Client Login that's better than .htaccess
March 7, 2006 9:28 AM   Subscribe

I work for a small production company, and we’re looking for a server-side “client-login” solution to reside on our web server for customers to preview rough-cuts and miscellaneous files.

Currently, we have a combination of .htaccess / .htpasswd protected directories on our web server, with some PHP to make the file listings a little nicer on the eye.

The two big problems with this system are ease of use and flexibility. For each client, we have to create a separately passworded directory below the main “client” tree on our server. This task also requires someone to manually add the user name / password to the .htpasswd list, which isn’t the easiest thing to train someone else to do. Secondly, it requires the client to browse to the correct sub-directory below the “client” tree, which adds a degree of error – which tends to reflect poorly on our company, and not the user. Lastly, this is all dependent on SSH and FTP to move files, which isn’t user-friendly for most people, including production assistants and interns, who need to be doing this work.

I’m looking for a server-side solution where a user can enter login credentials, and be taken to their own page with media specifically assigned to them. The ability to admin logins on the fly, through the same web-based interface is also important. Additionally, the ability to add files to the web server through a web-based submission form is also necessary.

Does anyone have any suggestions for an existing solution to accomplish what we’re looking for? If not, any suggestions on how to improve our low-tech way of currently doing things would also be appreciated.
posted by dvottero to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
i am a PHP Web developer and have made about 5 of these client file systems in the last year im surprised there isnt a free version of this kinda thing around
posted by BSummers at 9:34 AM on March 7, 2006

I've no idea if this helps you but you can achieve almost all of this with very little effort using OS X Server. From the Server Admin app you can set up realm-based security on a client-by-client basis, and by using a combination of server redirects and/or virtual hosting you should be able to make the redirection feel transparent and client-oriented. Finally, by using Adobe's Version Cue and GoLive for asset management you should be able to completely do away with manual ssh/ftp chores, as well as implementing a proper version control system.
posted by unSane at 9:47 AM on March 7, 2006

Response by poster: unSane: That's an interesting approach to remember for the future, but we currently have a shared web hosting server that we use, that hosts several domains that are assocaited with different projects we're working on. If I can find a solution that works, I could see us setting up a separate "client area" on each of the domains.
posted by dvottero at 9:52 AM on March 7, 2006

Check out the offerings from 37 Signals. They are very inexpensive or free, and if you really want to, you can pay the extra to re-brand it however you want.
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on March 7, 2006

The Cute Group has Webmaster Client Area, a $50 PHP/MySQL script that might do what you need. I haven't used it; I just found it with a Google search. The info's pretty thin, so I don't know how customizable it would be. There's a demo. User login: test/test. Admin login: admin/admin.

37 Signals' Basecamp is good, but it could get expensive depending on how many clients you have.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:44 AM on March 7, 2006

Also, HotScripts a user management section of PHP scripts.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:46 AM on March 7, 2006

PHPCollab is a free collaborative portal dealie, with support for client logins and such:
posted by kableh at 11:55 AM on March 7, 2006

As you're already using PHP, go with that. PHP has got nice session management stuff built in, but of course you'll need to sort out the details of exactly where usernames and passwords are kept.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:09 PM on March 7, 2006

net2ftp could be a good solution for some of your problems.
you can give it a spin from their site.
posted by tysiva at 10:27 AM on March 8, 2006

Owl? Probably overkill for your needs, but a nice PHP-based document management solution.
posted by blag at 1:35 PM on March 8, 2006

I work for a post-production company and I have just implemented something very much like this.

I setup a basic linux box (Ubuntu) with PHP/Apache2 and (after much trial and error) chose the now-discontinued Invision Power File Manager, which is available from the original author's website here.

In my setup I also setup Proftpd with MySQL authentication and hacked the filemanager to create FTP credientials at the same time that I create a web user account.

Clients can log in to the server, get access only to their directory which they can upload to and download from. They can log into the same directory with FTP.

The server runs Samba and shows up on our network as a Windows fileshare, making it very easy to drop files for client pickup.
posted by sycophant at 1:31 AM on May 20, 2006

« Older help !   |   Video contests, where are you? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.