Manual Page: htpasswd
htpasswd - Create and update user authentication files
htpasswd [ -c ] [ -m | -d | -s | -p ] passwdfile username
htpasswd -b [ -c ] [ -m | -d | -s | -p ] passwdfile username
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 created by
htpasswd. This program can only manage usernames and pass-
words 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 passwords;
some user records may have MD5-encrypted passwords while
others in the same file may have passwords encrypted with
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 com-
bined with the -n option.
-n Display the results on standard output rather than
updating a file. This is useful for generating pass-
word records acceptable to Apache for inclusion in
non-text data stores. This option changes the syntax
of the command line, since the passwdfile argument
(usually the first one) is omitted. It cannot be com-
bined with the -c option.
-m Use Apache's modified MD5 algorithm for passwords.
Passwords encrypted with this algorithm are transport-
able 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 possibly sup-
ported by htpasswd on all platforms, it is not sup-
ported by the httpd server on Windows and TPF.
-s Use SHA encryption for passwords. Faciliates migration
from/to Netscape servers using the LDAP Directory
Interchange Format (ldif).
-p Use plaintext passwords. Though htpasswd will support
creation on all platforms, the httpd deamon will only
accept plain text passwords on Windows and TPF.
Name of the file to contain the user name and password.
If -c is given, this file is created if it does not
already exist, or rewritten and truncated if it does
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 prob-
lem accessing files, 2 if there was a syntax problem with
the command line, 3 if the password was entered interac-
tively and the verification entry didn't match, 4 if its
operation was interrupted, 5 if a value is too long (user-
name, filename, password, or final computed record), and 6
if the username contains illegal characters (see the RES-
htpasswd /usr/local/etc/apache/.htpasswd-users jsmith
Adds or modifies the password for user jsmith. The user
is prompted for the password. If executed on a Windows
system, the password will be encrypted using the modi-
fied 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 display 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
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 the