What Is .htaccess?

.htaccess files are used to control how Apache works. They’re usually located in the root folder of your website.

What Is .htaccess?

Each .htaccess file applies to the entire website. This article will help you to learn a little about .htaccess!

What Is A .htaccess File?

.htaccess files are used by web servers to store configuration information. This includes things such as setting up custom error pages, redirecting requests, and other functions.

.htaccess In WordPress

.htaccess files are used by many hosting companies to control access to certain directories and files.

Most WordPress installations come with a .htaccess file that includes some basic settings.

By default, this file changes how your site displays URLs when visitors type them into a browser address bar.

This setting also determines whether your blog posts appear in chronological order.

On many sites, this is the sole use case for .htaccess. However, you can also use this to make various changes to the functionality of your site.

For example, you could set up 301 redirects in the .htaccess file. You could also use this to tighten security, such as setting up restrictions on access to your site and core files.

Additionally, certain plugins may add their own rules to the .htaccess file to help them function. This is especially true of caching or security plugins.

Some sites use .htaccess files to control access to certain parts of your website.

It’s important to know how to use them correctly, as otherwise, you could be exposing yourself to security risks.

Where Is .htaccess?

The .htaccess file is placed inside a folder called public_html. When this is done, it will be executed by apache every time a request is made from there.

It is very common to place a .htaccess file in a website’s root directory. This configures the web server for the whole website.

It is also common to put .htaccess files in a folder called public_html from a sub-folder.

But it is used and has some specific uses too. It is important to note that the .htaccess file, like all other Apache configuration files, is read from the top down.

So if you want to make sure something works, you should check the order of your rules.

Tips When Creating And Editing .htaccess

Make sure to back up your .htaccess file before editing it. You should never edit a file directly on your website. Always test changes first.

Because the .htaccess file is a configuration file, a typo can cause your site to be misconfigured, resulting in your site not working!

If you don’t know what you’re doing, hire or consult a web developer. If feeling adventurous, backup your original .htaccess file and proceed cautiously.

Create a new .htaccess file and copy the contents of your old file into the new one. Save the new file and then upload it to your website.

.htaccess In cPanel

Log in to your cPanel and click File Manager. Click Settings in the upper right corner.

Make sure show hidden files is selected and click Save. Select the directory where you would like to create or edit the .htaccess file. 

To create a new file, click where it says “new file”. You should make sure to name the file .htaccess.

To edit an existing .htaccess file, select it and click edit. For more information, see how to navigate in cPanel’s File Manager.

Uses For .htaccess

Specify Alternate Index Files

Index files are used by web browsers to display the first page when users enter a website address into the search bar.

Most web servers are set up to automatically serve an index file when requested. However, you can change this behavior by setting the index file name in the server configuration.

Alternate Index Files are entered in a list, and the server checks to see if each file exists, and if none of them do, then it shows a Directory Listing.

Display Custom Error Pages

Display Custom Error Pages

You can create custom error pages by adding a .htaccess file to your website root directory.

To display a custom error page when someone tries to access a nonexistent page, add this line to your .htaccess file: ErrorDocument 404 /404.php.

For example, if you had an error 404 page called my404.html at the root of your website, you could add this line to your .htaccess file:

ErrorDocument 404 /my404/index.php

If the error file was not in the root directory, you could enter the path to the page:

Error pages should be used when an error occurs. For example, if you want to display a message when someone tries to access a page that doesn’t exist, then use an error document.

In this case, we’ll create a file called my404.html and place it in the root directory of our website. This error document will contain a simple message explaining what happened.

Disable Directory Listings

A forbidden message is displayed when a user tries to access a directory without an index file.

Redirect Visitors

You can use the Redirect command to redirect visitors to another web page. You can even redirect from any file in any directory to another URL.

To redirect visitors from any file inside a directory named old_site to a different directory named new_site, add this line to your .htaccess file: Redirect /index.html http:/www-domain.com//new_site/index.html.

Using Multiple .htaccess Files

Keep in mind that you can use multiple .htaccess files on a single server. You don’t need to put them in the same directory as the main index file.

You can also use multiple .htaccess configuration files. Just make sure you keep the numbers low.

Too many configurations can slow your web server down .htaccess files are higher up in the hierarchy than other files.

Conclusion

Learning to work directly with your WordPress site’s files is an important step towards being a WordPress expert. You should back up your site before editing the .htaccess file.

Use FTP to access your site and find the .htaccess file then edit it. Once you’ve done that, you can look up the code required for adding whatever functionality you want.

Matthew Jacobs
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