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+++ title = "Security" description = "BookStack security concerns and considerations" date = "2017-01-01" type = "admin-doc" +++

Since BookStack can hold important information for users you should be aware of any potential security concerns. Read through the below to ensure you have secured your BookStack instance. Note, The below only relates to BookStack itself. The security of the server BookStack is hosted on is not instructed below but should be taken into account.

Initial Security Setup

  1. Ensure you change the password and email address for the initial user.
  2. Ensure only the public folder is being served by your webserver. Serving files above this folder opens up a lot of code that does not need to be public. Triple check this if you have installed BookStack within the commonly used /var/www folder.
  3. Ensure the database user you've used for BookStack has limited permissions for only accessing the database used for BookStack data.
  4. Within BookStack, go through the settings to ensure registration and public access settings are as you expect.
  5. Review the user roles in the settings area.
  6. Read the below to further understand the security for images & attachments.

Securing Images

By default, Images are stored in a way which is publicly accessible. This is done on purpose to ensure decent performance while using BookStack. Below are a couple of options to increasing image security:

Image Authentication

You can choose to store images behind authentication so only logged-in users can view images. This solution is currently still in testing you could experience performance issues. This option will only work if you have the 'Allow Public Viewing' setting disabled.

Back-up your BookStack instance before migrating to this option

To use this option simply set STORAGE_TYPE=local_secure in your .env file. Uploaded images will be stored within the storage/uploads/images folder.

If you are migrating to this option with existing images you will need to move all content in the folder public/uploads/images to storage/uploads/images. Do not simply copy and leave content in the public/uploads/images as those images will still be publicly accessible. After doing this migration you may have to clean-up and re-upload any 'App Icon' images, found in settings, since these need to remain publicly accessible.

Complex Urls

In the settings area of BookStack you can find the option 'Enable higher security image uploads?'. Enabling this will add a 16 character random string to the name of image files to prevent easy guessing of URLs. This increases security without potential performance concerns.

It's important to ensure you disable 'directory indexes' to prevent unknown users from being able to navigate their way through your images. Here's the configuration for NGINX & Apache if your server allows directory indexes:


# By default indexes are disabled on Nginx but if you have them enabled
# add this to your BookStack server block
location /uploads {
       autoindex off;


# Add this to your Apache BookStack virtual host if Indexes are enabled.
# If .htaccess file are enabled then the below should already be active.
<Location "/uploads">
    Options -Indexes


Attachments, if not using Amazon S3, are stored in the storage/uploads directory. By default, unlike images, these are stored behind the application authentication layer so access depends on permissions you have set up at a role level and page level.

If you are using Amazon S3 for file storage then access will depend on your S3 permission settings. Unlike images, BookStack will not automatically attempt to make uploaded attachments publically accessible.

User Passwords

User passwords, if not using an alternative authentication method, are stored in the database. These are hashed using the standard Laravel hashing methods which use the Bcrypt hashing algorithm.

JavaScript in Page Content

By default, JavaScript tags within page content is escaped when rendered. This can be turned off by setting ALLOW_CONTENT_SCRIPTS=true in your .env file. Note that even if you disable this escaping the WYSIWYG editor may still perform it's own JavaScript escaping.

Web Crawler Control

The rules found in the /robots.txt file are automatically controlled via the "Allow public viewing?" setting. This can be overridden by setting ALLOW_ROBOTS=false or ALLOW_ROBOTS=true in your .env file. If you'd like to customise the rules this can be done via theme overrides.

Secure Cookies

BookStack uses cookies to track sessions, remember logins and for XSRF protection. When using HTTPS you may want to ensure that cookies are only sent back to the browser if the connection is over HTTPS. This can be enabled by setting SESSION_SECURE_COOKIE=true in your .env file.

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