Understanding the htaccess File

Before we dive into how to use the .htaccess file, what is the htaccess file? It controls what happens in both the directory it is placed in, as well as any directories underneath and is for Apache-based web servers. WordPress, for example, creates it in the root directory for your website, which redirects all frontend access to the index.php file in the main folder. That index.php file then does all the magic behind WordPress.

What are the most common items found inside a .htaccess file?

A few of the more common items found include:

  • Manual redirects when something is not found
  • ErrorDocument directives (where to go when an error is detected)

But there are so many uses for it, such as:

  • Enabling compression for files on your site
  • Preventing direct linking (hotlinking) to files on your site
  • Setting files or directories from being accessed directly
  • Disallowing the listing of items with one or more directory

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what a .htaccess file can do for you. An upcoming training series will take a deeper look into what we can use this file to do for us.

Training in this series:

  • Compression - Enabling GZIP Compression for Your Files
  • Hotlinking - Prevent Direct Linking to Your Files
  • Redirection - Creating Manual Redirects
  • No Direct Access - Preventing Direct Access to the .htaccess File (or Other Files)