What's the best way to add a secure section

I’m starting with a new client that wants to have a section in their site that requires a username and password. They have an existing site that uses Go Daddy for hosting.

I have established a secure section for clients before by adding .htaccess to a certain folder. However, only with a single username and password that the owner gives out when needed. This situation will be for multiple users with individual logins accessing historical documents and pictures. Other than a low annual membership fee established before the WWW existed, the section will be free. As of last count, there are about 400 members with email, but I believe the majority are in their upper 50s to 70s, so it needs to be easy to use.

What are good software or programming offered to handle this? My expertise is in HTML and CSS. I have studied PHP/MySQL, but have not had a call for it yet and haven’t used it. Thanks for any help.

you can not do it in HTML. You will have to use programming language like PHP to make this happen. You probably need to make one member registration page and then their login page. PHP/MySQL combination is best. You will also have to design proper database for this.

w3schools is a best place to start learning about PHP and MySQL.

Not nearly as secure I imagine, but a heck of a lot easier http://www.javascriptkit.com/script/script2/loginpass2.shtml

Don’t even consider a JavaScript solution since there will be people wanting to use the site who don’t have JavaScript and bypassing any JavaScript “security” is trivial.

To be able to create a membership section where each member has their own login is going to require at least PHP and mySQL will be easier than using a flat file to store the info. Writing your own code to do it is not a trivial task since you also need to consider all the different ways that someone may try to beak in.

A solution such as a CMS that already provides for that sort of functionality is one alternative you may want to consider.

I came across a free PHP script since this post that is supposed to handle logins with a flat file. However, testing and agreeing with ‘felgall’, it’s an option that won’t work. I’m looking at these suggestions and getting back into the Sitepoint PHP/MySQL book that I started last year.