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Password protect a Netlify site through GitHub Actions

Recently I’ve published an article on how to set up CI/CD with GitHub Actions and Netlify. When working on my last project I needed to password protect develop and staging sites which were deployed on different repos. Netlify already has solutions for access control like OAuth or password/JWT secret restriction or even through _headers file with basic authentication. But what I wanted was to password protect my sites at the beginning with a single access and then add other accesses on need and maybe only for some routes, all managed through GitHub actions and deployed for each site.

access control netlify

Password protection only works with the paid Netlify plans

Selective protection with basic authentication met my needs very well. The only problem is that at the beginning I had to push _headers file on GitHub with credentials, which did not seem very clean and not very safe to me. So I thought it would be better to use GitHub environment variables in _headers file. The idea is to push this file without any credentials but simply a string that will be replaced.

How to do?

1- Push _headers file with Basic-Auth followed by a string that will be replaced.

/*
    Basic-Auth: SITE_ACCESS_USER:SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD
    X-Frame-Options: DENY
    X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
    Referrer-Policy: no-referrer
    X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff

What will interest us is Basic-Auth: SITE_ACCESS_USER:SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD. You can also notice that with /* we will password protect all website routes. We could also set it only for specific routes and this is the advantage of this solution.

2- In your Github secrets add SITE_ACCESS_USER and SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD

github secrets

3- In your workflow add a Setup Netlify access step in which we have to retrieve SITE_ACCESS_USER and SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD variables through GitHub secrets. Then we try to find SITE_ACCESS_USER:SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD matching pattern and replace it with our credentials with sed command.

- name: Setup Netlify access
  env:
    SITE_ACCESS_USER: ${{ secrets.SITE_ACCESS_USER }}
    SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD: ${{ secrets.SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD }}
  shell: bash
  run: sed -i.bak "s/SITE_ACCESS_USER:SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD/$SITE_ACCESS_USER:$SITE_ACCESS_PASSWORD/g" $(pwd)/public/_headers && rm $(pwd)/public/_headers.bak

Voilà 🎉

The complete workflow code is available at https://gist.github.com/itsabdessalam/ee5dfe83d832bf5015b096016cc923f4

Deployment logs overview

github actions logs

Test

password protect live

See also

Before you leave…
Thanks for reading! 😊