Skip to main content
IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Authorizing Participants in a Course

Follow these step-by-step instructions to password protect your website such that only people registered for a specific course can get in. This type of password protection will allow you to allow only students registered for a course and the instructors of the course to view your site.


  • This type of authorization can only be used on course, faculty, staff, and departmental accounts.
  • Authorization data used to authorize course groups is updated nightly.
  • Instructions

    These steps show how to restrict access to a website so only participants in a course can access it. The most difficult part of this type of authentication is formulating the string for the ‘require’ directive.

    1. Log into your web development server using a terminal emulator. If you’re not sure how to do this, click here for instructions.
    2. At the prompt, enter the following command to change directories to your Web directory:

      cd public_html

      If you want to password protect a subdirectory rather than your whole website, change directories to the subdirectory you want to protect. For example:

      cd private

    3. At the prompt, enter the following command to create a .htaccess file in the current working directory:

      nano .htaccess

    4. Add the following text to this file:
      AuthType Shibboleth
      ShibCompatWith24 on 
      ShibRequireSession on
      Require course AUT2009.12345

      The string AUT1999.5876 is composed of three parts that identify the course you want to use. The first three characters identify the quarter that the course is taught.

      Quarter Three Letter Code
      Autumn AUT
      Winter WIN
      Spring SPR
      Summer SUM

      The next four characters are the four-digit year that the course is taught. Then there is a period to separate the part of the string that identifies the time of the course from the SLN of the course. After the period is the SLN (schedule line number) itself. You can find the SLN’s for courses in the Time Schedule if you don’t know them.

      Note: More than one course can be listed on the same line if you want to give access to multiple courses. For example:

      Require course AUT2009.12345 AUT2009.23456 AUT2009.19283

    5. Save and close the file using Nano. (Click for instructions on how to use nano).
    6. You’re done! Confirm that password protection is working by opening your website with a Web browser.