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    tpholt
    New

    Problems with accessing part of my site from Facebook smartphone app

    When I update my website, I post to Facebook to let people know there is new content on the site.  As part of the post, I provide a link to the website.

     

    If someone reads this post on a smartphone using the Facebook app and taps on the link, it takes them to my website, but using the web browser built into Facebook, and NOT their regular phone web browser.  So far, so good.  But....part of my web site is password protected (using the tools provided by Go Daddy in cPanel). If the user that tapped the link on their smartphone from within the Facebook app then tries to access the password protected area, they receive an error:

     

    "Unauthorized  This server could not verify that you are authorized to access the document requested. Either you supplied the wring credentials (e.g. bad password), or your browser doesn't understand how to supply the credentials required.  Additionally, a 401 Unauthorized error was encountered while trying to use and ErrorDocument to handle the request."

     

    And the user is unable to access the password protected area of the site.  It's noteworthy to know that the user is not even presented with the username/password window, just the error message.  If the same user pulls up their regular phone web browser and then accesses the site, the password protected area works just fine and as intended.  In the Facebook app, there is a setting to specify whether links should be opened externally, and if this option is enabled, then when tapping the link in my post, Facebook launches the phone's default browser, and, again, the password areas of my site work as intended.

     

    It is also noteworthy that if the user clicks on the link in the Facebook post while using a pc or tablet, then everything is fine.

     

    I am reluctant to tell all of my users to change this setting in their Facebook app just to use one section of my web site, but I also get a lot of comments/e-mails telling me that they cannot access the password protected areas.  My standard response thus far (and so much so that I am now including it in the Facebook post along with the link, but I still get questions/emails) is to tell people that if they are using their smartphone and clicking the link from within Facebook, to go to their phone's regular browser and type in the link manually.

     

    What's happening here?  Is there something I can do from the web site design side to alleviate this issue?

     

    Thanks,

     

    Tony

    1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION
    jvanderb
    Helper III

    This really sounds like a problem with the Facebook app, and not with your site. It sounds like their app just does not support Basic and/or NTLM authentication within the app's browser.

     

    Aside from directing your users to change that setting, about the only way that I can think of to address this issue would require a significant amount of development.  You'd have to develop some sort of form based login, instead of the basic authentication you are using now.

     

    Unless Facebook decides to support this sort of authentication in their application, I don't think there is much else that can be done.

    View solution in original post

    2 REPLIES 2
    jvanderb
    Helper III

    This really sounds like a problem with the Facebook app, and not with your site. It sounds like their app just does not support Basic and/or NTLM authentication within the app's browser.

     

    Aside from directing your users to change that setting, about the only way that I can think of to address this issue would require a significant amount of development.  You'd have to develop some sort of form based login, instead of the basic authentication you are using now.

     

    Unless Facebook decides to support this sort of authentication in their application, I don't think there is much else that can be done.

    View solution in original post

    Thanks for the information. It's kind of what I was already thinking, but I really am a neophyte in all of this, so I wanted to make sure.

     

    Tony