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Authenticating against Django’s user database from Apache

Since keeping multiple authentication databases in sync is a common problem when dealing with Apache, you can configure Apache to authenticate against Django’s authentication system directly. This requires Apache version >= 2.2 and mod_wsgi >= 2.0. For example, you could:

  • Serve static/media files directly from Apache only to authenticated users.
  • Authenticate access to a Subversion repository against Django users with a certain permission.
  • Allow certain users to connect to a WebDAV share created with mod_dav.

Note

If you have installed a custom User model and want to use this default auth handler, it must support an is_active attribute. If you want to use group based authorization, your custom user must have a relation named ‘groups’, referring to a related object that has a ‘name’ field. You can also specify your own custom mod_wsgi auth handler if your custom cannot conform to these requirements.

Authentication with mod_wsgi

Make sure that mod_wsgi is installed and activated and that you have followed the steps to setup Apache with mod_wsgi

Next, edit your Apache configuration to add a location that you want only authenticated users to be able to view:

WSGIScriptAlias / /path/to/mysite.com/mysite/wsgi.py
WSGIPythonPath /path/to/mysite.com

WSGIProcessGroup %{GLOBAL}
WSGIApplicationGroup django

<Location "/secret">
    AuthType Basic
    AuthName "Top Secret"
    Require valid-user
    AuthBasicProvider wsgi
    WSGIAuthUserScript /path/to/mysite.com/mysite/wsgi.py
</Location>

The WSGIAuthUserScript directive tells mod_wsgi to execute the check_password function in specified wsgi script, passing the user name and password that it receives from the prompt. In this example, the WSGIAuthUserScript is the same as the WSGIScriptAlias that defines your application that is created by django-admin.py startproject.

Using Apache 2.2 with authentication

Make sure that mod_auth_basic and mod_authz_user are loaded.

These might be compiled statically into Apache, or you might need to use LoadModule to load them dynamically in your httpd.conf:

LoadModule auth_basic_module modules/mod_auth_basic.so
LoadModule authz_user_module modules/mod_authz_user.so

Finally, edit your WSGI script mysite.wsgi to tie Apache’s authentication to your site’s authentication mechanisms by importing the check_password function:

import os

os.environ['DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE'] = 'mysite.settings'

from django.contrib.auth.handlers.modwsgi import check_password

from django.core.handlers.wsgi import WSGIHandler
application = WSGIHandler()

Requests beginning with /secret/ will now require a user to authenticate.

The mod_wsgi access control mechanisms documentation provides additional details and information about alternative methods of authentication.

Authorization with mod_wsgi and Django groups

mod_wsgi also provides functionality to restrict a particular location to members of a group.

In this case, the Apache configuration should look like this:

WSGIScriptAlias / /path/to/mysite.com/mysite/wsgi.py

WSGIProcessGroup %{GLOBAL}
WSGIApplicationGroup django

<Location "/secret">
    AuthType Basic
    AuthName "Top Secret"
    AuthBasicProvider wsgi
    WSGIAuthUserScript /path/to/mysite.com/mysite/wsgi.py
    WSGIAuthGroupScript /path/to/mysite.com/mysite/wsgi.py
    Require group secret-agents
    Require valid-user
</Location>

To support the WSGIAuthGroupScript directive, the same WSGI script mysite.wsgi must also import the groups_for_user function which returns a list groups the given user belongs to.

from django.contrib.auth.handlers.modwsgi import check_password, groups_for_user

Requests for /secret/ will now also require user to be a member of the “secret-agents” group.

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This document is for Django's development version, which can be significantly different from previous releases. For older releases, use the version selector floating in the bottom right corner of this page.