As an administrator, it's likely users will contact you regarding an issue they're experiencing on your site. However, because much of what a user can see and access is dependent upon their security and various levels of access, what they see may be different than what you see, sometimes making it difficult to help them.
That's why we created the Impersonate feature, because when you impersonate a user, you're literally logged into your site as that user, allowing you to view your site from their perspective. So, if a user comes to you with an issue, impersonating them can make troubleshooting much easier.
There are two ways to impersonate:
- General impersonation
- Specific impersonation
Let's learn about each method, and the difference between them.
Rather than impersonating a specific user, this form of impersonation allows you to view your site using a member or non-member test account. This method is ideal if you're not troubleshooting a specific user's problem and need to quickly view your site from a general member OR non-member perspective.
To do so:
- Click admin (gear icon) in the Webmaster Links menu.
- Click the Member or Non-Member button, depending on your need.
NOTE: Remember to click Stop Impersonating in your site header or footer to stop impersonating.
If you need to impersonate a specific user, use the Directory to search for and access the user's profile. Then:
- Click the Impersonate button.
- Enter the reason why you're impersonating them, and then click Start Impersonation Session. You'll only be able to impersonate them for the indicated length of time. (This is configurable on the Admin > Settings > Security > Impersonation page. See Manage User Data Privacy for more information.)
NOTE: When impersonating a user, a black notification bar sticks to the top of the page to remind you you're impersonating them. Because you're literally logged in as another user when you impersonate someone, remember to stop impersonating them when you're finished so you don't accidentally perform actions under their account (e.g., posting to a Discussion, removing a subscription, deleting an email, etc.). To do so, click the Stop Impersonating button at the top or bottom of the page.
- By default, the ability to impersonate is OFF, but Super Admins can turn it ON (or off) at any time, and even turn it off permanently. If turned off permanently, you must create a case to turn it back on). You can control this on the Admin > Settings > Security > Impersonation page. See the Manage Impersonation section of the Manage User Data Privacy article to learn more.
- The Member Impersonation Notification email is sent to users when their account is impersonated. To view and update this email, navigate to Admin > Email > Email Management > Email Templates and select Data Privacy from the Category dropdown.
- Impersonation is only possible for the length of time configured on the Admin > Settings > Security > Impersonation page, which can be updated. In addition, you can give all Super Admins the ability to impersonate OR only give specific admins the right.
- The first time an authorized admin impersonates a user, they'll be required to agree to the Impersonation Terms and Conditions, which can be configured on the Admin > Settings > Security > Terms and Conditions page. From there, select Module from the dropdown to the right of the page title, select Impersonation TC, and then click Edit.
- All impersonation instances (including by Higher Logic staff) are logged in the Impersonation Log report. To view this report, navigate to the Admin > Pages > Reports page. On the Logins tab, click the View Report button for the Impersonation Log report.