It is no surprise that production sites at times may work differently from dev / stage due to various factors. And in such circumstances, there is a need to login as real site user to be able to reproduce the issue. Of course it is not easy to fix a bug unless it is really reproduced by developer.
In one of my recent works, I found a simple trick using Drush to get access to real user account without distrubing his/her account credentials like login name, email, password, or similar.
The trick I used counts on drush user-login command, alias uli (which I learned from my earlier blog post's comments).
Assume sivaji (login name) is a real user in your Drupal site, and you are really in need to get access to this user account, then issue the below command,
The output of the command will be a link, which you need to open in browser to get access of mentioned user account. The sample URL could be as below,
Make sure you are opening as anoymous user. If you are in multisite environment, the above command may not work, check Using Drush to administer multisite for the same.
Check out help for more advanced usage, as the above command can work with uid and email as well.
Of course there is a flip side here! This resets the last login time :(
If this is not expected for your site's requirements, be prepared to workaround or refrain from using this trick.
Hope this helps. Happy Drupal hacking!
I like using the masquerade or devel modules to switch users but these should be avoided on production sites if possible so this is a nice alternative.
Masquerade is great for this. The only thing is to keep an eye on your sessions table. It can cause it to grow rather quickly.
Nice technique; I prefer session hacking which also helps when getting back into drupal-locked sites (especially when using alternate authentication methods). The approach can also be used to get in as any user. Log out; look at the sessions table, then log back in as user 1 or any account ID you do know. When it shows up in the sessions database table, modify the uid column associated with your session to be the uid you want. Refresh and you're in.
I use this often times when inheriting sites where people don't know the user login / email was from a past employee. In those situations (Where you are completely locked out) I just wipe the sessions table and login / create an account as a lesser user, then do the steps above to get in so I can recover things. Drush command line is certainly more elegant but that way but requires that be installed too which isn't always in the projects I get "gifted" :).