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Control access to a Google Site

People often ask how they can add the facility for people to create a login and password to access their Google Site specific to their Site. This is not something that can be done with Google Sites. Google Sites already provides a user access control mechanism based on Google accounts. See how to control access to your siteThis mechanism should prove sufficient for most people but it is necessary to understand the way this model works. 

Basically there are two distinct access control models for websites.

User Access Models

Model 1 - Website specific user account 

User finds a web site and creates account specific to that site. Generally an account can be created by the user with no intervention required by site owner for membership. Under this model, the site owner has the responsibility to maintain a user account database, manage the security issues with passwords etc

Model 2 - Approval of non-website specific account (the Google Sites model)

User finds site and asks to become a member using an account they already have. The Site owner only has to approve/deny access to the requesting account. They don't have to worry about maintaining a user accounts database for userids and passwords.
This is the the model Google Sites uses. A user must have a Google account. They can ask the Site owner to share the site with them. The Google Site owner has to approve access by this Google account.


Options

Provide Request access button

How to give users a way to ask a Site owner to give them access to their Site is not immediately obvious. One option is to provide a link to a part of the site that is only accessible to the Site owner. For example, for the Site philridoutdemosite I could use http://sites.google.com/site/philridoutdemosite/system/app/pages/admin .
This works adequately for 'consumer' Sites but does not work for Google Apps Sites (I know of no way to request access to a Google Apps based Site) and this is the simplest option for most people.

On receipt of a request for access, the easiest option is simply to click the 'allow access' link. But see also how to Control Access with Groups.

Provide a Request Access Form

An option that will work for any type of Site is to create and embed a Google Form. This has the advantage that you can at the same time ask for any additional information you would like to have from your Site users. It has the disadvantage that adding users as members of the Site will have to be done manually unless you write a Google Apps Script to process form responses and add users to your Site. Again, I recommend reviewing how to Control Access with Groups.


Listing Site Members

Whether or not you use a Google Group to manage Site membership, you may wish to generate a list of Site members which can be done using this script: Listing members of a Google Site

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