How to Embed Login Credentials into a URL

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Why embed credentials?

This article will show you how to embed login credentials into a url. Why would you want to do this?  Here is an example scenario:

Say that you have a user area on your own website, not on ScreenSteps. You create a site on ScreenSteps that you want those users to have access to but you don't want to go through the hassle of setting up user accounts for everyone on ScreenSteps. You can use this method to provide a link in the user area that will take them to your site on ScreenSteps and automatically log them in under a shared user account.

Feature Trade-offs

Given this method uses a single shared user account, reporting will not accurately show unique user activity. Course progress and Bookmark usage will also be compromised, as these features rely on tracking individual user activity.

Security Considerations

A couple things that you should be aware of:

  1. Anybody who has this url can login to the site.  You may want to update the password periodically.
  2. If you use http instead of https for the url then the url will be sent unencrypted. If someone is sniffing your traffic they would be able to see the username and password in the url.

If you need lock-tight security for your content or want to use features like Courses or Bookmarks, then you should create reader accounts for each person that is going to access that content or use Single Sign-on

But if you just need something simple that will keep unauthorized people out of the site while at the same time make it easy for your authorized users to get access to the content then this can be a good solution. To set it up, follow these steps:

1. Create an API User

First you will want to create a new API Access account. This account will be the login for everyone from your own site.  In this example we will say that the username is "myusers" and the password is "mypassword".

2. Give the User Site Permissions

Then add this user to a protected site on your account. They will now have permission to view the site.

3. Create your Emdedded URL

Copy the url for the site and add on the authentication parameters.

IMPORTANT: Don't copy the url the admin area of your account. API Access users cannot access the admin area. Make sure you copy the public url.

If the url for your space was then you would want to add ?login=myusers&password=mypassword to the end. The result would look like this:

Special characters such as "@" in the email or "&" in the password will need to be encoded in order for your URL to work properly. If needed, see this article on how to encode special characters for your URL.

4. Use the URL elsewhere

When a user clicks on this url they will be taken to space 2345 and automatically logged in.  Anybody just going to will be asked for a username and password.


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