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Questions regarding apache2 authentication using either Pam or MySQL

I would like to create a directory on my web server that is password protected. My initial stab at doing this was done using php authentication and a MySQL database. It seems to be working just fine, but I got to thinking that there must be an easier method to do this that could be built into the server with a module. So after some research I found the libapache2-mod-auth-mysql and libapache2-mod-auth-pam packages for Debian. It appears that the mysql package has not yet been brought into the etc repositories yet and I found a post online from back in May that someone was wondering if this was going to be brought in the etc repository soon or not. No follow-up on the post has been given yet.

I am unclear as to how the pam based one would work. Would I need to create users on my server in my normal user database in order for folks to authenticate against? I have a basic understanding of how to get the pam based method to work, but not sure where the passwords and such are being stored and authenticated against.

I would much prefer to use the MySQL method and I would really prefer to have the authentication required at the server level and not in some php files. Anyone have any ideas at this point for using the libapache2-mod-auth-mysql package? Is it possible to get the source and compile this for my system directly?


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