A .htaccess file is a hidden configuration file that sits within the root directory of your website's server and controls how Apache HTTP Server handles and serves requests sent to your website.
A .htaccess file is a type of configuration file that can be used to control how your website behaves. For example, you could use a .htaccess file to stop people from accessing your site if they are not logged in. This article will teach you everything you need to know about what a .htaccess file is and how to use it on your website.
What is .htaccess?
A .htaccess file is a hidden file that sits within the root directory of your website's server and controls how Apache HTTP Server handles and serves requests sent to your site. You may be telling yourself “I know what a server is” but if you are reading this article you most likely don't know even half of what your server can do.
Because the .htaccess file sits on the server, changes to it or deletion of it will not affect your website's content in any way and visitors will never see it unless they navigate directly to the hidden location. The .htaccess file also allows you to provide Apache with very specific configurations that determine how it handles your website's content.
What can a .htaccess file do?
Among the many things a .htaccess file can control are Rewrite Rules, Security, Redirects, and other features. While some of these should be left to the professionals, it is possible to block IP addresses, password protects directories, and create redirects with .htaccess files.
What is a Rewrite Rule?
Rewrite Rules use regular expressions (regex) to determine when and where to apply certain rules in order to tell Apache how to serve your website's content. There are two main types of Rewrite Rules: Mod_Rewrite and .htaccess Rewrite.
The difference between these two is that mod_rewrite rules are managed by Apache HTTP Server, which means you will need to edit your httpd.conf file in order to create them unless you are using an ISPConfig server control panel.
On the other hand, .htaccess rewrite rules are defined directly in your website's root .htaccess file, which means they will be applied to all websites hosted on that server.
Mod_Rewrite is best for Rewriting URLs while the better option for handling directory protection (e.g., password protect) and redirects is the .htaccess rewrite method.
What is Directory Protection & How Do I Password Protect a Folder?
Directory Protection or “password protecting” a folder with .htaccess files cannot be done using Mod_Rewrite. This process requires the use of Rewrite Rules you define within your website's root .htaccess file.
FAQs about .htaccess files
For those of you who don't know, a .htaccess file is a configuration file that's used to control how your website behaves. It can be used, for example, to stop people from accessing your site if they are not logged in.
What is a .htaccess file?
A .htaccess file is a special type of configuration file that can be used to control how the way your website behaves. A common use of this type of file is to block certain pages on a website unless the user has been authenticated and authorized to view them.
How do I access my .htaccess files?
There are various ways you can access your .htaccess files: You can find them in your root directory on your web server; find them within the cPanel in your web hosting management tool or upload them directly onto the server with FTP.
How do I add a .htaccess file?
To add a .htaccess file, you will need to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Once connected via FTP, navigate to the root folder of your website and locate “public_html” (or whichever folder contains the “www” folder). Here you will see all the files and folders related to your site.
With the help of a .htaccess file, you can control how your website behaves in certain scenarios. The file can be used to set file permissions, rewrite URLs, redirect visitors, and much more.