htpasswd - Create and update user authentication files
htpasswd [ -c ] [ -m | -d | -s | -p ] passwdfile username
htpasswd -b [ -c ] [ -m | -d | -s | -p ] passwdfile user-
htpasswd -n [ -m | -d | -s | -p ] username
htpasswd -nb [ -m | -d | -s | -p ] username password
htpasswd is used to create and update the flat-files used
to store usernames and password for basic authentication
of HTTP users. If htpasswd cannot access a file, such as
not being able to write to the output file or not being
able to read the file in order to update it, it returns an
error status and makes no changes.
Resources available from the httpd Apache web server can
be restricted to just the users listed in the files cre-
ated by htpasswd. This program can only manage usernames
and passwords stored in a flat-file. It can encrypt and
display password information for use in other types of
data stores, though. To use a DBM database see dbmmanage.
htpasswd encrypts passwords using either a version of MD5
modified for Apache, or the system's crypt() routine.
Files managed by htpasswd may contain both types of pass-
words; some user records may have MD5-encrypted passwords
while others in the same file may have passwords encrypted
This manual page only lists the command line arguments.
For details of the directives necessary to configure user
authentication in httpd see the Apache manual, which is
part of the Apache distribution or can be found at
-b Use batch mode; i.e., get the password from the
command line rather than prompting for it. This
option should be used with extreme care, since the
password is clearly visible on the command line.
-c Create the passwdfile. If passwdfile already
exists, it is rewritten and truncated. This option
cannot be combined with the -n option.
-n Display the results on standard output rather than
updating a file. This is useful for generating
password records acceptable to Apache for inclusion
in non-text data stores. This option changes the
syntax of the command line, since the passwdfile
-m Use Apache's modified MD5 algorithm for passwords.
Passwords encrypted with this algorithm are trans-
portable to any platform (Windows, Unix, BeOS, et
cetera) running Apache 1.3.9 or later. On Windows
and TPF, this flag is the default.
-d Use crypt() encryption for passwords. The default
on all platforms but Windows and TPF. Though possi-
bly supported by htpasswd on all platforms, it is
not supported by the httpd server on Windows and
-s Use SHA encryption for passwords. Faciliates migra-
tion from/to Netscape servers using the LDAP Direc-
tory Interchange Format (ldif).
-p Use plaintext passwords. Though htpasswd will sup-
port creation on all platforms, the httpd deamon
will only accept plain text passwords on Windows
Name of the file to contain the user name and pass-
word. If -c is given, this file is created if it
does not already exist, or rewritten and truncated
if it does exist.
The username to create or update in passwdfile. If
username does not exist in this file, an entry is
added. If it does exist, the password is changed.
The plaintext password to be encrypted and stored
in the file. Only used with the -b flag.
htpasswd returns a zero status ("true") if the username
and password have been successfully added or updated in
the passwdfile. htpasswd returns 1 if it encounters some
problem accessing files, 2 if there was a syntax problem
with the command line, 3 if the password was entered
interactively and the verification entry didn't match, 4
if its operation was interrupted, 5 if a value is too long
(username, filename, password, or final computed record),
and 6 if the username contains illegal characters (see the
htpasswd /usr/local/etc/apache/.htpasswd-users jsmith
a Windows system, the password will be encrypted
using the modified Apache MD5 algorithm; otherwise,
the system's crypt() routine will be used. If the
file does not exist, htpasswd will do nothing
except return an error.
htpasswd -c /home/doe/public_html/.htpasswd jane
Creates a new file and stores a record in it for
user jane. The user is prompted for the password.
If the file exists and cannot be read, or cannot be
written, it is not altered and htpasswd will dis-
play a message and return an error status.
htpasswd -mb /usr/web/.htpasswd-all jones Pwd4Steve
Encrypts the password from the command line
(Pwd4Steve) using the MD5 algorithm, and stores it
in the specified file.
Web password files such as those managed by htpasswd
should not be within the Web server's URI space -- that
is, they should not be fetchable with a browser.
The use of the -b option is discouraged, since when it is
used the unencrypted password appears on the command line.
On the Windows and MPE platforms, passwords encrypted with
htpasswd are limited to no more than 255 characters in
length. Longer passwords will be truncated to 255 charac-
The MD5 algorithm used by htpasswd is specific to the
Apache software; passwords encrypted using it will not be
usable with other Web servers.
Usernames are limited to 255 bytes and may not include the
httpd(8) and the scripts in support/SHA1 which come with
Man(1) output converted with