John Davidson

How to make private areas of a website (using php)?


I would like to make a secure admin panel to control parts of a website but I am not that experienced with PHP (or any other server scripting language) so I need help.
I know how to store user credentials in a database and how to verify if the credentials entered in a form match those, but not how to have a kind of secret area that only signed-in users can access. I have found examples for how to do this but they use header to redirect authenticated users to the admin panel (i.e. admin.php). Couldn't then a non-admin just go to and access everything? I'm not sure and this is basically the question I am asking.

My Answer:
To create a private area of a website using PHP, you can use sessions to keep track of whether a user is logged in or not. Here is a basic example of how you can achieve this:

1. Create a login form where users can enter their credentials (username and password).
2. When the form is submitted, verify the credentials against the ones stored in your database.
3. If the credentials are correct, start a session and store the user's information in the session variables.
4. On every page that you want to restrict access to, check if the user is logged in by checking the session variables.
5. If the user is not logged in, redirect them to the login page.
6. If the user is logged in, allow them to access the private area of the website.

Here is an example code snippet to demonstrate this:


// Check if the user is not logged in
if (!isset($_SESSION['user_id'])) {
header("Location: login.php");

// If the user is logged in, allow them to access the private area
// Your private area content goes here

By using sessions to keep track of the user's login status, you can ensure that only authenticated users can access the private areas of your website. Additionally, you can also implement roles and permissions to differentiate between regular users and administrators, allowing you to restrict access to certain parts of the website based on the user's role.

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