Impersonating Users

Introduction

Sometimes you may need to use your ownCloud installation as another user, whether to help users debug an issue or to get a better understanding of what they see when they use their ownCloud account. The ability to do so is a feature delivered via an ownCloud app called Impersonate.

This functionality is available only to administrators.

Impersonating a User

When installed, you can then impersonate users; in effect, you will be logged in as said user. To do so, go to the Users list, where you will now see a new column available called "Impersonate", as in the screenshot below.

Picking a user to Impersonate.

Click the gray head icon next to the user that you want to impersonate. Doing so will log you in as that user, temporarily pausing your current session. You will see a notification at the top of the page that confirms you’re now logged in as (or impersonating) that user.

Impersonating a user.

Anything that you see until you log out will be what that user would see.

Ending an Impersonation

When you’re ready to stop impersonating the user, log out and you will return to your normal user session.

Allow Some or All Group Administrators To Impersonate Users

As a security measure, the application lets ownCloud administrators restrict the ability to impersonate users to:

  • All group administrators.

  • Specific group administrators.

By default, when the Impersonate app is installed, only the ownCloud administrator will be allowed to impersonate users. When the app is installed and configured, ownCloud administrators retain the ability to impersonate all users of an ownCloud instance.

When enabled and configured, only a group’s administrator can impersonate members of their group. For example, if an ownCloud administrator restricts user impersonation only to the group: group1, then only group1’s administrators can impersonate users belonging to `group1. No other users can impersonate other users.

To configure it, in the administrator settings panel, which you can find under administrator  Settings  Admin  User Authentication, you’ll see a section titled: "Impersonate Settings" (which you can see below).

Impersonate App settings

If you want to allow group admins to impersonate users within groups which they administer, click Allow all group admins to impersonate users within the groups they are admins of.

If you want to limit impersonation to specific group admins, first click Allow group admins of specific groups to impersonate the users within those groups. With the option checked, click into the textbox underneath it. You will see a list of the matching groups on your ownCloud installation appear, which will change, based on what you type in the textbox. Choose one or more groups from the list, and they will be added to the textbox, restricting this functionality to only those groups.