Managing portal settings
After you have created users, user groups, organizations, roles, sites and teams your portal will be ready to host content and applications. You can configure Liferay’s portal settings to fit your environment and your particular portal project. Many configurations can be performed through Liferay’s portlet-driven user interface. This section covers how to configure portal settings such as password policies, authentication settings, mail host names, email notifications, display settings and monitoring.
Now that you have been navigating in the control panel, you should be pretty familiar with how it works. All the options appear in the left navigation, their interfaces appear in the middle and any sub-options appear on the right. We have focused so far on the maintenance of users and portal security. The remaining links in the Portal category focus on various portal settings which cover how the portal operates and integrates with other systems you may have. Let’s begin our discussion of Liferay’s portal settings by examining how to configure password policies.
Password policies can enhance the security of your portal. You can set requirements on password strength, frequency of password expiration and more. Additionally, you can apply different password policies to different sets of portal users.
If you are viewing a page other than the control panel, select Control Panel from the Go to menu of the Dockbar. Next, click on the Password Policies link on the left side of the screen under the Portal heading. You will see there is already a default password policy in the system. You can edit this in the same manner as you edit other resources in the portal: click Actions and then click Edit.
The Password Policy settings form contains the following fields. Enabling specific settings via the check boxes prompts setting-specific options to appear.
Name: requires you to enter a name for the password policy.
Description: lets you describe the password policy so other administrators will know what it’s for.
Changeable: determines whether or not a user can change his or her password.
Change Required: determines whether or not a user must change his or her password after logging into the portal for the first time.
Minimum Age: lets you choose how long a password must remain in effect before it can be changed.
Reset Ticket Max Age: determines how long a password reset link remains valid.
Password Syntax Checking: allows you to set a minimum password length and to choose whether or not dictionary words can be in passwords. You can also specify detailed requirements such as minimum numbers of alpha numeric characters, lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers or symbols.
Password History: lets you keep a history (with a defined length) of passwords and prevents users from changing their passwords to one that was previously used.
Password Expiration: lets you choose how long passwords can remain active before they expire. You can select the age, the warning time and a grace limit.
Lockout: allows you to set a number of failed log-in attempts that triggers a user’s account to lock. You can choose whether an administrator needs to unlock the account or if it becomes unlocked after a specific duration.
From the list of password policies, you can perform several other actions.
Edit: brings you to the form above and allows you to modify the password policy.
Permissions: allows you to define which users, user groups or roles have permission to edit the password policy.
Assign Members: takes you to a screen where you can search and select users in the portal to be assigned to this password policy. The password policy will be enforced for any users who are added here.
Delete: shows up for any password policies you add beyond the default policy. You cannot delete the default policy.
Next, let’s examine Liferay’s Portal Settings.
Most global portal settings can be configured from the Portal Settings section of the control panel. The Configuration heading contains the following links:
General: lets you configure global settings, such as the company name, domain, the virtual host, a global portal logo and more.
Authentication: allows you to configure log in IDs, connection to LDAP and Single Sign-On.
Mail Host Names: lets you add a list of other mail host names to be associated with your organization. For example, your main domain might be
mycompany.com but you might use
mycompany-marketing.com for your email newsletters. Any domain names associated with your organization can go here.
Email Notifications: allows you to configure Liferay to send email notifications for certain events, such as user registrations, password changes, etc. You can customize those messages here.
Figure 15.14: Portal Settings Pages
Let’s discuss these settings next.
The General link takes you to a page with three headings: Main Configuration, Navigation and Additional Information. Under the Main Configuration heading, you can set the name of the company, organization or site which is running the portal. This name also defines the name of your portal’s default site. Its default name is
liferay.com so you will definitely want to set this to reflect your own company. You can also set the mail domain, virtual host and content delivery network address here. Under the Navigation heading, you can set a home page for your portal here as well as default landing and logout pages. Under the Additional Information heading, you can specify a Legal name, ID, company type, SIC code, ticker symbol, industry and industry type.
The Authentication page has several tabs: General, LDAP, CAS, Facebook, NTLM, OpenID, Open SSO and SiteMinder. You can use any of these authentication methods to configure how users will authenticate to Liferay. Since Liferay supports quite a few authentication methods, there are different settings for each.
The settings on the General tab of the Authentication page affect only Liferay functionality and don’t have anything to do with the integration options on the other tabs. The General tab allows you to customize Liferay’s standard authentication behavior. Specifically, the General tab allows you to select from several global authentication settings:
Authenticate via email address (default), screen name or user ID (a numerical ID auto-generated in the database not recommended).
Enable/Disable automatic log in. If enabled, Liferay allows a user to check a box which will cause the site to “remember” the user’s log in by placing a cookie on his or her browser. If disabled, users will always have to log in manually.
Enable/Disable forgotten password functionality.
Enable/Disable request password reset links.
Enable/Disable account creation by strangers. If you are running an Internet site, you will probably want to leave this on so visitors can create accounts on your site.
Enable/Disable account creation by those using an email address in the domain of the company running the site (which you just set on the General page of Portal Settings). This is handy if you are using Liferay to host both internal and external web sites. You can make sure all internal IDs have to be created by administrators but external users can register for IDs themselves.
Enable / Disable email address verification. If you enable this, Liferay will send users a verification email with a link back to the portal to verify the email address they entered is a valid one they can access.
By default, all settings except for the last are enabled. User authentication by email address is an important default for the following reasons:
An email address is, by definition, unique to the user who owns it.
People can generally remember their email addresses. If you have users who haven’t logged into the portal for a while, it is possible they will forget their screen names, especially if they weren’t allowed to use their screen names of choice (because they were already taken).
If a user changes his or her email address, it is more likely the user will forget to update his or her email address in his or her profile, if the email address is not used to authenticate. If the user’s email address is not updated, all notifications sent by the portal will fail to reach the user. So it is important to keep the email address at the forefront of a user’s mind when he or she logs in to help the user keep it up to date.
We’ll examine how to set up LDAP authentication next.