I discovered these tips and tricks mostly while working as a network security penetration specialist hired to find security holes in web hosting environments. That is when I started examining htaccess files in great detail and learned about the incredible untapped power of htaccess. The only avenue on shared-hosting was and is the .htaccess file, and holy freaking fiber-optics.. it's almost as powerful as httpd.conf itself
Fast, HTTP Protocol, protection. If you are reading this article, you already know enough about the benefits of making sure your site can handle HTTP Protocol Errors. This is a nice single php file with no dependencies or requirements, will work on anything. Optimized for minimizing bandwidth and resource-hogging connections from bots and spambots.
Enumerating Permissions can be Annoying
Don’t ask me how because I won’t tell you, but on one of the hosts I was testing on that did not allow direct access I was able to get the Apache server running as dhapache to erroneously write a file into my users blog directory. This is a big security no-no and I now have my .htaccess file written into the blog directory where it should go, but instead of my php script’s user having write access to the file so I can modify it, its owned by dhapache! Because the file is owned by dhapache I shouldn’t even be allowed to know it exists, but there it is. So the next step was to try and take ownership of the .htaccess file so that I could modify it. I tried and tried but was unsuccessful, I couldn’t modify it so that was another dead end. Actually it took me awhile to figure out how to remove the file from my directory. Being that it was owned by dhapache I couldn’t delete or modify it using my php process or even through ftp/ssh! Sysadmins regularly run find commands that search the servers for any files owned by dhapache that should not be there as this is a big red flag that someone has found a way to manipulate dhapache which could potentially lead to modifying dhapache-owned server config files, which sometimes is all it takes to hack your website and server.. Luckily I was able to delete it by basically running the hack again to overwrite the file.