Manual:Preventing access

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For help customizing user rights, see Manual:User rights. This page contains examples useful for restricting access.

Most of the examples need changes to MediaWiki configuration file LocalSettings.php. Snippets of code with no accompanying instructions must be added to LocalSettings.php to take effect. To add one or more lines to the file, follow these steps:

  1. If there is a ?> at the end of the file, remove it. It's unnecessary and may cause problems in certain situations.
  2. Add the line to the end of the file, using a text editor. It doesn't matter if there are some blank lines above or below the addition. Do not use Windows Notepad, which may add a "Byte Order Mark" (BOM) and muck up the file. Typical symptoms of BOMs include white pages and errors about headers already being sent. To remove a BOM, you'll have to edit the file in a hex editor. Windows WordPad seems to work fine, as does Notepad++. Removal of BOMs can also be accomplished using the Vim text editor by opening the file in Vim, typing :set nobomb, and resaving the file. If you're using a Mac, TextEdit will also do the job.

For more detailed information on editing LocalSettings.php, read Manual:LocalSettings.php.

Simple private wiki[edit | edit source]

For the common use case of "a private wiki, for oneself and approved others", you need to:

Warning Warning: See the warnings in the sections below; this is simple "general use" code, and may or may not match your requirements.

# Disable reading by anonymous users
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['read'] = false;
 
# But allow them to access the login page or else there will be no way to log in!
# [You also might want to add access to "Main Page", "Wikipedia:Help", etc.)
$wgWhitelistRead = array ("Special:Userlogin");
 
# Disable anonymous editing
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;
 
# Prevent new user registrations except by sysops
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['createaccount'] = false;

Depending on what extensions you have installed, you may want to whitelist more pages. For example if you are using the Extension:ConfirmAccount extension, you probably want Special:RequestAccount whitelisted. If the content language of your wiki is not English, you may have to use the translated name of the special pages in question.

Restrict account creation[edit | edit source]

To restrict account creation, you need to edit LocalSettings.php in the root path of your MediaWiki installation.

# Prevent new user registrations except by sysops
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['createaccount'] = false;

Note Note: You can use the ConfirmAccount extension if you want to set up an account confirmation queue. (If not you may still proceed as follows.)

Note Note: New users will still be able to be created by sysops, in the following manner:

  1. Go to Special:Userlogin, when logged in as a sysop.
  2. Click on "Create an account" link to get to the account creation form.
  3. Enter a username and an email address, and click the "by email" button. Note you need $wgEnableEmail=true or else the sysop must pick a password and send it to the user.
  4. The account will be created with a random password which is then emailed to the given address (as with the "forgot password" feature). The user will be requested to change password at first login; when he does this, his e-mail address will also be marked as confirmed.
    When you click the "create account" button instead, you have to manually send the user his password. If you've set $wgMinimalPasswordLength=0 (default configuration up to version 1.15) and you've left the password field blank, the user will be emailed an e-mail address confirmation request but will be unable to access Special:Confirmemail to perform the confirmation. Instead, the user will get an error (unless you've added it to $wgWhitelistRead); the user will be able to login with a blank password and then confirm email, but their password will not have been reset (it will have to be reset manually).

It may be appropriate to edit the text displayed when a non-user attempts to log in. This can be done at MediaWiki:Nosuchuser, when logged in as a sysop. Use plain text without any special formatting, as the formatting is ignored and the text is literally rendered. (Might have changed, see bug 12952).

You may also modify the contents of the e-mail sent to new users by editing the page MediaWiki:Createaccount-text.

To prevent even sysops from creating accounts:

# Prevent new user registrations by anyone
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['createaccount'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop']['createaccount'] = false;

To add a message on top of the login form, modify MediaWiki:Loginstart or (to place on bottom of the form) MediaWiki:Loginend. Alternatively, use this code in your LocalSettings:

function efLoginFormMessage( &$template ) {
	$template->set( 'header', "(For an account to edit articles with, contact Mrs. Nurdsbaum in room B-303, nelda.nurdsbaum@example.com )");
	return true;
}
$wgHooks['UserLoginForm'][]='efLoginFormMessage';

Restrict editing of all pages[edit | edit source]

Users will still be able to read pages with these modifications, and they can view the source by using Special:Export/Article name or other methods (see also bug 1859).

See Help:User rights and Manual:$wgGroupPermissions. If you use Extension:AbuseFilter, any wiki admin can also put various restrictions in place.

Some examples of how to protect all pages from editing (not reading) by certain classes of users:

Restrict anonymous editing[edit | edit source]

Requires that a user be registered before they can edit.

$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;
You may then also want to hide user tools for anonymous (IP address) visitors: $wgShowIPinHeader = false;

Restrict editing by all non-sysop users[edit | edit source]

Requires that a user be a member of the administrators (sysop) usergroup.

$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['user']['edit'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop']['edit'] = true;

Restrict editing by absolutely everyone[edit | edit source]

$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['user']['edit'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop']['edit'] = false;

Restrict access to uploaded files[edit | edit source]

Manual:Image Authorisation, img_auth.php, Manual:User rights (read)

If you have enabled the ability to upload files, these will be served directly by the underlying web server. As a result, account-based access to the file is unrestricted by default.

Warning Warning: Setting the user right "read" (allow viewing pages) to false will only protect wiki (article, talk, ...) pages, but uploaded files (images, files, docs... in the $wgUploadPath subdirectories) will always remain readable via direct access by default.
Use the information from Manual:Image Authorisation and img_auth.php pages when you have the need to restrict image views and file download access to only logged-in users.

Example for access restriction to uploaded files in the server configuration[edit | edit source]

If sensitive files are uploaded to an internet-accessible wiki, you may wish to add restrictions on where these can be accessed from. On Apache, if your local network were 10.1.2.*, you could restrict serving files to local addresses with:

  <Location /mediawiki/images>
    Order deny,allow
    Allow from 10.1.2.3
    Deny from all
  </Location>

Restrict editing of an entire namespace[edit | edit source]

Pre-1.10[edit | edit source]

MediaWiki version: 1.9

This functionality is not available before 1.10 in the core software. You will have to use a hack, such as meta:User:PyneJ/Hacks/PageWhiteList.

1.10 upwards[edit | edit source]

MediaWiki version: 1.10

Starting from MediaWiki version 1.10, it is possible to protect entire namespaces using the $wgNamespaceProtection variable. Examples:

# Only allow autoconfirmed users to edit Project namespace
$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_PROJECT] = array( 'autoconfirmed' );
 
# Don't allow anyone to edit non-talk pages until they've confirmed their
# e-mail address (assuming we have no custom namespaces and allow edits
# from non-emailconfirmed users to start with)
# Note for 1.13: emailconfirmed group and right were removed from default
# setup, if you want to use it, you'll have to re-enable it manually
$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_MAIN]     = $wgNamespaceProtection[NS_USER]  =
$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_PROJECT]  = $wgNamespaceProtection[NS_IMAGE] =
$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_TEMPLATE] = $wgNamespaceProtection[NS_HELP]  =
$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_CATEGORY] = array( 'emailconfirmed' );
 
# Only allow sysops to edit "Policy" namespace
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop']['editpolicy'] = true;
$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_POLICY] = array( 'editpolicy' );

Note that in the last case it's assumed that a custom namespace exists and that NS_POLICY is a defined constant equal to the namespace number. See Manual:Using custom namespaces.

Restrict editing of certain specific pages[edit | edit source]

Use the Protect feature. By default, any sysop can protect pages so only other sysops can edit them. In 1.9 and higher, by default they can also protect pages so only "autoconfirmed" users (with accounts older than a configured period) can edit them. This does not require editing configuration files.

If you want to restrict editing to groups with specific permissions, edit $wgRestrictionLevels. To prevent actions other than edit and move, use $wgRestrictionTypes.

Restrict editing of all but a few pages[edit | edit source]

To impose a blanket restriction on editing for all pages, but allow a few (such as sandboxes, join request pages, etc.) to be more generously editable, you can use the EditSubpages extension. This may not fit too often, but you could also use the Restrict editing of parts of certain specific pages method mentioned above, with all name spaces protected, and only a special one editable by everyone which has all the pages you want editable.

Restrict editing for certain IP address ranges[edit | edit source]

Schools and other institutions may want to block all edits not from a few specified IP address ranges. To do so, see block. The only way to do this at present without modifying the code is to go to Special:Blockip and systematically rangeblock every one of the address ranges that you don't want to be able to edit. This will work for all future versions of MediaWiki. It will not work on a per-namespace basis.

Alternatively, it would be possible to hack the code to get it to do this more seamlessly, but that may or may not work indefinitely.

Restrict editing by a particular user[edit | edit source]

Use the user blocking functionality to deprive a user of all edit access. There is no way in the core software to restrict or allow particular users to edit particular pages, except by changing their usergroup.

Restrict page creation[edit | edit source]

Note: Revoking the edit right already prevents affected users from creating new pages and talk pages.

# Anonymous users can't create pages
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['createpage'] = false;
 
# Only users with accounts four days old or older can create pages
# Requires MW 1.6 or higher.
$wgGroupPermissions['*'            ]['createpage'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['user'         ]['createpage'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['createpage'] = true;
$wgAutoConfirmAge = 86400 * 4; # Four days times 86400 seconds/day

Restrict page creation in certain namespaces[edit | edit source]

There are separate rights for creating talk pages (createtalk) and creating non-talk pages (createpage). If you need per-namespace control finer than that, it is not possible in core mediawiki, and requires an extension such as Extension:Lockdown.

Restrict viewing of all pages[edit | edit source]

Warning Warning: if you want anonymous users to be unable to view the wiki markup/code, you should not allow them to edit any page (see #Restrict editing of all pages above). If they can edit any page, they can use template inclusion to view even pages they can't edit. This may be possible to avoid in 1.10 by using $wgNonincludableNamespaces (or in earlier versions using the NonincludableNamespaces extension), but that may not have been extensively tested.

Warning Warning: This method allows any visitor to view the wiki after creating an account. You may wish to combine it with #Restrict account creation above.

Warning Warning: Uploaded images will still be viewable to anyone who knows the image directory's name. Either point $wgUploadPath to the img_auth.php script and follow the instructions in Manual:Image Authorization, or use some external method to protect images, like .htaccess.

Note Note: If anonymous users can't view your page, neither can search engines. Your site will not be indexed on Google.

Add this line to your LocalSettings.php file:

# Disable reading by anonymous users
$wgGroupPermissions['*']['read'] = false;
 
# But allow them to read e.g., these pages:
$wgWhitelistRead =  array ( "Main Page", "Special:Userlogin", "Help:Contents", "-");
 
# Like previous, but for French (be careful of encoding! save file as UTF-8!)
# $wgWhitelistRead = array( ":Page Principale", "Special:Userlogin", "Aide en français"); 

# Allow Jobs to be run
$wgWhitelistRead = array( "Special:RunJobs" );

The $wgWhitelistRead setting allows users to view the main page and log in. Without this line, no one can log in. If page names have more than one word, use a space " " between them, not an underscore "_".

In addition to the main page of such a private site, you could give access to the Recentchanges page (if you think that its content isn't private) for feed readers by adding "Special:Recentchanges" to $wgWhitelistRead.

If you need to protect even the sidebar, main page, or login screen for any reason, it's recommended that you use higher-level authentication such as .htpasswd or equivalent.

Note that although Special:Listusers won't be available, it can be determined if a username is correct from Userlogin errors. You may want to give a common text for MediaWiki:wrongpassword and MediaWiki:nosuchusershort.

If you receive a JavaScript error when not logged in, and are using MediaWiki 1.16 or earlier, you will need to add a "-" to the $wgWhitelistRead so that the dynamically generated JavaScript file is readable by anonymous.

The source code of index.php has a reference to an article called "-":

<script src="/w/index.php?title=-&action=raw&gen=js&useskin=vector&270"></script>

Restrict viewing of certain specific pages[edit | edit source]

To prevent anyone but sysops from viewing a page, it can simply be deleted. To prevent even sysops from viewing it, it can be removed more permanently with the Oversight extension. To completely destroy the text of the page, it can be manually removed from the database. In any case, the page cannot be edited while in this state, and for most purposes no longer exists.

To have a page act normally for some users but be invisible to others, as is possible for instance in most forum software, is a very different matter. MediaWiki is designed for two basic access modes:

  1. Everyone can view every single page on the wiki (with the possible exception of a few special pages). This is the mode used by Wikipedia and its sister projects.
  2. Anonymous users can only view the Main Page and login page, and cannot edit any page. This is basically the same as the above, in terms of technical implementation (just an extra check for every page view), which is why it exists. This is the mode of operation used by certain private wikis such as those used by various Wikimedia committees.

If you intend to have different view permissions than that, MediaWiki is not designed for your usage. (See bug 1924.) Data is not necessarily clearly delineated by namespace, page name, or other criteria, and there are a lot of leaks you'll have to plug if you want to make it so (see security issues with authorization extensions for a sample). Other wiki software may be more suitable for your purpose. You have been warned. If you must use MediaWiki, there are two basic possibilities:

  1. Set up separate wikis with a shared user database, configure one as viewable and one as unviewable (see above), and make interwiki links between them.
  2. Install a third-party hack or extension. You will have to reapply it every time you upgrade the software, and it may not be updated immediately when new security fixes or upgrades of MediaWiki are released. Third-party hacks are, of course, not supported by MediaWiki developers, and if you're having problems you shouldn't ask on MediaWiki-l, #mediawiki, or other official support channels. One hack for this is the hidden namespaces patch (although this is outdated and shouldn't be patched to a working wiki, which it will almost certainly break); a number of others are listed in Category:Page specific user rights extensions. Read about security issues with authorization extensions if you plan to use one of those.

Restricting exporting[edit | edit source]

Check also : Manual:Parameters_to_Special:Export
By protecting pages

It is not possible to export the contents of a page that cannot be read since rev:19935.

By modifying SpecialPage.php

Removing the Login link from all pages[edit | edit source]

One can remove the login/create account link from the upper right corner of all pages, as users can still go to Special:SpecialPages>Special:UserLogin to login. In LocalSettings.php use (tested with MediaWiki 1.16)

function NoLoginLinkOnMainPage( &$personal_urls ){
    unset( $personal_urls['login'] );
    unset( $personal_urls['anonlogin'] );
    return true;
}
$wgHooks['PersonalUrls'][]='NoLoginLinkOnMainPage';

Removing accounts[edit | edit source]

If you want to completely remove access to a user, e.g. on a simple private wiki, it's not possible to simply delete the account (unless no edits have been made); you can block it, but the user will still be able to read pages. However, using User Merge and Delete extension you can merge the account in another one and delete the former; the original account will then "disappear". If you want to preserve history readability (i.e., to have edits from the user to be still shown under his name), you can create a new account e.g. with username "OriginalUserName (deactivated)" and then merge "OriginalUserName" into the former, or even use Renameuser extension to rename "OriginalUserName" into "AnotherUserName", then create an account under "OriginalUserName" and merge "AnotherUserName" into it: in this manner, "OriginalUserName" will be completely "usurped" (if you've set a non-null password).

In MediaWiki 1.16.0, it is possible to set $wgBlockDisablesLogin to true to prevent access and reading to blocked users.

Other restrictions[edit | edit source]

You may want to have pages editable only by their creator, or ban viewing of history, or any of a number of other things. None of these features are available in an unhacked version of MediaWiki. If you need more fine-grained permissions, see the #See also section for links to other wiki packages that are designed for this, as well as hacks that attempt to contort MediaWiki into something it's not designed to be but may work anyway.

See also[edit | edit source]

There are some related manual/help pages that may be of interest:

other wiki software may have better support for fine-grained access control than MediaWiki:

If you want better access control but want to use MediaWiki, this is a list of extensions and hacks to allow restrictions not possible in the software proper. These hacks may be out-of-date (check the version they're for). Please don't ask in official MediaWiki support channels if something goes wrong with a third-party hack.