Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What is .htaccess file??

Although .htaccess is only a file, it can change settings on the servers and allow you to do many different things, the most popular being able to have your own custom 404 error pages. .htaccess isn't difficult to use and is really just made up of a few simple instructions in a text file.
This is probably the hardest question to give a simple answer to. Many hosts support .htaccess but don't actually publicise it and many other hosts have the capability but do not allow their users to have a .htaccess file. As a general rule, if your server runs Unix or Linux, or any version of the Apache web server it will support .htaccess, although your host may not allow you to use it. A good sign of whether your host allows .htaccess files is if they support password protection of folders. To do this they will need to offer .htaccess (although in a few cases they will offer password protection but not let you use .htaccess). The best thing to do if you are unsure is to either upload your own .htaccess file and see if it works or e-mail your web host and ask them.
You may be wondering what .htaccess can do, or you may have read about some of its uses but don't realise how many things you can actually do with it.

There is a huge range of things .htaccess can do including:
  • password protecting folders
  • redirecting users automatically
  • custom error pages
  • changing your file extensions
  • banning users with certain IP addresses
  • only allowing users with certain IP addresses
  • stopping directory listings
  • using a different file as the index file.
Before beginning using .htaccess, I should give you one warning. Although using .htaccess on your server is extremely unlikely to cause you any problems (if something is wrong it simply won't work), you should be wary if you are using the Microsoft FrontPage Extensions. The FrontPage extensions use the .htaccess file so you should not really edit it to add your own information. If you do want to (this is not recommended, but possible) you should download the .htaccess file from your server first (if it exists) and then add your code to the beginning.
U can find more info about htaccess here : http://www.freewebmasterhelp.com/tutorials/htaccess/

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