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How to protect image from public view in Laravel 5?

Posted by: admin October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I have installed Laravel 5.0 and have made Authentication. Everything is working just fine.

My web site is only open for Authenticated members. The content inside is protected to Authenticated members only, but the images inside the site is not protected for public view.

Any one writes the image URL directly can see the image, even if the person is not logged in to the system.

http://www.somedomainname.net/images/users/userImage.jpg

My Question: is it possible to protect images (the above URL example) from public view, in other Word if a URL of the image send to any person, the individual must be member and login to be able to see the image.

Is that possible and how?

Answers:

It is possible to protect images from public view in Laravel 5.x folder.

  • Create images folder under storage folder (I have chosen storage folder because it has write permission already that I can use when I upload images to it) in Laravel like storage/app/images.

  • Move the images you want to protect from public folder to the new created images folder. You could also chose other location to create images folder but not inside the public folder, but with in Laravel folder structure but still a logical location example not inside controller folder. Next you need to create a route and image controller.

Create Route

Route::get('images/users/{user_id}/{slug}', [
     'as'         => 'images.show',
     'uses'       => '[email protected]',
     'middleware' => 'auth',
]);

The route will forward all image request access to Authentication page if person is not logged in.

Create ImagesController

class ImagesController extends Controller {

    public function show($user_id, $slug)
    {
        $storagePath = storage_path('app/images/users/' . $user_id . '/' . $slug);
        return Image::make($storagePath)->response();
    }
}

You can modify your storage path and file/folder structure as you wish to fit your requirement, this is just to demonstrate how I did it and how it works.

You can also added condition to show the images only for specific members in the controller.

It is also possible to hash the file name with file name, time stamp and other variables in addition.


Addition: some asked if this method can be used as alternative to public folder upload, YES it is possible but it is not recommended practice as explained in this answer. So the same method can be also used to upload images in storage path even if you do not intend to protect them, just follow the same process but remove 'middleware' => 'auth',. That way you won’t give 777 permission in your public folder and still have a safe uploading environment. The same mentioned answer also explain how to use this method with out authentication in case some one would use it or giving alternative solution as well.

Questions:
Answers:

I haven’t actually tried this but I found Nginx auth_request module that allows you to check the authentication from Laravel, but still send the file using Nginx.

It sends an internal request to given url and checks the http code for success (2xx) or failure (4xx) and on success, lets the user download the file.

Edit: Another option is something I’ve tried and it seemed to work fine. You can use X-Accel-Redirect -header to serve the file from Nginx. The request goes through PHP, but instead of sending the whole file through, it just sends the file location to Nginx which then serves it to the client.