.

  • Enable this feature by setting the $doRememberRemoteUser flag in TWiki.cfg. TWiki then persistently stores the IP address/username pairs in the file, $remoteUserFilename, which is "$dataDir/remoteusers.txt" by default.

  • ALERT! This approach can fail if the IP address changes due to dynamically assigned IP addresses or proxy servers.

Quick Authentication Test - Use the %WIKIUSERNAME% variable to return your current identity:

TWiki Username vs. Login Username

This section applies only if your TWiki site is installed on a server that is both authenticated and on an intranet.

TWiki internally manages two usernames: Login Username and TWiki Username.

  • Login Username: When you login to the intranet, you use your existing login username, ex: pthoeny. This name is normally passed to TWiki by the REMOTE_USER environment variable, and used internally. Login Usernames are maintained by your system administrator.

  • TWiki Username: Your name in WikiNotation, ex: PeterThoeny, is recorded when you register using TWikiRegistration; doing so also generates a personal home page in the Main web.

TWiki can automatically map an Intranet (Login) Username to a TWiki Username, provided that the username pair exists in the TWikiUsers topic. This is also handled automatically when you register.

  • ALERT! In the original TWiki distribution, in twiki/data, there are two registration form topics, TWikiRegistration and TWikiRegistrationPub. The original form includes an intranet Login Username field. For Basic Authentication, the original form is replaced by the Pub version. If you started using TWiki on Basic Authentication and want to change, you have to switch back forms for future use, and manually correct the existing entries, by editing TWikiUsers, adding the Login Username for each member - PeterThoeny - pthoeny - 01 Jan 1999 - and also in the .htpasswd file, where you can either replace the WikiNames or duplicate the entries and have both, so both usernames will work. verification and clearer rewrite to follow in a bit. also link to original installation mention.

NOTE: To correctly enter a WikiName - your own or someone else's - be sure to include the Main web name in front of the Wiki username, followed by a period, and no spaces. Ex:
Main.WikiUsername or %MAINWEB%.WikiUsername
This points WikiUser to the TWiki.Main web, where user registration pages are stored, no matter which web it's entered in. Without the web prefix, the name appears as a NewTopic everywhere but in the Main web.

Changing Passwords

Change and reset passwords using forms on regular pages. Use TWikiAccessControl to restrict use as required.

No permission to view TWiki.ChangePassword

Remember your password? Use ChangePassword instead. Otherwise, use this form to get a new one e-mailed to you.

Sorry, the password system is currently read only, please contact npl-twiki@physics.illinois.edu

ALERT! you must have at least one valid registered e-mail to be able to reset your password. If none of your registered e-mail addresses is valid, and you have forgotten your password, contact npl-twiki@physics.illinois.edu.

Fields marked ** are required
Your LoginName: **
 

Info UserList has a list of other TWiki users
Info If you have any questions, please contact npl-twiki@physics.illinois.edu

-- MikeMannix - 19 May 2002

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Topic revision: r15 - 2002-12-29 - PeterThoeny
 
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