Password protecting directories with Nginx


On an Apache server, it's possible to password protect a directory using .htaccess and .htpasswd files. However, .htaccess files are not supported on Nginx.

You can still password protect your directories, but you need to use a basic_auth.conf file instead.

In the following examples, username would be your Shell user and your website.

Creating the file

  1. Log into your server via SSH.
  2. Navigate to your user's directory.
  3. Make sure you have a /home/username/nginx/ directory. This doesn't exist by default; you must create it by running the following:
    [server]$ mkdir -p nginx/
  4. In this /home/username/nginx/ directory, add a file named basic_auth.conf with the following:
    location / {
      auth_basic "Restricted";
      auth_basic_user_file /home/username/nginx/;
    • The auth_basic parameter is just the title of the prompt the user sees when visiting this directory.
    • The auth_basic_user_file parameter specifies where the password file is. Note how its path is set to the /nginx directory.
    • In this example, the location directive password protects the entire domain since it's pointing to /.
    • If you want a subdirectory to be password protected, change the location directive as follows:
    location /subdirectory/
  5. Run the following to create the .htpasswd file:
    [server]$ htpasswd -c /home/username/nginx/ LOGIN
    • LOGIN is the username you want to be used to authenticate in the login prompt.
  6. After typing that command, enter a password and confirm it when prompted:
    New password: 
    Re-type new password: 
    Adding password for user LOGIN
  7. Reload the nginx config file.
  8. In your browser, load the directory your /home/username/nginx/ points to.

    In the example above, this would be your domain's root directory since the location directive points to /.

  9. Enter a user/password when prompted to log in.

    In this example, your username is LOGIN and the password is the one you created above.

See also

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