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Disable Basic Auth For Virtual Path On Plesk

In a recent case we needed to allow request to a particular virtual URL path on a site that was password protected with HTTP Basic Auth. The site was hosted on a Linux server with Plesk, nginx and Apache.  Typically this problem is solved by adding a “Satisfy Any” to the .htaccess in the directory that you want to remove authentication. But this does not work if the path is virtual instead of a physical directory path. Additionally we needed to allow access for a list of IP addresses. We tried an number of different solutions and ended up with the following:

Step 1 – The HTTP Basic Auth and IP access controls are configured in the .htaccess file like this:

Step 2 – In Plesk under:

Add the following block:

where “/excluded/path” is the virtual URL to be allowed access and “x.x.x.x” is the IP address assigned to the site.

When a request comes is received, nginx looks for the path and adds the AUTH_OVERRIDE header. Then the request is passed to Apache which processes the .htaccess file. The AUTH_OVERRIDE header is converted to an “AUTH_REQUEST” environment variable and allow without authentication by the “allow from env=” rule.

There may be better ways to accomplish this solution but this is one that we successfully implemented.

 

 

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Test CORS with curl

Is your CDN returning the proper CORS headers? One way to test is with curl. Here’s a simple CORS request:

You should get a successful response that includes and “Access-Control-Allow-Origin” header.

And here’s a pre-flight request:

You should get a successful response that includes and “Access-Control-Allow-Origin”, “Access-Control-Allow-Methods”, and “Access-Control-Allow-Headers” headers.

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Mixing Basic Auth And IP Access Controls

In some cases you might want to require HTTP Basic authentication to a site but allow specific IP addresses to skip the username/password. For Apache this can be configured with:

For nginx the configuration is:

 

 

 

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Plesk 12.5 Protected Directories Break Nginx/PHP-FPM

On Plesk 12.5, when using PHP-FPM with Nginx there’s a problem with the way protected directories are implemented. Each protected directory creates a “location” block in the Nginx config that proxies to Apache. So protected directories are implemented in Apache only. Nginx just passes through to Apache.  This is not a great design choice in our opinion. Instead protected directories should be implemented directly in Nginx.

One of the side effects of the 12.5 implementation is that inside protected directories Apache handles PHP even if you have the domain configured to use Nginx with PHP-FPM. This is especially problematic if you have the entire site password protected. The “location /” block takes precedence over the “location *.php” block so the entire sites ends up using Apache instead going directly to PHP-FPM.

To get around this problem I do the following in Plesk:

  1. Create a protected directory for “/protected”.  Add users as needed.
  2. On the “Apache & nginx Settings” screen, add the following to the “Additional nginx directives” field:
  3. In your .htaccess file add:

The last step is important because we need both Apache and Nginx to enforce the protected directory.

 

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Turn off Keep-Alive for directory

Recently had a problem where Chrome browsers were not fully downloading a large PDF document. The first few 100KB would download but then the document would stop loading.

After some debugging we concluded that Keep-Alive in Apache was creating the problem. We didn’t want to disable KeepAlive for the entire server so instead we added this line to the .htaccess file containing the PDF files:

 

 

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