Nginx : Password protect a directory/folder

Problem :

You want to protect a directory that only certain individuals with the right password can access via a web browser. How to password protect a directory or folder with Nginx?

Solution :

First you need to create a .htpasswd file (or other name with a period prefix) and place the file inside the directory.

For example :


Next, generate a password and associate the password to a username. The easiest way is to use the htpasswd command :

htpasswd -c /var/www/ username

Or if you prefer to edit the file manually, the .htpasswd file has the format of :


You can generate the encrypted-password part with :

or with perl command

perl -le 'print crypt("encrypted-password", "salt-hash")'

and typically a .htpasswd file looks like this :


password for user admin.

Note : the comment part is optional.

Once you have place the .htpasswd file in the directory that you want to protect. It is time to tell Nginx that the directory is only accessible with the right password.

In the nginx.conf file, under the server block, make the following modification and REMEMBER to modify the server block in HTTPS/SSL part as well if you have one.

 server {
 listen 80;

 location / { 
 # your other stuff

 # This will deny access to any hidden file (the file with a .period prefix)
 # so that your password will not be accessible from the web browser
 location ~ /\. { deny  all; }

 location /protected { 
 auth_basic "Entering protected zone. You need to login first.";
 auth_basic_user_file /var/www/;


Save the modification to nginx.conf file and restart the Nginx server. Test out to see if everything is working correctly by visiting the protected directory via a web browser and if it is setup correctly, you should see a prompt asking you to enter username and password.

  See also : Restart Apache or Nginx web server without password prompt

By Adam Ng

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