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Htaccess is a very ancient configuration file that controls the Web Server running your website, and is one of the most powerful configuration files you will ever come across. .htaccess has the ability to control access of the WWW's HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) using Password Protection, 301 Redirects, rewrites, and much much more. This is because this configuration file was coded in the earliest days of the web (HTTP), for one of the first Web Servers ever! Eventually these Web Servers (configured with htaccess) became known as the World Wide Web, and eventually grew into the Internet we use today.

.htaccess file tutorialThis is not an introduction to .htaccess… This is the evolution of the best of the best.

You've come to the right place if you are looking to acquire mad skills for using .htaccess files.

Originally (2003) this guide was known in certain hacker circles and hidden corners of the net as an ultimate .htaccess due to the powerful htaccess tricks and tips to bypass security on a webhost, and also because many of the tricks and examples were pretty impressive back then in that group.

Contents [hide]

Htaccess - Evolved

The Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) was initiated at the CERN in Geneve (Switzerland), where it emerged (together with the HTML presentation language) from the need to exchange scientific information on a computer network in a simple manner. The first public HTTP implementation only allowed for plain text information, and almost instantaneously became a replacement of the GOPHER service. One of the first text-based browsers was LYNX which still exists today; a graphical HTTP client appeared very quickly with the name NCSA Mosaic. Mosaic was a popular browser back in 1994. Soon the need for a more rich multimedia experience was born, and the markup language provided support for a growing multitude of media types.

Htaccess file know-how will do several things for you:

  • Make your website noticeably faster.
  • Allow you to debug your server with ease.
  • Make your life easier and more rewarding.
  • Allow you to work faster and more productively.

AskApache Htaccess Journey

Skip this - still under edit

I discovered these tips and tricks mostly while working as a network security penetration specialist hired to find security holes in web hosting environments. Shared hosting is the most common and cheapest form of web-hosting where multiple customers are placed on a single machine and "share" the resources (CPU/RAM/SPACE). The machines are configured to basically ONLY do HTTP and FTP. No shells or any interactive logins, no ssh, just FTP access. That is when I started examining htaccess files in great detail and learned about the incredible untapped power of htaccess. For 99% of the worlds best Apache admins, they don't use .htaccess much, if AT ALL. It's much easier, safer, and faster to configure Apache using the httpd.conf file instead. However, this file is almost never readable on shared-hosts, and I've never seen it writable. So the only avenue left for those on shared-hosting was and is the .htaccess file, and holy freaking fiber-optics.. it's almost as powerful as httpd.conf itself!

Most all .htaccess code works in the httpd.conf file, but not all httpd.conf code works in .htaccess files, around 50%. So all the best Apache admins and programmers never used .htaccess files. There was no incentive for those with access to httpd.conf to use htaccess, and the gap grew. It's common to see "computer gurus" on forums and mailing lists rail against all uses and users of .htaccess files, smugly announcing the well known problems with .htaccess files compared with httpd.conf - I wonder if these "gurus" know the history of the htaccess file, like it's use in the earliest versions of the HTTP Server- NCSA's HTTPd, which BTW, became known as Apache HTTP. So you could easily say that htaccess files predates Apache itself.

Once I discovered what .htaccess files could do towards helping me enumerate and exploit security vulnerabilities even on big shared-hosts I focused all my research into .htaccess files, meaning I was reading the venerable Apache HTTP Source code 24/7! I compiled every released version of the Apache Web Server, ever, even NCSA's, and focused on enumerating the most powerful htaccess directives. Good times! Because my focus was on protocol/file/network vulnerabilites instead of web dev I built up a nice toolbox of htaccess tricks to do unusual things. When I switched over to webdev in 2005 I started using htaccess for websites, not research. I documented most of my favorites and rewrote the htaccess guide for webdevelopers. After some great encouragement on various forums and nets I decided to start a blog to share my work with everyone, was registered, I published my guide, and it was quickly plagiarized and scraped all over the net. Information is freedom, and freedom is information, so this blog has the least restrictive copyright for you. Feel free to modify, copy, republish, sell, or use anything on this site ;)

What Is .htaccess

Specifically, .htaccess is the default file name of a special configuration file that provides a number of directives (commands) for controlling and configuring the Apache Web Server, and also to control and configure modules that can be built into the Apache installation, or included at run-time like mod_rewrite (for htaccess rewrite), mod_alias (for htaccess redirects), and mod_ssl (for controlling SSL connections).

Htaccess allows for decentralized management of Web Server configurations which makes life very easy for web hosting companies and especially their savvy consumers. They set up and run "server farms" where many hundreds and thousands of web hosting customers are all put on the same Apache Server. This type of hosting is called "virtual hosting" and without .htaccess files would mean that every customer must use the same exact settings as everyone else on their segment. So that is why any half-decent web host allows/enables (DreamHost, Powweb, MediaTemple, GoDaddy) .htaccess files, though few people are aware of it. Let's just say that if I was a customer on your server-farm, and .htaccess files were enabled, my websites would be a LOT faster than yours, as these configuration files allow you to fully take advantage of and utilize the resources allotted to you by your host. If even 1/10 of the sites on a server-farm took advantage of what they are paying for, the providers would go out of business.

SKIP: History of Htaccess in 1st Apache.

One of the design goals for this server was to maintain external compatibility with the NCSA 1.3 server --- that is, to read the same configuration files, to process all the directives therein correctly, and in general to be a drop-in replacement for NCSA. On the other hand, another design goal was to move as much of the server's functionality into modules which have as little as possible to do with the monolithic server core. The only way to reconcile these goals is to move the handling of most commands from the central server into the modules.

However, just giving the modules command tables is not enough to divorce them completely from the server core. The server has to remember the commands in order to act on them later. That involves maintaining data which is private to the modules, and which can be either per-server, or per-directory. Most things are per-directory, including in particular access control and authorization information, but also information on how to determine file types from suffixes, which can be modified by AddType and DefaultType directives, and so forth. In general, the governing philosophy is that anything which can be made configurable by directory should be; per-server information is generally used in the standard set of modules for information like Aliases and Redirects which come into play before the request is tied to a particular place in the underlying file system.

Another requirement for emulating the NCSA server is being able to handle the per-directory configuration files, generally called .htaccess files, though even in the NCSA server they can contain directives which have nothing at all to do with access control. Accordingly, after URI -> filename translation, but before performing any other phase, the server walks down the directory hierarchy of the underlying filesystem, following the translated pathname, to read any .htaccess files which might be present. The information which is read in then has to be merged with the applicable information from the server's own config files (either from the sections in access.conf, or from defaults in srm.conf, which actually behaves for most purposes almost exactly like ).

Finally, after having served a request which involved reading .htaccess files, we need to discard the storage allocated for handling them. That is solved the same way it is solved wherever else similar problems come up, by tying those structures to the per-transaction resource pool.

Creating Htaccess Files

What an Htaccess File Looks Like in Windows ExplorerHtaccess files use the default filename ".htaccess" but any unix-style file name can be specified from the main server config using the AccessFileName directive. The file isn't .htaccess.txt, its literally just named .htaccess.

View .htaccess filesIn a Windows Environment like the one I use for work, you can change how Windows opens and views .htaccess files by modifying the Folder Options in explorer. As you can see, on my computer files ending in .htaccess are recognized as having the HTACCESS extension and are handled/opened by Adobe Dreamweaver CS4.

Htaccess Scope

Unlike the main server configuration files like httpd.conf, Htaccess files are read on every request therefore changes in these files take immediate effect. Apache searches all directories and subdirectories that are htaccess-enabled for an .htaccess file which results in performance loss due to file accesses. I've never noticed a performance loss but OTOH, I know how to use them. If you do have access to your main server configuration file, you should of course use that instead, and lucky for you ALL the .htaccess tricks and examples can be used there as well (just not vice versa).

Htaccess File Syntax

Htaccess files follow the same syntax as the main Apache configuration files, for powerusers here's an apache.vim for VI. The one main difference is the context of the directive, which means whether or not that directive is ALLOWED to be used inside of an .htaccess file. Htaccess files are incredibly powerful, and can also be very dangerous as some directives allowed in the main configuration files would allow users/customers to completely bypass security/bandwidth-limits/resource-limits/file-permissions, etc.. About 1/4 of all Apache directives cannot be used inside an .htaccess file (also known as a per-directory context config). The Apache Developers are well-regarded throughout the world as being among some of the best programmers, ever. To enable a disallowed directive inside a .htaccess file would require modifying the source code and re-compiling the server (which they allow and encourage if you are the owner/admin).

Htaccess Directives

Don't ask why, but I personally downloaded each major/beta release of the Apache HTTPD source code from version 1.3.0 to version 2.2.10 (all 63 Apache versions!), then I configured and compiled each version for a custom HTTPD installation built from source. This allowed me to find every directive allowed in .htaccess files for each particular version, which has never been done before, or since. YES!I think that is so cool..

An .htaccess directive is basically a command that is specific to a module or builtin to the core that performs a specific task or sets a specific setting for how Apache serves your WebSite. Directives placed in Htaccess files apply to the directory they are in, and all sub-directories. Here's the 3 top links (official Apache Docs) you will repeatedly use, bookmark/print/save them.

htaccess Context Legend

  1. Terms Used to Describe Directives
  2. Official List of Apache Directives
  3. Directive Quick-Reference -- with Context

Main Server Config Examples

Now lets take a look at some htaccess examples to get a feel for the syntax and some general ideas at the capabilities. Some of the best examples for .htaccess files are included with Apache for main server config files, so lets take a quick look at a couple of them on our way down to the actual .htaccess examples further down the page (this site has thousands, take your time). The basic syntax is a line starting with # is a comment, everything else are directives followed by the directive argument.

httpd-multilang-errordoc.conf: The configuration below implements multi-language error documents through content-negotiation

Here are the rest of them if you wanna take a look. (httpd-mpm.conf, httpd-default.conf, httpd-ssl.conf, httpd-info.conf, httpd-vhosts.conf, httpd-dav.conf)

Example .htaccess Code Snippets

Here are some specific examples, this is the most popular section of this page. Updated frequently.

Redirect Everyone Except IP address to alternate page

ErrorDocument 403
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
Allow from

When developing sites

This lets google crawl the page, lets me access without a password, and lets my client access the page WITH a password. It also allows for XHTML and CSS validation! (

AuthName "Under Development"
AuthUserFile /web/
AuthType basic
Require valid-user
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
Allow from
Satisfy Any

Fix double-login prompt

Redirect non-https requests to https server and ensure that .htpasswd authorization can only be entered across HTTPS

SSLOptions +StrictRequire
SSLRequire %{HTTP_HOST} eq ""
ErrorDocument 403

Set Timezone of the Server (GMT)

SetEnv TZ America/Indianapolis

Administrator Email for ErrorDocument


ServerSignature for ErrorDocument

ServerSignature off | on | email

Charset and Language headers

Article: Setting Charset in htaccess, and article by Richard Ishida

AddDefaultCharset UTF-8
DefaultLanguage en-US

Disallow Script Execution

Options -ExecCGI
AddHandler cgi-script .php .pl .py .jsp .asp .htm .shtml .sh .cgi

Deny Request Methods

RewriteRule .* - [F]

Force "File Save As" Prompt

AddType application/octet-stream .avi .mpg .mov .pdf .xls .mp4

Show CGI Source Code

RemoveHandler cgi-script .pl .py .cgi
AddType text/plain .pl .py .cgi

Serve all .pdf files on your site using .htaccess and mod_rewrite with the php script.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f
RewriteRule ^(.+)\.pdf$  /cgi-bin/pdf.php?file=$1 [L,NC,QSA]

Rewrite to www

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(robots\.txt|favicon\.ico|sitemap\.xml)$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.askapache\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /$1 [R=301,L]

Rewrite to www dynamically

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/robots\.txt$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.[a-z-]+\.[a-z]{2,6} [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ([a-z-]+\.[a-z]{2,6})$   [NC]
RewriteRule ^/(.*)$ http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

301 Redirect Old File

Redirect 301 /old/file.html /new/file.html

301 Redirect Entire Directory

RedirectMatch 301 /blog(.*) /$1

Protecting your php.cgi

<FilesMatch "^php5?\.(ini|cgi)$">
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from All
Allow from env=REDIRECT_STATUS

Set Cookie based on Request

This code sends the Set-Cookie header to create a cookie on the client with the value of a matching item in 2nd parantheses.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^(.*)(de|es|fr|it|ja|ru|en)/$ - [co=lang:$]

Set Cookie with env variable

Header set Set-Cookie "language=%{lang}e; path=/;" env=lang

Custom ErrorDocuments

ErrorDocument 100 /100_CONTINUE
ErrorDocument 101 /101_SWITCHING_PROTOCOLS
ErrorDocument 102 /102_PROCESSING
ErrorDocument 200 /200_OK
ErrorDocument 201 /201_CREATED
ErrorDocument 202 /202_ACCEPTED
ErrorDocument 203 /203_NON_AUTHORITATIVE
ErrorDocument 204 /204_NO_CONTENT
ErrorDocument 205 /205_RESET_CONTENT
ErrorDocument 206 /206_PARTIAL_CONTENT
ErrorDocument 207 /207_MULTI_STATUS
ErrorDocument 300 /300_MULTIPLE_CHOICES
ErrorDocument 301 /301_MOVED_PERMANENTLY
ErrorDocument 302 /302_MOVED_TEMPORARILY
ErrorDocument 303 /303_SEE_OTHER
ErrorDocument 304 /304_NOT_MODIFIED
ErrorDocument 305 /305_USE_PROXY
ErrorDocument 307 /307_TEMPORARY_REDIRECT
ErrorDocument 400 /400_BAD_REQUEST
ErrorDocument 401 /401_UNAUTHORIZED
ErrorDocument 402 /402_PAYMENT_REQUIRED
ErrorDocument 403 /403_FORBIDDEN
ErrorDocument 404 /404_NOT_FOUND

ErrorDocument 405 /405_METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED
ErrorDocument 406 /406_NOT_ACCEPTABLE
ErrorDocument 408 /408_REQUEST_TIME_OUT
ErrorDocument 409 /409_CONFLICT
ErrorDocument 410 /410_GONE
ErrorDocument 411 /411_LENGTH_REQUIRED
ErrorDocument 412 /412_PRECONDITION_FAILED
ErrorDocument 413 /413_REQUEST_ENTITY_TOO_LARGE
ErrorDocument 414 /414_REQUEST_URI_TOO_LARGE
ErrorDocument 415 /415_UNSUPPORTED_MEDIA_TYPE
ErrorDocument 416 /416_RANGE_NOT_SATISFIABLE
ErrorDocument 417 /417_EXPECTATION_FAILED
ErrorDocument 422 /422_UNPROCESSABLE_ENTITY
ErrorDocument 423 /423_LOCKED
ErrorDocument 424 /424_FAILED_DEPENDENCY
ErrorDocument 426 /426_UPGRADE_REQUIRED
ErrorDocument 500 /500_INTERNAL_SERVER_ERROR
ErrorDocument 501 /501_NOT_IMPLEMENTED
ErrorDocument 502 /502_BAD_GATEWAY
ErrorDocument 503 /503_SERVICE_UNAVAILABLE
ErrorDocument 504 /504_GATEWAY_TIME_OUT
ErrorDocument 505 /505_VERSION_NOT_SUPPORTED
ErrorDocument 506 /506_VARIANT_ALSO_VARIES
ErrorDocument 507 /507_INSUFFICIENT_STORAGE
ErrorDocument 510 /510_NOT_EXTENDED

Implementing a Caching Scheme with .htaccess

# year
<FilesMatch "\.(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|swf|mp3|mp4)$">
Header set Cache-Control "public"
Header set Expires "Thu, 15 Apr 2010 20:00:00 GMT"
Header unset Last-Modified
#2 hours
<FilesMatch "\.(html|htm|xml|txt|xsl)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=7200, must-revalidate"
<FilesMatch "\.(js|css)$">
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
Header set Expires "Thu, 15 Apr 2010 20:00:00 GMT"

Password Protect single file

<Files login.php>
AuthName "Prompt"
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /web/
Require valid-user

Password Protect multiple files

<FilesMatch "^(private|phpinfo).*$">
AuthName "Development"
AuthUserFile /.htpasswd
AuthType basic
Require valid-user

Send Custom Headers

Header set P3P "policyref="/w3c/p3p.xml""
Header set X-Pingback "/xmlrpc.php"
Header set Content-Language "en-US"
Header set Vary "Accept-Encoding"

Blocking based on User-Agent Header

SetEnvIfNoCase ^User-Agent$ .*(craftbot|download|extract|stripper|sucker|ninja|clshttp|webspider|leacher|collector|grabber|webpictures) HTTP_SAFE_BADBOT
SetEnvIfNoCase ^User-Agent$ .*(libwww-perl|aesop_com_spiderman) HTTP_SAFE_BADBOT
Deny from env=HTTP_SAFE_BADBOT

Blocking with RewriteCond

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^.*(craftbot|download|extract|stripper|sucker|ninja|clshttp|webspider|leacher|collector|grabber|webpictures).*$ [NC]
RewriteRule . - [F,L]

.htaccess for mod_php

SetEnv PHPRC /location/todir/containing/phpinifile

.htaccess for php as cgi

AddHandler php-cgi .php .htm
Action php-cgi /cgi-bin/php5.cgi

Shell wrapper for custom php.ini

exec php5.cgi -c /abs/php5/php.ini

Add values from HTTP Headers

SetEnvIfNoCase ^If-Modified-Since$ "(.+)" HTTP_IF_MODIFIED_SINCE=$1
SetEnvIfNoCase ^If-None-Match$ "(.+)" HTTP_IF_NONE_MATCH=$1
SetEnvIfNoCase ^Cache-Control$ "(.+)" HTTP_CACHE_CONTROL=$1
SetEnvIfNoCase ^Connection$ "(.+)" HTTP_CONNECTION=$1
SetEnvIfNoCase ^Keep-Alive$ "(.+)" HTTP_KEEP_ALIVE=$1
SetEnvIfNoCase ^Authorization$ "(.+)" HTTP_AUTHORIZATION=$1
SetEnvIfNoCase ^Cookie$ "(.+)" HTTP_MY_COOKIE=$1

Stop hotlinking

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?askapache\.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg|swf|flv|png)$ /feed.gif [R=302,L]

Turn logging off for IP

SecFilterSelective REMOTE_ADDR "208\.113\.183\.103" "nolog,noauditlog,pass"

Turn logging on for IP

SecFilterSelective REMOTE_ADDR "!^208\.113\.183\.103" "nolog,noauditlog,pass"
SecFilterSelective REMOTE_ADDR "208\.113\.183\.103" "log,auditlog,pass"

Example .htaccess Files

Here are some samples and examples taken from different .htaccess files I've used over the years. Specific solutions are farther down on this page and throughout the site.

# Set the Time Zone of your Server
SetEnv TZ America/Indianapolis

# ServerAdmin:  This address appears on some server-generated pages, such as error documents.

# Possible values for the Options directive are "None", "All", or any combination of:
#  Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks SymLinksifOwnerMatch ExecCGI MultiViews
Options -ExecCGI -MultiViews -Includes -Indexes FollowSymLinks

# DirectoryIndex: sets the file that Apache will serve if a directory is requested.
DirectoryIndex index.html index.php /index.php

# Action lets you define media types that will execute a script whenever
# a matching file is called. This eliminates the need for repeated URL
# pathnames for oft-used CGI file processors.
# Format: Action media/type /cgi-script/location
# Format: Action handler-name /cgi-script/location
Action php5-cgi /bin/php.cgi

# AddHandler allows you to map certain file extensions to "handlers":
# actions unrelated to filetype. These can be either built into the server
# or added with the Action directive (see below)
# To use CGI scripts outside of ScriptAliased directories:
# (You will also need to add "ExecCGI" to the "Options" directive.)
AddHandler php-cgi .php .inc

# Commonly used filename extensions to character sets.
AddDefaultCharset UTF-8

# AddType allows you to add to or override the MIME configuration
AddType 'application/rdf+xml; charset=UTF-8' .rdf
AddType 'application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8' .xhtml
AddType 'application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8' .xhtml.gz
AddType 'text/html; charset=UTF-8' .html
AddType 'text/html; charset=UTF-8' .html.gz
AddType application/octet-stream .rar .chm .bz2 .tgz .msi .pdf .exe
AddType application/ .csv
AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps
AddType application/x-pilot .prc .pdb
AddType application/x-shockwave-flash .swf
AddType application/xrds+xml .xrdf
AddType text/plain .ini .sh .bsh .bash .awk .nawk .gawk .csh .var .c .in .h .asc .md5 .sha .sha1
AddType video/x-flv .flv

# AddEncoding allows you to have certain browsers uncompress information on the fly. Note: Not all browsers support this.
AddEncoding x-compress .Z
AddEncoding x-gzip .gz .tgz

# DefaultType: the default MIME type the server will use for a document.
DefaultType text/html

# Optionally add a line containing the server version and virtual host
# name to server-generated pages (internal error documents, FTP directory
# listings, mod_status and mod_info output etc., but not CGI generated
# documents or custom error documents).
# Set to "EMail" to also include a mailto: link to the ServerAdmin.
# Set to one of:  On | Off | EMail
ServerSignature Off
Options +ExecCGI -Indexes
DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm index.php
DefaultLanguage en-US
AddDefaultCharset UTF-8
ServerSignature Off

SetEnv PHPRC /webroot/includes
SetEnv TZ America/Indianapolis


AddType video/x-flv .flv
AddType application/x-shockwave-flash .swf
AddType image/x-icon .ico

AddType application/octet-stream .mov .mp3 .zip

ErrorDocument 400 /e400/
ErrorDocument 401 /e401/
ErrorDocument 402 /e402/
ErrorDocument 403 /e403/
ErrorDocument 404 /e404/

# Handlers be builtin, included in a module, or added with Action directive
# default-handler: default, handles static content (core)
#   send-as-is: Send file with HTTP headers (mod_asis)
#   cgi-script: treat file as CGI script (mod_cgi)
#    imap-file: Parse as an imagemap rule file (mod_imap)
#   server-info: Get server config info (mod_info)
#  server-status: Get server status report (mod_status)
#    type-map: type map file for content negotiation (mod_negotiation)
#  fastcgi-script: treat file as fastcgi script (mod_fastcgi)
# /php/custom-phpini-tips-and-tricks.html

AddHandler cgi-script .cgi .pl .spl

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .php .htm

AddHandler php-cgi .php .htm

AddHandler phpini-cgi .php .htm
Action phpini-cgi /cgi-bin/php5-custom-ini.cgi

AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcgi
AddHandler php-cgi .php .htm
Action php-cgi /cgi-bin/php5-wrapper.fcgi

AddHandler php-cgi .php .htm
Action php-cgi /cgi-bin/php.cgi

Action image/gif /cgi-bin/img-create.cgi

AddHandler custom-processor .ssp
Action custom-processor /cgi-bin/myprocessor.cgi

# /htaccess/speed-up-sites-with-htaccess-caching.html
<FilesMatch "\.(flv|gif|jpg|jpeg|png|ico)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000"
<FilesMatch "\.(js|css|pdf|swf)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=604800"
<FilesMatch "\.(html|htm|txt)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=600"
<FilesMatch "\.(pl|php|cgi|spl|scgi|fcgi)$">
Header unset Cache-Control

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresDefault A604800
ExpiresByType image/x-icon A2592000
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript A2592000
ExpiresByType text/css A2592000
ExpiresByType text/html A300

<FilesMatch "\.(pl|php|cgi|spl|scgi|fcgi)$">
ExpiresActive Off

<FilesMatch "\.(html|htm|php)$">
Header set imagetoolbar "no"

Here are some default MOD_REWRITE code examples.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^subdomain\.askapache\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^/(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

RewriteRule ^(.*)/ve/(.*)$ $1/voluntary-employee/$2 [L,R=301]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/hsa/(.*)$ $1/health-saving-account/$2 [L,R=301]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f  # Existing File
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d  # Existing Directory
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(subdomain\.)?askapache\.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^.*\.(bmp|tif|gif|jpg|jpeg|jpe|png)$ - [F]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(subdomain\.)?askapache\.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^.*\.(bmp|tif|gif|jpg|jpeg|jpe|png)$ [R]

RewriteRule ^.*$ - [F]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /cgi-bin/form-upload-processor.cgi?p=$1 [L,QSA]

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on [NC]
RewriteRule ^.*$ https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [R,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^.*$ /error.php [L]

Redirect 301 /2006/oldfile.html
RedirectMatch 301 /o/(.*)$$1

Examples of protecting your files and securing with password protection.

# Require (user|group|valid-user) (username|groupname)
AuthType basic
AuthName "prompt"
AuthUserFile /.htpasswd
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
Require valid-user

Require valid-user
Allow from
Satisfy Any

<FilesMatch "\.(htaccess|htpasswd|ini|phps|fla|psd|log|sh)$">
Order Allow,Deny
Deny from all

SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^" good
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^$" good
<FilesMatch "\.(png|jpg|jpeg|gif|bmp|swf|flv)$">
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from env=good
ErrorDocument 403
ErrorDocument 403 /images/you_bad_hotlinker.gif

#bytes, 0-2147483647(2GB)
LimitRequestBody 10240000

# /htaccess/apache-ssl-in-htaccess-examples.html
SSLOptions +StrictRequire
SSLRequire %{HTTP_HOST} eq ""
ErrorDocument 403

<FilesMatch "\.(flv|gif|jpg|jpeg|png|ico|js|css|pdf|swf|html|htm|txt)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=5"
AuthType basic
AuthName "Ooops! Temporarily Under Construction..."
AuthUserFile /.htpasswd
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
Require valid-user      # password prompt for everyone else
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from   # Your, the developers IP address
Allow from      # css/xhtml check
Allow from   # Allows google to crawl your pages
Satisfy Any        # no password required if host/ip is Allowed

ExpiresDefault A5 #If using mod_expires
<FilesMatch "\.(flv|gif|jpg|jpeg|png|ico|js|css|pdf|swf|html|htm|txt)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=5"

AuthType basic
AuthName "Ooops! Temporarily Under Construction..."
AuthUserFile /.htpasswd
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
Require valid-user      # password prompt for everyone else
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from   # Your, the developers IP address
Allow from      # css/xhtml check
Allow from   # Allows google to crawl your pages
Satisfy Any        # no password required if host/ip is Allowed

Advanced Mod_Rewrites

Here are some specific htaccess examples taken mostly from my WordPress Password Protection plugin, which does alot more than password protection as you will see from the following mod_rewrite examples. These are a few of the mod_rewrite uses that BlogSecurity declared pushed the boundaries of Mod_Rewrite! Some of these snippets are quite exotic and unlike anything you may have seen before, also only for those who understand them as they can kill a website pretty quick.

Directory Protection

Enable the DirectoryIndex Protection, preventing directory index listings and defaulting. [Disable]

Options -Indexes
DirectoryIndex index.html index.php /index.php

Password Protect wp-login.php

Requires a valid user/pass to access the login page[401]

<Files wp-login.php>
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from All
Satisfy Any
AuthName "Protected By AskApache"
AuthUserFile /web/
AuthType Basic
Require valid-user

Password Protect wp-admin

Requires a valid user/pass to access any non-static (css, js, images) file in this directory.[401]

Options -ExecCGI -Indexes +FollowSymLinks -Includes
DirectoryIndex index.php /index.php
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from All
Satisfy Any
AuthName "Protected By AskApache"
AuthUserFile /web/
AuthType Basic
Require valid-user
<FilesMatch "\.(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|mp3|mpg|mp4|mov|wav|wmv|png|gif|swf|css|js)$">
Allow from All
<FilesMatch "(async-upload)\.php$">
<IfModule mod_security.c>
SecFilterEngine Off
Allow from All

Protect wp-content

Denies any Direct request for files ending in .php with a 403 Forbidden.. May break plugins/themes [401]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /wp-content/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !^.+flexible-upload-wp25js.php$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} ^.+\.(php|html|htm|txt)$
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Protect wp-includes

Denies any Direct request for files ending in .php with a 403 Forbidden.. May break plugins/themes [403]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /wp-includes/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} !^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /wp-includes/js/.+/.+\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} ^.+\.php$
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Common Exploits

Block common exploit requests with 403 Forbidden. These can help alot, may break some plugins. [403]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ ///.*\ HTTP/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*\?\=?(http|ftp|ssl|https):/.*\ HTTP/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*\?\?.*\ HTTP/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*\.(asp|ini|dll).*\ HTTP/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*\.(htpasswd|htaccess|aahtpasswd).*\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Stop Hotlinking

Denies any request for static files (images, css, etc) if referrer is not local site or empty. [403]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|mp3|mpg|mp4|mov|wav|wmv|png|gif|swf|css|js)$ - [F,NS,L]

Safe Request Methods

Denies any request not using GET,PROPFIND,POST,OPTIONS,PUT,HEAD[403]

RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Forbid Proxies

Denies any POST Request using a Proxy Server. Can still access site, but not comment. See Perishable Press [403]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Real wp-comments-post.php

Denies any POST attempt made to a non-existing wp-comments-post.php[403]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*/wp-comments-post\.php.*\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]


Denies any badly formed HTTP PROTOCOL in the request, 0.9, 1.0, and 1.1 only[403]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} !^[A-Z]{3,9}\ .+\ HTTP/(0\.9|1\.0|1\.1) [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]


Denies any request for a url containing characters other than "a-zA-Z0-9.+/-?=&" - REALLY helps but may break your site depending on your links. [403]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} !^[A-Z]{3,9}\ [a-zA-Z0-9\.\+_/\-\?\=\&]+\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

BAD Content Length

Denies any POST request that doesnt have a Content-Length Header[403]

RewriteCond %{HTTP:Content-Length} ^$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

BAD Content Type

Denies any POST request with a content type other than application/x-www-form-urlencoded|multipart/form-data[403]

RewriteCond %{HTTP:Content-Type} !^(application/x-www-form-urlencoded|multipart/form-data.*(boundary.*)?)$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]


Denies requests that dont contain a HTTP HOST Header.[403]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Bogus Graphics Exploit

Denies obvious exploit using bogus graphics[403]

RewriteCond %{HTTP:Content-Disposition} \.php [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP:Content-Type} image/.+ [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

No UserAgent, Not POST

Denies POST requests by blank user-agents. May prevent a small number of visitors from POSTING. [403]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^-?$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(wp-login.php|wp-admin/|wp-content/plugins/|wp-includes/).* [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

No Referer, No Comment

Denies any comment attempt with a blank HTTP_REFERER field, highly indicative of spam. May prevent some visitors from POSTING. [403]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*/wp-comments-post\.php.*\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^-?$
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Trackback Spam

Denies obvious trackback spam. See Holy Shmoly! [403]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^.*(opera|mozilla|firefox|msie|safari).*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.+/trackback/?\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F,NS,L]

Map all URIs except those corresponding to existing files to a handler

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule . /script.php

Map any request to a handler

In the case where all URIs should be sent to the same place (including potentially requests for static content) the method to use depends on the type of the handler. For php scripts, use:For other handlers such as php scripts, use:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !=/script.php
RewriteRule .* /script.php

And for CGI scripts:

ScriptAliasMatch .* /var/www/script.cgi

Map URIs corresponding to existing files to a handler instead

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !=/script.php
RewriteRule .* /script.php

If the existing files you wish to have handled by your script have a common set of file extensions distinct from that of the hander, you can bypass mod_rewrite and use instead mod_actions. Let's say you want all .html and .tpl files to be dealt with by your script:

Action foo-action /script.php
AddHandler foo-action html tpl

Deny access if var=val contains the string foo.

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} foo
RewriteRule ^/url - [F]

Removing the Query String

RewriteRule ^/url /url?

Adding to the Query String

Keep the existing query string using the Query String Append flag, but add var=val to the end.

RewriteRule ^/url /url?var=val [QSA]

Rewriting For Certain Query Strings

Rewrite URLs like to but don't rewrite if val isn't present.

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} val
RewriteRule ^/url1 /url2

Modifying the Query String

Change any single instance of val in the query string to other_val when accessing /path. Note that %1 and %2 are back-references to the matched part of the regular expression in the previous RewriteCond.

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.*)val(.*)$
RewriteRule /path /path?%1other_val%2

Best .htaccess Articles

.htaccess for Webmasters

Mod_Rewrite URL Rewriting

Undocumented techniques and methods will allow you to utilize mod_rewrite at an "expert level" by showing you how to unlock its secrets.

301 Redirects without mod_rewrite

Secure PHP with .htaccess

Locking down your php.ini and php cgi with .htaccessIf you have a php.cgi or php.ini file in your /cgi-bin/ directory or other pub directory, try requesting them from your web browser. If your php.ini shows up or worse you are able to execute your php cgi, you'll need to secure it ASAP. This shows several ways to secure these files, and other interpreters like perl, fastCGI, bash, csh, etc.

.htaccess Cookie Manipulation

Cookie Manipulation in .htaccess with RewriteRuleFresh .htaccess code for you! Check out the Cookie Manipulation and environment variable usage with mod_rewrite! I also included a couple Mod_Security .htaccess examples. Enjoy!

.htaccess Caching

Password Protection and Authentication

Control HTTP Headers

Blocking Spam and bad Bots

Block Bad RobotWant to block a bad robot or web scraper using .htaccess files? Here are 2 methods that illustrate blocking 436 various user-agents. You can block them using either SetEnvIf methods, or by using Rewrite Blocks.

PHP htaccess tips

By using some cool .htaccess tricks we can control PHP to be run as a cgi or a module. If php is run as a cgi then we need to compile it ourselves or use .htaccess to force php to use a local php.ini file. If it is running as a module then we can use various directives supplied by that modules in .htaccess

HTTP to HTTPS Redirects with mod_rewrite

HTTP to HTTPS Redirects with mod_rewriteThis is freaking sweet if you use SSL I promise you! Basically instead of having to check for HTTPS using a RewriteCond %{HTTPS} =on for every redirect that can be either HTTP or HTTPS, I set an environment variable once with the value "http" or "https" if HTTP or HTTPS is being used for that request, and use that env variable in the RewriteRule.

SSL in .htaccess

SetEnvIf and SetEnvIfNoCase in .htaccess

Site Security with .htaccess

chmod .htpasswd files 640, chmod .htaccess 644, php files 600, and chmod files that you really dont want people to see as 400. (NEVER chmod 777, try 766)

Merging Notes

The order of merging is:

  1. <Directory> (except regular expressions) and .htaccess done simultaneously (with .htaccess, if allowed, overriding <Directory>)
  2. <DirectoryMatch> (and <Directory ~>)
  3. <Files> and <FilesMatch> done simultaneously
  4. <Location> and <LocationMatch> done simultaneously

My Favorite .htaccess Links

These are just some of my favorite .htaccess resources. I'm really into doing your own hacking to get knowledge and these links are all great resources in that respect. I'm really interested in new or unusual htaccess solutions or htaccess hacks using .htaccess files, so let me know if you find one.

NCSA HTTPd Tutorials

Robert Hansen
Here's a great Hardening HTAccess part 1, part 2, part 3 article that goes into detail about some of the rarer security applications for .htaccess files.

Some very detailed and helpful .htaccess articles, such as the ".htaccess - gzip and cache your site for faster loading and bandwidth saving."

Stupid .htaccess tricks is probably the best explanation online for many of the best .htaccess solutions, including many from this page. Unlike me they are fantastic writers, even for technical stuff they are very readable, so its a good blog to kick back on and read. They also have a fantastic article detailing how to block/deny specific requests using mod_rewrite.

Mostly a site for... blog security (which is really any web-app security) this blog has a few really impressive articles full of solid information for Hardening WordPress with .htaccess among more advanced topics that can be challenging but effective. This is a good site to subscribe to their feed, they publish plugin exploits and wordpress core vulnerabilities quite a bit.

Oldschool security/unix dude with some incredibly detailed mod_rewrite tutorials, helped me the most when I first got into this, and a great guy too. See: Basic Mod_Rewrite Guide, and Advanced Mod_Rewrite Tutorial

Alot of .htaccess tutorials and code. See: Hardening Wordpress with Mod Rewrite and htaccess

jdMorgan is the Moderator of the Apache Forum at WebmasterWorld, a great place for answers. In my experience he can answer any tough question pertaining to advanced .htaccess usage, haven't seen him stumped yet.

The W3C
Setting Charset in .htaccess is very informative.

Holy Shmoly!
A great blogger with analysis of attacks and spam. See: More ways to stop spammers and unwanted traffic.

Apache Week
A partnership with Red Hat back in the 90's that produced some excellent documentation.

Here's a resource that I consider to have some of the most creative and ingenious ideas for .htaccess files, although the author is somewhat of a character ;) Its a trip trying to navigate around the site, a fun trip. Its like nothing I've ever seen. There are only a few articles on the site, but the htaccess articles are very original and well-worth a look. See: htaccess tricks and tips.

Htaccess Directives

This is an exclusive you won't find this anywhere else.

Directory, DirectoryMatch, Files, FilesMatch, IfDefine, IfVersion, IfModule, Limit, LimitExcept, Location, LocationMatch, Proxy, ProxyMatch, VirtualHost, AcceptMutex, AcceptPathInfo, AccessFileName, Action, AddCharset, AddDefaultCharset, AddDescription, AddEncoding, AddHandler, AddInputFilter, AddLanguage, AddOutputFilter, AddOutputFilterByType, AddType, Alias, AliasMatch, AllowCONNECT, AllowOverride, Anonymous, Anonymous_Authoritative, Anonymous_LogEmail, Anonymous_MustGiveEmail, Anonymous_NoUserId, Anonymous_VerifyEmail, AuthAuthoritative, AuthDBMAuthoritative, AuthDBMGroupFile, AuthDBMType, AuthDBMUserFile, AuthDigestAlgorithm, AuthDigestDomain, AuthDigestFile, AuthDigestGroupFile, AuthDigestNcCheck, AuthDigestNonceFormat, AuthDigestNonceLifetime, AuthDigestQop, AuthDigestShmemSize, AuthGroupFile, AuthName, AuthType, AuthUserFile, BS2000Account, BrowserMatch, BrowserMatchNoCase, CacheNegotiatedDocs, CharsetDefault, CharsetOptions, CharsetSourceEnc, CheckSpelling, ContentDigest, CookieDomain, CookieExpires, CookieName, CookieStyle, CookieTracking, CoreDumpDirectory, DAV, DAVDepthInfinity, DAVMinTimeout, DefaultIcon, DefaultLanguage, DefaultType, DocumentRoot, ErrorDocument, ErrorLog, ExtFilterDefine, ExtFilterOptions, FancyIndexing, FileETag, ForceLanguagePriority, ForceType, GprofDir, Header, HeaderName, HostnameLookups, IdentityCheck, ImapBase, ImapDefault, ImapMenu, Include, IndexIgnore, LanguagePriority, LimitRequestBody, LimitRequestFields, LimitRequestFieldsize, LimitRequestLine, LimitXMLRequestBody, LockFile, LogLevel, MaxRequestsPerChild, MultiviewsMatch, NameVirtualHost, NoProxy, Options, PassEnv, PidFile, Port, ProxyBlock, ProxyDomain, ProxyErrorOverride, ProxyIOBufferSize, ProxyMaxForwards, ProxyPass, ProxyPassReverse, ProxyPreserveHost, ProxyReceiveBufferSize, ProxyRemote, ProxyRemoteMatch, ProxyRequests, ProxyTimeout, ProxyVia, RLimitCPU, RLimitMEM, RLimitNPROC, ReadmeName, Redirect, RedirectMatch, RedirectPermanent, RedirectTemp, RemoveCharset, RemoveEncoding, RemoveHandler, RemoveInputFilter, RemoveLanguage, RemoveOutputFilter, RemoveType, RequestHeader, Require, RewriteCond, RewriteRule, SSIEndTag, SSIErrorMsg, SSIStartTag, SSITimeFormat, SSIUndefinedEcho, Satisfy, ScoreBoardFile, Script, ScriptAlias, ScriptAliasMatch, ScriptInterpreterSource, ServerAdmin, ServerAlias, ServerName, ServerPath, ServerRoot, ServerSignature, ServerTokens, SetEnv, SetEnvIf, SetEnvIfNoCase, SetHandler, SetInputFilter, SetOutputFilter, Timeout, TypesConfig, UnsetEnv, UseCanonicalName, XBitHack, allow, deny, order, CGIMapExtension, EnableMMAP, ISAPIAppendLogToErrors, ISAPIAppendLogToQuery, ISAPICacheFile, ISAPIFakeAsync, ISAPILogNotSupported, ISAPIReadAheadBuffer, SSLLog, SSLLogLevel, MaxMemFree, ModMimeUsePathInfo, EnableSendfile, ProxyBadHeader, AllowEncodedSlashes, LimitInternalRecursion, EnableExceptionHook, TraceEnable, ProxyFtpDirCharset, AuthBasicAuthoritative, AuthBasicProvider, AuthDefaultAuthoritative, AuthDigestProvider, AuthLDAPAuthzEnabled, AuthLDAPBindDN, AuthLDAPBindPassword, AuthLDAPCharsetConfig, AuthLDAPCompareDNOnServer, AuthLDAPDereferenceAliases, AuthLDAPGroupAttribute, AuthLDAPGroupAttributeIsDN, AuthLDAPRemoteUserIsDN, AuthLDAPURL, AuthzDBMAuthoritative, AuthzDBMType, AuthzDefaultAuthoritative, AuthzGroupFileAuthoritative, AuthzLDAPAuthoritative, AuthzOwnerAuthoritative, AuthzUserAuthoritative, BalancerMember, DAVGenericLockDB, FilterChain, FilterDeclare, FilterProtocol, FilterProvider, FilterTrace, IdentityCheckTimeout, IndexStyleSheet, ProxyPassReverseCookieDomain, ProxyPassReverseCookiePath, ProxySet, ProxyStatus, ThreadStackSize, AcceptFilter, Protocol, AuthDBDUserPWQuery, AuthDBDUserRealmQuery, UseCanonicalPhysicalPort, CheckCaseOnly, AuthLDAPRemoteUserAttribute, ProxyPassMatch, SSIAccessEnable, Substitute, ProxyPassInterpolateEnv

Htaccess Modules

Here are most of the modules that come with Apache. Each one can have new commands that can be used in .htaccess file scopes.

mod_actions, mod_alias, mod_asis, mod_auth_basic, mod_auth_digest, mod_authn_anon, mod_authn_dbd, mod_authn_dbm, mod_authn_default, mod_authn_file, mod_authz_dbm, mod_authz_default, mod_authz_groupfile, mod_authz_host, mod_authz_owner, mod_authz_user, mod_autoindex, mod_cache, mod_cern_meta, mod_cgi, mod_dav, mod_dav_fs, mod_dbd, mod_deflate, mod_dir, mod_disk_cache, mod_dumpio, mod_env, mod_expires, mod_ext_filter, mod_file_cache, mod_filter, mod_headers, mod_ident, mod_imagemap, mod_include, mod_info, mod_log_config, mod_log_forensic, mod_logio, mod_mem_cache, mod_mime, mod_mime_magic, mod_negotiation, mod_proxy, mod_proxy_ajp, mod_proxy_balancer, mod_proxy_connect, mod_proxy_ftp, mod_proxy_http, mod_rewrite, mod_setenvif, mod_speling, mod_ssl, mod_status, mod_substitute, mod_unique_id, mod_userdir, mod_usertrack, mod_version, mod_vhost_alias

Htaccess Software

Apache HTTP Server comes with the following programs.

Apache hypertext transfer protocol server
Apache HTTP server control interface
Apache HTTP server benchmarking tool
APache eXtenSion tool
Create and update user authentication files in DBM format for basic authentication
Start a FastCGI program
Clean up the disk cache
Create and update user authentication files for digest authentication
Manipulate DBM password databases.
Create and update user authentication files for basic authentication
Create dbm files for use with RewriteMap
Resolve hostnames for IP-addresses in Apache logfiles
Periodically log the server's status
Rotate Apache logs without having to kill the server
Split a multi-vhost logfile into per-host logfiles
Switch User For Exec

Technical Look at .htaccess

Source: Apache API notes

Per-directory configuration structures

Let's look out how all of this plays out in mod_mime.c, which defines the file typing handler which emulates the NCSA server's behavior of determining file types from suffixes. What we'll be looking at, here, is the code which implements the AddType and AddEncoding commands. These commands can appear in .htaccess files, so they must be handled in the module's private per-directory data, which in fact, consists of two separate tables for MIME types and encoding information, and is declared as follows:

table *forced_types;      /* Additional AddTyped stuff */
table *encoding_types;    /* Added with AddEncoding... */

When the server is reading a configuration file, or <Directory> section, which includes one of the MIME module's commands, it needs to create a mime_dir_config structure, so those commands have something to act on. It does this by invoking the function it finds in the module's `create per-dir config slot', with two arguments: the name of the directory to which this configuration information applies (or NULL for srm.conf), and a pointer to a resource pool in which the allocation should happen.

(If we are reading a .htaccess file, that resource pool is the per-request resource pool for the request; otherwise it is a resource pool which is used for configuration data, and cleared on restarts. Either way, it is important for the structure being created to vanish when the pool is cleared, by registering a cleanup on the pool if necessary).

For the MIME module, the per-dir config creation function just ap_pallocs the structure above, and a creates a couple of tables to fill it. That looks like this:

void *create_mime_dir_config (pool *p, char *dummy)
mime_dir_config *new = (mime_dir_config *) ap_palloc (p, sizeof(mime_dir_config));

new->forced_types = ap_make_table (p, 4);
new->encoding_types = ap_make_table (p, 4);

Now, suppose we've just read in a .htaccess file. We already have the per-directory configuration structure for the next directory up in the hierarchy. If the .htaccess file we just read in didn't have any AddType or AddEncoding commands, its per-directory config structure for the MIME module is still valid, and we can just use it. Otherwise, we need to merge the two structures somehow.

To do that, the server invokes the module's per-directory config merge function, if one is present. That function takes three arguments: the two structures being merged, and a resource pool in which to allocate the result. For the MIME module, all that needs to be done is overlay the tables from the new per-directory config structure with those from the parent:

void *merge_mime_dir_configs (pool *p, void *parent_dirv, void *subdirv)
mime_dir_config *parent_dir = (mime_dir_config *)parent_dirv;
mime_dir_config *subdir = (mime_dir_config *)subdirv;
mime_dir_config *new =  (mime_dir_config *)ap_palloc (p, sizeof(mime_dir_config));
new->forced_types = ap_overlay_tables (p, subdir->forced_types, parent_dir->forced_types);
new->encoding_types = ap_overlay_tables (p, subdir->encoding_types, parent_dir->encoding_types);

As a note --- if there is no per-directory merge function present, the server will just use the subdirectory's configuration info, and ignore the parent's. For some modules, that works just fine (e.g., for the includes module, whose per-directory configuration information consists solely of the state of the XBITHACK), and for those modules, you can just not declare one, and leave the corresponding structure slot in the module itself NULL.

Command handling

Now that we have these structures, we need to be able to figure out how to fill them. That involves processing the actual AddType and AddEncoding commands. To find commands, the server looks in the module's command table. That table contains information on how many arguments the commands take, and in what formats, where it is permitted, and so forth. That information is sufficient to allow the server to invoke most command-handling functions with pre-parsed arguments. Without further ado, let's look at the AddType command handler, which looks like this (the AddEncoding command looks basically the same, and won't be shown here):

char *add_type(cmd_parms *cmd, mime_dir_config *m, char *ct, char *ext)
if (*ext == '.') ++ext;
ap_table_set (m->forced_types, ext, ct);

This command handler is unusually simple. As you can see, it takes four arguments, two of which are pre-parsed arguments, the third being the per-directory configuration structure for the module in question, and the fourth being a pointer to a cmd_parms structure. That structure contains a bunch of arguments which are frequently of use to some, but not all, commands, including a resource pool (from which memory can be allocated, and to which cleanups should be tied), and the (virtual) server being configured, from which the module's per-server configuration data can be obtained if required.

Another way in which this particular command handler is unusually simple is that there are no error conditions which it can encounter. If there were, it could return an error message instead of NULL; this causes an error to be printed out on the server's stderr, followed by a quick exit, if it is in the main config files; for a .htaccess file, the syntax error is logged in the server error log (along with an indication of where it came from), and the request is bounced with a server error response (HTTP error status, code 500).

The MIME module's command table has entries for these commands, which look like this:

command_rec mime_cmds[] =
{ "AddType", add_type, NULL, OR_FILEINFO, TAKE2, "a mime type followed by a file extension" },
{ "AddEncoding", add_encoding, NULL, OR_FILEINFO, TAKE2, "an encoding (e.g., gzip), followed by a file extension" },

Here's a taste of that famous Apache source code that builds the directives allowed in .htaccess file context, the key that tells whether its enabled in .htaccess context is the DIR_CMD_PERMS and then the OR_FILEINFO, which means a directive is enabled dependent on the AllowOverride directive that is only allowed in the main config. First Apache 1.3.0, then Apache 2.2.10

AddIcon, add_icon, BY_PATH, DIR_CMD_PERMS, an icon URL followed by one or more filenames
AddIconByType, add_icon, BY_TYPE, DIR_CMD_PERMS, an icon URL followed by one or more MIME types
AddIconByEncoding, add_icon, BY_ENCODING, DIR_CMD_PERMS, an icon URL followed by one or more content encodings
AddAlt, add_alt, BY_PATH, DIR_CMD_PERMS, alternate descriptive text followed by one or more filenames
AddAltByType, add_alt, BY_TYPE, DIR_CMD_PERMS, alternate descriptive text followed by one or more MIME types
AddAltByEncoding, add_alt, BY_ENCODING, DIR_CMD_PERMS, alternate descriptive text followed by one or more content encodings
IndexOptions, add_opts, DIR_CMD_PERMS, RAW_ARGS, one or more index options
IndexIgnore, add_ignore, DIR_CMD_PERMS, ITERATE, one or more file extensions
AddDescription, add_desc, BY_PATH, DIR_CMD_PERMS, Descriptive text followed by one or more filenames
HeaderName, add_header, DIR_CMD_PERMS, TAKE1, a filename
ReadmeName, add_readme, DIR_CMD_PERMS, TAKE1, a filename
FancyIndexing, fancy_indexing, DIR_CMD_PERMS, FLAG, Limited to 'on' or 'off' (superseded by IndexOptions FancyIndexing)
DefaultIcon, ap_set_string_slot, (void *) XtOffsetOf(autoindex_config_rec, default_icon), DIR_CMD_PERMS, TAKE1, an icon URL
// mod_rewrite
RewriteEngine, cmd_rewriteengine, OR_FILEINFO, On or Off to enable or disable (default)
RewriteOptions, cmd_rewriteoptions, OR_FILEINFO, List of option strings to set
RewriteBase, cmd_rewritebase, OR_FILEINFO, the base URL of the per-directory context
RewriteCond, cmd_rewritecond, OR_FILEINFO, an input string and a to be applied regexp-pattern
RewriteRule, cmd_rewriterule, OR_FILEINFO, an URL-applied regexp-pattern and a substitution URL
RewriteMap, cmd_rewritemap, RSRC_CONF, a mapname and a filename
RewriteLock, cmd_rewritelock, RSRC_CONF, the filename of a lockfile used for inter-process synchronization
RewriteLog, cmd_rewritelog, RSRC_CONF, the filename of the rewriting logfile
RewriteLogLevel, cmd_rewriteloglevel, RSRC_CONF, the level of the rewriting logfile verbosity (0=none, 1=std, .., 9=max)
RewriteLog, fake_rewritelog, RSRC_CONF, [DISABLED] the filename of the rewriting logfile
RewriteLogLevel, fake_rewritelog, RSRC_CONF, [DISABLED] the level of the rewriting logfile verbosity

The entries in these tables are:

  • The name of the command
  • The function which handles it a (void *) pointer, which is passed in the cmd_parms structure to the command handler --- this is useful in case many similar commands are handled by the same function.
  • A bit mask indicating where the command may appear. There are mask bits corresponding to each AllowOverride option, and an additional mask bit, RSRC_CONF, indicating that the command may appear in the server's own config files, but not in any .htaccess file.
  • A flag indicating how many arguments the command handler wants pre-parsed, and how they should be passed in. TAKE2 indicates two pre-parsed arguments. Other options are TAKE1, which indicates one pre-parsed argument, FLAG, which indicates that the argument should be On or Off, and is passed in as a boolean flag, RAW_ARGS, which causes the server to give the command the raw, unparsed arguments (everything but the command name itself). There is also ITERATE, which means that the handler looks the same as TAKE1, but that if multiple arguments are present, it should be called multiple times, and finally ITERATE2, which indicates that the command handler looks like a TAKE2, but if more arguments are present, then it should be called multiple times, holding the first argument constant.
  • Finally, we have a string which describes the arguments that should be present. If the arguments in the actual config file are not as required, this string will be used to help give a more specific error message. (You can safely leave this NULL).

Finally, having set this all up, we have to use it. This is ultimately done in the module's handlers, specifically for its file-typing handler, which looks more or less like this; note that the per-directory configuration structure is extracted from the request_rec's per-directory configuration vector by using the ap_get_module_config function.

Side notes --- per-server configuration, virtual servers, etc.

The basic ideas behind per-server module configuration are basically the same as those for per-directory configuration; there is a creation function and a merge function, the latter being invoked where a virtual server has partially overridden the base server configuration, and a combined structure must be computed. (As with per-directory configuration, the default if no merge function is specified, and a module is configured in some virtual server, is that the base configuration is simply ignored).

The only substantial difference is that when a command needs to configure the per-server private module data, it needs to go to the cmd_parms data to get at it. Here's an example, from the alias module, which also indicates how a syntax error can be returned (note that the per-directory configuration argument to the command handler is declared as a dummy, since the module doesn't actually have per-directory config data):

Litespeed Htaccess support

Unlike other lightweight web servers, Apache compatible per-directory configuration overridden is fully supported by LiteSpeed Web Server. With .htacess you can change configurations for any directory under document root on-the-fly, which in most cases is a mandatory feature in shared hosting environment. It is worth noting that enabling .htaccess support in LiteSpeed Web Server will not degrade server's performance, comparing to Apache's 40% drop in performance.

Continue Reading Page 2


January 14th, 2015

Comments Welcome

  • tenstar

    That's perfect summary, very valuable for my next job of doing SEO friendly urls through htaccess. Thank you.

  • Liam McDermott

    Thanks for this article, it's great.

    So great that we've made it 'sticky' on The Webmaster Forums.
    Now we don't have to repeat ourselves, just send people to this article!

  • Joost

    Great list, it helps clear up much of the htacess mystery and confusion that comes from creating such files.

  • htaccess

    this does not seem to work ?

    AuthName "htaccess password prompt"
    AuthUserFile /web/
    AuthType Basic
    Require valid-user
    Allow from
    Satisfy Any

    It lets me in from any ip address ? I've managed to get it to work like this (although may not be correct)

    AuthName "htaccess password prompt"
    AuthUserFile /web/
    AuthType Basic
    Satisfy Any
    order deny,allow
    deny from all
    Require valid-user
    Allow from

    I'm not sure if this is optimal however.

  • AskApache

  • Grafikafe

    very nice .htaccess doc, thank you man.

  • Jill

    After three frustrating phone calls to the idiots at 1&1 hosting, simply trying to help one of my clients get a redirect... I gave up and asked my website hosting company, DreamHost for help. Their article directed me to this site, which, solved the htaccess problem with my client's site in a snap. Thank you so much for this!

  • Raymond S. Usbal

    Thanks for putting this up. This htaccess guide is complete and direct to the point. I like it!

  • Richard

    This is very useful and powerful htaccess. It does help improve the security of my wordpress. I will keep an eye of the updates.

  • htaccess rewrite

    htaccess rewrite, htaccess mod rewrite, php url rewrite, .htaccess rewrite rule, .htaccess redirect post variables, mod rewrite htaccess, hotlink code, rewrite url .htaccess, htaccess allow indexes, htaccess tips tricks, .htaccess php require, .htaccess php.ini, rewrite htaccess, htaccess rewrite rule, .htaccess mod rewrite

    Hey your home page is a little out of control

  • Rich Bowen

    Now even more! Love it.

    .htaccess rewrite mask external link,htaccess mod rewrite error page,how much does mod rewrite,.htaccess dynamic directories,htaccess rewrite url,htaccess url,htaccess hide url,mod rewrite php to htm


    htaccess rewrite rule options,rewrite direct index link htaccess,htaccess rewriterule,.htaccess mod_rewrite rules,convert unix timestamp into date php,php to .html with htaccess

  • John

    Hey, I am using the following code for redirecting non www url to www url. Please let me know what code to add?

    Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

    It work fine for the folowing url type, If I have to redirect the following non www url to www url When I hit this url I get the following response:

    "The requested URL /index.php was not found on this server."


  • Wilvic

    I found your site about htaccess interesting and could help me from what I'm doing.
    I just have some question regarding htaccess.

    I need to edit a webpage that already has a 'Contact Webpage' which you can send some suggestion/comments.

    It seems like this is the place where the post is directed. I checked the directory _vti_bin/ but it didn't have shtml.exe
    instead i found .htaccess file.

    I'm not very familiar about htaccess much. Can you please help me how did htaccess directed to shtml.exe.

  • mike w

    It it possible to redirect a page when the url has spaces ie. file.html ?

  • htaccess redirect

    Now this is a detailed guide on redirecting with the htaccess file... excellent!

  • Wetter

    Nice .htaccess article. It was very helpful for me.

  • Paul

    Our website has been illegally copied by a Chinese website, and as a result, when you type in our company name in Google, their illegal website shows up on the first spot but with a 100% copy of our content.

    What is a good way to block this Chinese website from our content? Can we use htaccess files to do this?

  • allQoo

    It is the most comprehensive htaccess info page I ever read. Rich with lots of examples. Thumbs UP!

  • Manasi

    I am unsure if I am doing somethign wrong. I am hosted with Godaddy but when the checking script runs it displays some errors and I am unsure as to how to resolve them:

    Error 1

    .htaccess Capabilities

    .htaccess files allowed [200] errors out and gives me:

    HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error
    Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 15:59:46 GMT
    Server: Apache
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

    The others items in this list also turn yellow ( not red like the first one but also give the same error )

    Second Error:

    HTTP Digest Authentication

    Bummer... you don't have digest capabilities.

    Is this critically needed?

    Third error:

    Basic Authentication Encryption Algorithms
    Basic Authentication Attempt using Crypt Encryption
    Basic Authentication Attempt using MD5 Encryption
    Basic Authentication Attempt using SHA1 Encryption

    all three same error as above:

    HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error
    Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 15:59:46 GMT
    Server: Apache
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

    What am I missing?

  • Case Stevens

    Hi, Great htaccess tutorial, learned a lot, but like Emi, I want to redirect an affiliate link like to Is this possible using a rewrite rule? Thanks for any advice

  • JAiro Gelvez

    Exelente tutorial, he resuelt un complejo problema de cache gracias a las infinitas alternativas de los .htaccess, en particular gracias al mod_rewrite del apache y en ello este blog me ha sido de muchisima ayuda. Gracias a todos

    Great tutorial, I have solved a complex problem because of the infinite cache of alternatives. Htaccess, particularly thanks to the Apache mod_rewrite and so this blog I have been extremely helpful. Thanks to all

  • kay


    Any idea about what can be wrong with a Drupal .htaccess file that make it impossible to use my own error.php file on Dreamhost PS?

    Dreamhost replied me that it must be because of the .htaccess file but that's all.

    Thanks a lot!

  • chaithu

    It's a very nice tutorial, but i have got a problem with apache authentication modules. I have written an apache authentication module and given the authentication type as basic. But, whenever a GET request is coming, my authentication module is being invoked and for each GET request, authentication is happening. But i wnt it to be authenticated only once. how can i solve this problem and is there any relation of this problem with .htaccess file

  • Conor

    Hi thanks for the great info on creating a .htaccess file.

    I just wanted to know, is it possible to use deny from all and at the same time allow php from the same server to write to the directory?


  • Naysweb

    Hi, I hope you can help me, I would like for anyone who types site (also have subdomain) without the "WWW" for it to add it. I really hope you can help, I tried before but it went in a big rewrite loop.. added lots of WWW's. Thanks

  • geo

    Great htaccess things here askapache, keep up the Good Job ;)
    Thank you

  • nowal

    I am having problem on my WP blog and it has something to do with the htaccess. I installed the plugin but was not able to figure out the problem. The site was working fine but recently I am getting tons of

    page not found

    As ?p=xx is being added at the end of existing URL's. It has something to do with permalink? URL Rewrite? Any hint as I am clueless at the moment, will appreciate!

  • macc

    Fantastic site! Thanks! Still as a newbee I need some help... I would much appreciate if you could help me (eager to donate...) Here is my .htaccess code:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^index.html$ index.php
    RewriteRule ^browse-(.*)-videos.html$ category.php?cat=$1
    RewriteRule ^browse-(.*)-videos-([0-9]+)-(.*).html$ category.php?cat=$1&page=$2&sortby=$3
    RewriteRule ^favorites.html(.*)$ favorites.php$1
    RewriteRule ^favorites.html(.*)$ favorites.php$1
    RewriteRule ^playlist/(.*)$ myfavorites.php?u=$1
    RewriteRule ^memberlist.html(.*)$ memberlist.php$1
    RewriteRule ^tags/([^/]+)/$ tag.php?t=$1&page=1
    RewriteRule ^tags/([^/]+)/page-([0-9]+)(/)?$ tag.php?t=$1&page=$2
    RewriteRule ^(.*)/(.*)-video_(.*).html$ musicvideo.php?vid=$3
    RewriteRule ^rss.xml$ rss.php [L]

    I want to have wild-subdomains (yes I have root access!). I want the user's site to looks like (yes I have root access to my server! and I have already installed wild-subdomains for my other site)

    Best Regards,

  • Krit

    Hi, I have non-www to www redirect code as follows :

    RewriteEngine On
    ##non-www to www
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^($
    RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

    This works fine and redirects all non-www version of the url to its corresponding www version. However when I have a, it redirects the same to How can I prevent urls beginning with https to be skipped by this re-write rule.

  • Tom Mc Carrick

    Hi Dave
    I found your site when I was researching a problem I have with broken permalinks on my blog. The article on .htaccess is excellent.
    Basically, some of my backlinks are pointing to posts and have the format "postname.html" and they are giving "not found" errors. I would like the requests for the .html links to be redirected to the "clean" permalinks I am now using (i.e. "postname"). Could you please explain how I can do this through .htaccess?


  • Arvind

    Thanks for the best tutorial all in one. that's great. I have problem with two .htaccess

    If there are two different .htaccess file in two different directory, one that exists on root folder and other one exists in sub directory called htaccesssearch.

    I want to redirect website from non-www to www with 301 and I have added code root .htaccess file as following

    RewriteEngine on
    Options +FollowSymlinks
    Rewritecond %{http_host} ^
    Rewriterule ^(.*)$$1 [r=301,nc]

    This is working fine but if we access the /htaccesssearch/abc.html it is not redirect to /htaccesssearch/abc.html because there is another .htaccess in the htaccesssearch folder .

    if we add the above code another .htaccess which is exist in htaccesssearch then whole site is not working .

    Please suggest me what should I do !

    Thanks in advance

  • off1

    Thank you man, I'm looking forward to implement all this to improve my server's security

  • Rob

    I'm having the same problem as Manasi. I don't know enough to know what the

    .htaccess files allowed [200]

    error means or what to do about it. Either it's something I can get my hosting provider to fix, fix myself, or bug my hosting provider into including the feature. But if I don't know what to ask, I can't ask. Tried finding this on Google, this is the page I got.

    Thanks in advance for any help,


  • Joe Schmoe

    How Do I Make a Htaccess File? You talked about how Creating a Htaccess File, (without Htaccess Software) would work in Windows Explorer.. But what program do you use?

    I love your Examples of Htaccess Files, this is the best Htaccess Tutorial, Htaccess Example, and resource IVe managed to find.

  • Monsieur Code Promo

    Great idea... however got disapointed by the only example I tried (protecting whole wp-admin folder except for static files). Till now, I used to password protect whole wp-admin, which lead to some bad displays when a css from WP-admin is required (which is stupid, I thing)

    Tried the example to protect whole wp-admin folder but the result in not as expected (still can't access any CSS file behind /wp-admin/ and authentification not working at all).

    Thus, I'm assuming that either ruleset is incorrect, or that there are some server specific stuff to take care off.

    Thanks anyway for this unique guide.


  • rif

    A wonderful htaccess guide and very distinct

  • Larry Asuncion

    How to cloak a domain redirected to a folder from another hosting using .htaccess?

  • Scott C

    Great job putting this together, thank you. You solved all my questions.

  • tim

    Awesome guide. I will point our users to this :)

  • Sortins Technologies

    Thank you for share a great and useful resource.

  • Rob Scott

    Very good, comprehensive guide to .htaccess!

  • Fiona Tighe

    Hi there,

    Great article.. however I have a question, which I hope you don't mind me asking.

    I have built a web application and I have built a marketing site. The app is built on the .com while the marketing is currently on the .ie.
    Anyhow, if somebody types I wish to redirect them to

    Once on the .ie, a button brings them to

    So I don't wish to redirect everything...

    I have attempted the following

    Redirect /index.php

    However, unfortunately when you click on the button, it has changed to which does not exist....
    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Regards and thanks,

  • Mia

    Your site is absolutely great! I have been working on this for a week and I finally understand this. I do not have a directory index and I haven't figured out quite how to do this yet. My webhosting site is Linux based so the code has to be either in Perl or Python.

    I can access the .htaccess files but I can get past the first step of creating the path.

    Please help.


  • Andy

    I realize this might be an older post, but I need some serious help. I have Wordpress MU installed in my root directory and Moodle installed in a subdirectory. These are interfering with each other. I'm getting Internal Server Errors in the Moodle install. I'm pretty sure it can be fixed with some .htaccess scripting. There is not a .htaccess file in the Moodle directory. I copied the .htaccess from the root directory over to the Moodle directory, but it didn't do anything. Here's what's in the root directory. Is it possible the php.ini is causing the errors?

    # Use PHP5 as default
    AddHandler application/x-httpd-php5s .php
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    #uploaded files
    RewriteRule ^(.*/)?files/$ index.php [L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !.*wp-content/plugins.*
    RewriteRule ^(.*/)?files/(.*) wp-content/blogs.php?file=$2 [L]
    # add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*/wp-admin$
    RewriteRule ^(.+)$ $1/ [R=301,L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
    RewriteRule . - [L]
    RewriteRule  ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-.*) $2 [L]
    RewriteRule  ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*.php)$ $2 [L]
    RewriteRule . index.php [L]
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off
  • Sam Lavoie

    I always found myself getting back to this .htaccess tutorial and guide. Definitly the best and most complete one!

  • Sushant

    This a really informative post. Directory Protection with .htaccess files was all that i wanted.

    Thank You

  • jay


    i can rewrite URLs just fine, but none of the images/css/js works anymore!

    i just get a plain-html view of the new target page

    here is the .htaccess:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^somedirectory/page17 /index.php?id=17
  • Martin Shortpants

    Probably not the best place to ask this, but don't where else.

    Is there an htaccess comand(s) that would take ever call to any occurrence of wp-contentthemes and make it read from allthemes

    The idea is to get several wp installs on same server to use common directories for their themes and plugins.

    I have no success with ln -s symlinks but htaccess rewrites all seem fine.

    (p.s. my odd email addie is legit)

  • Jey Jey

    Great resource, Thanks for sharing this great knowledge

  • Bernhard

    Very nice tutorial.

    Just one note:

    Since Apache 2.0.49 it's possible to use wildcards for the mime type in ExpiresByType, see (search for PR#7991).

    I tested it with Apache 2.2.9 and it works fine.

    In my .htaccess I set the expiration time for all images with:

    ExpiresByType image/* A2592000
  • Henry

    Great page, but in your full .htaccess directives list you have included the following:

    • Directory
    • Location
    • ErrorLog

    I have found that in Apache 2.2 these directives are not allowed.

  • Ben

    This may seem like a very strange request, but i have know idea where to start in writing my htaccess file.

    When i installed my version of WP about 3 months ago, i was unable to find my htaccess file, and i have looked many time and never found it. Came to the conclusion that their wasnt one. Did i have to write one myself?

    Could you suggest some sites that give descriptions and code on how to effectively write a good secure htaccess file.
    I will continue to read through ur site which will def. give me some ideas


  • Jun

    Thank you very much for a very detailed guide. It's the best I've found and one that gave me what I've been searching for.

  • Darcy Parker

    Quick question - I have a hosted website (hosted at with a static IP.
    I am using a CMS called Moodle to deliver training videos to users logged into the Moodle
    I am not storing the videos in the moodledata directory becasue they are too large for the backups performed in the data directoy so I am storing them in a subdirectoy of the html directory

    How can I use .htaccess to only allow the videos to be retrieved by the php scripts that call them. Would limit get work? If I use Limit get to the ip of the local machine (localhost and/or static) will the Moodle PHP scripts stioll be able to pull them?
    Will a limit get prevent me from accessing the directory via ftp or sftp or ssh?

    html - videodir
    - moodle - moodledata - topics - topic1
    -topic 2

  • misterfry

    Thanks for all the info! I do have one question, say I want to use the directive for protecting wp-config.php which would be this:

    # protect wpconfig.php
    order allow,deny
    deny from all

    Would that go before "# BEGIN WordPress", after "# END WordPress", or in between them? Would the same apply to other directives like this:

    # secure htaccess file
     order allow,deny
     deny from all

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

  • Val

    I am trying to redirect a URL like the following to the home page:

    Is this possible with htaccess. It is important because google thinks I have multiple copies of the same page, because right now both of these pages display the home page, but I need the URL to redirect to the index so there is no duplicate.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • webeno

    Sometimes you just need to do the changes somewhere else than on .htaccess, like when I tried to setup a subdomain, i read the above documentation but couldn't find what I was looking for.

  • Akhilraj

    rewrite the url and hide extension

    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule ^([^.]+)$ $1.php [NC,L]
    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9} /(.*).php HTTP/ [NC]
    RewriteRule .+  [R=301,QSA]
  • Bredbånd

    Wow, this i such great info. thank you so much!

  • cyrus


    Any one has a Htaccess code that tell the server to treat the .php files as .php5 ( this is what my serve apparently recognise!)


  • Ashok

    Is it possible to generate Custom ETag header so that the HTTPD sends the ETag in reply with the value we set.

    I tried this:

    [Root @ /var/www/html ]  cat   .htaccess
    FileETag None
    Header unset ETag
    Header set ETag "ABCDEFGhijk1234=="

    But it didn't work :(
    Someone pls help me how to send this Custom ETag header to the client request.

  • WB

    I am trying to find the right script for use in my .htaccess file to have my file download directory pages list on the page the Directories first and the files next. Right now they are all mixed together.

    The script in the .htaccess file now is:

    Options +Indexes +MultiViews +FollowSymlinks
  • Kyle

    I'm trying to understand exactly what is going on with:

       RewriteEngine on
       RewriteRule     ^$       site/webroot/        [L]
       RewriteRule     (.*)     site/webroot/$1     [QSA,L]

    Could someone help me understand? I've created a forum inside the main directory and with the .htaccess file in place, it does not direct me to the forum but gives me an error. Once I remove the .htaccess file above I can access the forum. Any help is appreciated!

  • Gilang

    Hi, I am curious if there is clue using htaccess for rejecting/deny a website that the same content by what people have done copy pasting? Let say similar like rejecting the image,gif,png by using htaccess with hotlink. does anyone know for web content? thanks a lots.

  • gwmbox

    Excellent resource.

    For caching is it best to only use one of the caching options or both? as in do I add caching like

    Header set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000"
    Header unset Last-Modified
    Header set Cache-Control "max-age=604800"
    SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
    Header set Expires "Thu, 15 Apr 2011 20:00:00 GMT"
    Header set Cache-Control "max-age=600, must-revalidate"
    Header unset Cache-Control

    as well as

    ExpiresActive On
    ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresActive Off

    Or only use one of them? If so which one?



  • aowd25

    That's perfect summary, very valuable for my next job of doing SEO friendly urls through htaccess. Thank you

  • welson elias

    Pessoal, a muito tempo eu venho tentando descobrir como encontrar algum plugin ou algum script que eu escondo os diterório wp-admin e wp-content quando um usuário exibe o código de fonte, ou seja, ele já vai saber que o site é feito no wordpress, então pedindo ajuda aqui eu gostaria de saber como fazer isso, quer um exemplo acesse esse site:
    tente exibir o código de fonte, como vcs podem perceber não mostra os caminhos dos diretórios wp-admin e wp-content, se alguém puder me ajudar eu ficar grato por isso, obrigado!!!!

  • Mark

    Can I start out by saying your site is AWESOME!

    Got a question? You mentioned "If even 1/10 of the sites on a server-farm took advantage of what they are paying for, the providers would go out of business." - can you elaborate on what type of settings need to be changed to take enable more resources on shared hosting?

    Would same thing apply to VPS accounts too?

    Thank you!!

  • Prasanna

    Can we use something like this to disable http auth for a sub-directory?

    Satisfy Any
    AllowOverride All

  • samdix

    I have a problem with my site, recently I moved to vps server, from hostgator, I have many 404 errors in Google Webmaster Tools, about 13,000 of them. the 404's are because they were created by WP with : category or /page #, or tags. not the post name which is my permalink structure. The site has lots of content, (news site). The other problem is: 302 redirects found in my AWstats: maybe this was because of the move. But I wish to get the 404's fixed, any idea of which ht access to use? Do you provide service for this? if I cannot do it? thanks very much, need some help.

  • ajcke

    I have the same problem as samdix. Any solutions?
    "404's are because pages were created by WP with : category or /page #, or tags. not the post name which is my permalink structure"

  • Sam

    Bump, again is there a solution for this problem I posted? Also does the built in short link in the post admin area have any value, or can we disable it somehow, I want my posts only to show the postname ...? Help, anyone? thanks. Sam.

  • Sop

    This is incredible, you have answered everything I needed to know!! Extremely grateful

  • wel

    Hi Sir,

    Really appreciated this your post. A true manifestation of a what a computer scientist is. Hard work.


  • http://none mleenen

    I have a .htaccess with the following 3 lines:

    Deny from all
    ErrorDocument 404 "404 means not found."
    ErrorDocument 403 "403 means forbidden."

    This should block all access to any page. Right?

    When I use: http://localhost/index.php, my own 403 is returned.
    However, when I use http://localhost/index.php the 'standard' error document is returned.

    How can I make sure that in all cases, my own customized 403 is returned?

  • klobirne

    I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

  • Bridgette

    Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What web host are you using?

    Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  • Noah

    This is a fantastic resource. Thank you for all of the work you've put into compiling this cache of information. Most people overlook the protection and increase in usability some (comparatively) simple server rules have to offer.

    Puns intended, you're the man.

  • http://URL Sholac

    Hello I just find this website very useful! Thanks!
    After I had problems with attacks htaccess resolve my problems. I still got attacks but they are blocked.

    I put some things to my htaccess file of my wordpress website.

    Can you look over it and tell me is it good, so I can add it to all my websites.
    Here is code from htaccess


    # BEGIN WordPress
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
    # END WordPress
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} (|%3E) [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} GLOBALS(=|[|%[0-9A-Z]{0,2}) [OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} _REQUEST(=|[|%[0-9A-Z]{0,2})
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php [F,L]
    # directory browsing
    Options All -Indexes
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ../ [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} boot.ini [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} tag= [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ftp: [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} http: [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} https: [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} mosConfig [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^.*([|]|(|)||’|”|;|?|*).* [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^.*(%22|%27|%3C|%3E|%5C|%7B|%7C).* [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^.*(%0|%A|%B|%C|%D|%E|%F|127.0).* [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^.*(globals|encode|config|localhost|loopback).* [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^.*(request|select|insert|union|declare|drop).* [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]


    Thanks, I really appreciate your help here!


  • Peter Drinnan

    Awesome tutorials! Saved me hours. Thank you!

  • Cam

    I was recommended this web site by a friend.

    I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know
    such detailed about my difficulty. You are amazing!

  • Abimo Corde

    Superb! Thanks

  • Antonio Mineiro

    Superb! Thanks

  • Casey Dwayne

    Awesome article. Thanks for the great resource.

  • Casey Dwayne

    Awesome article. Thanks for the great resource.

  • Kitty Halper

    I'd like to have .htaccess look in a couple places for an image before throwing an "image missing" image if it can't find it in either place. Specifically...

    if a request comes in for /images/**/*.png look there first
    if that doesn't exist, look for /images/**/old/*.png
    if neither exists, use /images/**/missing.png

    I found the following code, but don’t understand enough about it to be able to rewrite it to suit the above needs.

    # If requested resource exists as a file or directory, skip
    next two rules
    RewriteCond %{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/$1 -f [OR]
    RewriteCond %{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/$1 -d
    RewriteRule (.*) - [S=2]

    # Requested resource does not exist, do rewrite if it exists
    in /archive
    RewriteCond %{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/archive/$1 -f [OR]
    RewriteCond %{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/archive/$1 -d
    RewriteRule (.*) /archive/$1 [L]
    # Else rewrite requests for non-existent resources to

    (.*) /index.php?q=$1 [L]

  • Web Domains

    This is THE MOST AMAZING PAGE I have EVER come across regarding the topic. Just beautiful !!!

  • Learn French for free

    hi, I tried to return an alternate content with png file, it does not work for me. I also blocked hotlinking from any browsers except Firefox, this browser does not block my mp3 files for being accessed.

  • Learn French for free

    Using the stop hotlinking code, Images and swf files are blocked but not mp3 files that are still accessible from an external website

  • John

    Great site! i have a question. I have a site with multiple, dated .pdf files, with the filedate in the title of the URL, but googlebot is having trouble assigning the correct date to some of those files. I would like the date to be correct as I have Google site search in place and would like the PDF files sorted properly when querying by date. I thought one way of informing googlebot about the file las modified date would be to serve this via httpd. Then googlebot would better know the proper file creation date. Is there a way to do this with .htaccess? Thanks. John

    • AskApache

      Hmm. As is the case almost always, yeah you can do this with Htaccess, but this is a bit tricky. I would use a RewriteRule on .pdf files and use a RewriteCond on it with sub patterns in the reflex to capture the date from the file name and then set an environment variable in the flags of that RewriteRule to contain the validly formatted date. Then I would use a Header directive below the rewrite to send the Last-Modified header with the value being the environment variable.

      But honestly if it were me I would use the Linux touch command to physically set the last-modified date of each PDF to the date you want shown, then the date would show up correctly in google, but if not, due to google being able to see the internal metadata present in PDF files, then I would modify the PDF meta.

  • hasdeep

    Hi, can you help me. I have a webpage by the name of page.php?id=7 and multiple dynamic links. I have written the following code in htaccess file:

    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ?
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} id=([0-9]+)
    RewriteRule ^$ /page.php%1? [R=301,L]
    RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)$ page.php?id=$1 [L]

    Now, the problem is and both links are opening. I am not able to redirect automatically to

  • Romain JEHAN

    This is an amazing article, I want to translate it on my french seo blog :
    Do I have your permission ?
    Best regards,

  • AskApache

    Paid themes suck.

  • Wolf

    Hi, can you help me. I have a webpage with this link, example, i want to redirect this page if user add characters or something to the original url, example

    Original URL:


    i want to redirect to the original webpage if they put that character to the final line of the original url, all character after start=(0-9) how can i do that with htaccess?

    • AskApache

      See above article.

  • Norm D Stokes

    This is by far one of the best pages I have seen, very educational but I am still suffering from a weird problem that maybe someone can help me with. I have a very basic website and use very simple php include statements on my website to do my menu and footer. Very simple works very well, but, I am now seeing google reporting strange things like duplicate pages with duplicate meta descriptions such as:


    By looking at this you can see that these are NOT "valid" URL's they are two URL's in one. I can go to any page ending in .htm or .html and add "/test" press my return and I will stay on the say page get a 200 ok response and see the"/test" added to to the URL. What I would expect is a 404 Error page to come up as it is a non valid page.

    In testing I discovered that is I remove

    AddHandler application/x-httpd-php5 .php .html .htm .shtml

    from my .htacess I do get the correct 404 error BUT I lose all menus and footers. I am not a php kind of guy and this is a simple site, can anyone tell me what needs to be changed to fix this.

    Again this is a great page, thanks for the hard work

    • AskApache

      Just do a simple redirect match like dis:

      RedirectMatch 301 ^([^.]+.html?).+$ $1

  • Hidayat Mundana

    After I test my website in gtmetrix kenerja, then YSlow for "Add Expires headers" has a value of F (0).
    Incidentally, I use w3 total cache plugin
    please enlightenment (I'm still early for this optimization)

  • سئو

    Goooooooooooooood Post
    every thing about htaccess

  • John Manderson

    I was prepared to "diss" on this post as unrelated to what I was actually looking for. Which is true, but that's more google's fault. Anyway, I started reading anyway and I must say I ended up finding out quite a bit of previously unknown important stuff about the .htaccess file. Thanks.

    • AskApache

      Thanks for saying so!

  • AskApache

    Of course! Per my copyright anything on this site can be republished, modified, sold, anything goes as long as you include a link back to the original.

  • Themesrefinery

    Really such a nice info.Thanks for this.

  • David Cunningham

    Newbie: I am using web host's password protection (creates htaccess for web folder/new directory on web server). Our company creates inspection reports for the big oil companies storage tanks. We want to allow each company to access their reports online. I can password protect the directory for each company but I notice that if they close web page or the web browser or hit back button to the initial page in their directory it keeps the credentials. How do I force them to always have to use their credentials when they access their directory?

  • jagtig

    I suspect that the htaccess script stopping hotlinking are hacked in my server's Apache module. They slow my site down, and have broken a feature on one occasion. Who polices the Apache module once it's server-side? The hot-linking script would be the chief htaccess code targeted like that, for reasons that you may see.

  • DevilWearsPrada

    hey all ,

    wonder if someone can help with some urgent matter :(

    Need to do this

    IP matches X on SITE A gets redirected to SITE B

    IP matches Y on SITE B gets redirected to SITE A

    is it possible ?
    i thought i had it but then it tells me the site has a redirect loop

    thanx guys

  • Guest

    Wow, what a definitive guide! I wonder if anyone could advice me on a code to use for a site.

    If people use https they will be forwarded to the log-in page of a members-only Joomla site in a sub-directory of the same domain.

    Everone else (unsecrured) gets sent to another URL on another domain.

  • Karl Andersson

    Wow, what a definitive guide! I wonder if anyone could advice me on a code to use for a non-profit site.

    If people use https they will be forwarded to the log-in page of a members-only Joomla site in a sub-directory of the same domain.

    Everyone else (unsecured) gets sent to another URL on another domain.

  • jorge soares

    Hi !
    My .htaccess is working like a charm.
    Only one but...
    I Prevent hotlinking of images, and I can't see those images when I local develops the site with my PhpDesigner.
    There is some .htaccess directive in order to achieve this goal?

    thanx guys

  • Ahmad Balavipour

    Thanks alot about this article, where can i find tutorial on master htaccess for joomla?

  • waveleh

    Please ignore this query, I will found appropriate page of AA WP plugin. Sorry for wrong posting.
    Very brilliant plugin!
    I have two problems though:
    1. Captcha stopped working
    2. Mobile version of the theme is not working

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