authors

PmWiki has built-in support for password-protecting various areas of the wiki site. Authors generally want to be able to apply passwords to individual pages or to wiki groups. Wiki Administrators can apply passwords to individual pages, to wiki groups, or to the entire site. As with any access control system, the password protection mechanisms described here are only a small part of overall system and wiki security.

As an author editing pages...

An author will generally use 3 types of passwords:

  1. to control who can see a page or group, use read passwords
  2. to control who can edit a page or group, use edit passwords
  3. to control who can alter the passwords used to protect a page or group, use attr passwords

To set a password on an individual wiki page, add ?action=attr to the page's URL (address) to access its attributes. Using the small form on the attributes page, you can set or clear the read, edit, or attr passwords on the page. In the form you enter the passwords as cleartext; PmWiki encrypts them for you automatically when it stores them. Leaving a field blank will leave the attribute unchanged. To remove a password from a page (reverting back to the group's or site's default), enter "clear". To indicate that the page can be edited even if a group or site password is set, enter "nopass".

To set a password on a wiki group is slightly more difficult--you just set the passwords on a special page in each group called "GroupAttributes". First, you can get to the attributes page for GroupAttributes by entering a URL (address) like http://www.example.com/pmwiki.php?n=GroupName.GroupAttributes?action=attr. Then, using the small form on the attributes page, you can set or clear the read, edit, or attr passwords for the entire group. In the form you enter the passwords as cleartext; PmWiki encrypts them for you automatically.

Multiple passwords for a page, group or site are allowed. Simply enter multiple passwords separated by a space. This allows you to have a read password, a write password, and have the write password allow read/write access.
In other words, if the read password is "alpha" and the edit password is beta, then enter

Set new read password: alpha beta
Set new edit password: beta

This says that either "alpha" or "beta" can be used to read pages, but only "beta" may edit. Since PmWiki checks the passwords you've entered since the browser has been opened, entering a read password that is also a write password allows both reading and writing.

administrators

As an administrator ...

You can set passwords on pages and groups exactly as described above for authors. You can also:

  1. set site-wide passwords for pages and groups that do not have passwords
  2. use attr passwords to control who is able to set passwords on pages
  3. use upload passwords to control access to the file upload capabilities (if uploads are enabled)
  4. use an admin password to override the passwords set for any individual page or group

For more information on password options available to administrators, see PasswordsAdmin.

Which password wins?

In PmWiki, page passwords override group passwords, group passwords override the default passwords, and the admin password overrides all passwords. This gives a great deal of flexibility in controlling access to wiki pages in PmWiki.

Opening access to pages in protected groups/sites

Sometimes we want to "unprotect" pages in a group or site that is otherwise protected. In these cases, the special password "nopass" is used to indicate that access should be allowed to a page without requiring a password.

For example, suppose Main.GroupAttributes has an edit password set, thus restricting the editing of all pages in Main. Now we want Main.WikiSandbox to be editable without a password. Using "clear" for the edit password for Main.WikiSandbox doesn't unprotect the page, because the password is being set by the group. Instead, we set the edit password for Main.WikiSandbox to the special value "nopass", which tells PmWiki to ignore any site-wide or group-level passwords for that page.

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