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Here is an example of a .htaccess protected directory.
The procedure to set this up can vary somewhat depending on your web host, so I'll just give you a few links...
Google on the subject
Mosaic User Authentication Tutorial
Apache Week: Using User Authentication
Keep in mind too that your web host may utilize a control panel where you can password protect directories through a nifty web interface. Look in your web hosts help section for info.
Also, because I thought it might help*, I set up a protected directory and documented it step by step complete with screen captures...
* You'll hear computer people talk about how simple this stuff is. It is simple... after you've done it a few times. That's the part they forget about. So, if at first you struggle, and fumble, and curse the day you ever bought your computer - you're normal. After a few times though, you too will be able to boast... "http authorization is a very simple matter to set up".