Useful htaccess Tips & Tricks

.htaccess (hypertext access) files are used to allow Apache web server to handle specific directories of a web app.

Understanding how some lines in .htaccess file work will allow you to make some server-related tasks easier and to protect your webserver against malicious attacks.

Redirect http to https (ssl)

https protocol is a must for any websites nowadays.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !on
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

Custom Error Pages

There is no need to create a 404 error page using backend language. You can create a specific HTML page and set it as default landing page for 404 error.

ErrorDocument 404 errors/404.html 

Set Timezone

This can set timezone for your server.

SetEnv TZ America/Costa_Rica

Modify upload limit for PHP

Adjusting upload file’s limit file size can be done in both php.ini and .htaccess.

php_value upload_max_filesize 40M
php_value post_max_size 40M
php_value max_execution_time 400
php_value max_input_time 400

Allow and disallow user acess

.htaccess can be used to restrict access to individual files and folders.

#allow noone
deny from all

#deny all except one
order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from

#deny one, allow the rest
order deny,allow
deny from
allow from all
# prevent viewing of a specific file
<files my_secret_image.jpg>
	Order allow,deny
	Deny from all
# disable directory browsing
Options All -Indexes

SEO Friendly 301 Permanent Redirects

Redirecting unused or broken pages to new ones will avoid missing traffic.

Redirect 301
Redirect 301 /old/file.html

Change Default Index Page

index.html is the default index page. We can change it to another one like this:

DirectoryIndex mypage.html
#or from priority list
DirectoryIndex mypage.html mypage.cgi mypage.htm

Skip the download dialogue

This line skips the request asking whether you want to save the file or open it.

AddType application/octet-stream .pdf

Compress files

You can optimize website’s loading time by compress files.

# compress html, javascript, css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Cache files

Caching is popular approach in optimizing website’s loading time.

<FilesMatch ".(gif|jpg|jpeg|png|ico|js|css|pdf)$">
    Header set Cache-Control "max-age=36000"

Hotlinking protection

Hotlinking protection with .htaccess is a method to prevent other display content such as image using your website’s URL.

RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .(gif|jpg|png|webm)$ /go-away/ [R=302,L]

Compress output using GZIP

Compress all the css, js, html files with GZip compression.

<IfModule mod_gzip.c>
    mod_gzip_on       Yes
    mod_gzip_dechunk  Yes
    mod_gzip_item_include file      \.(html?|txt|css|js|php)$
    mod_gzip_item_include handler   ^cgi-script$
    mod_gzip_item_include mime      ^text/.*
    mod_gzip_item_include mime      ^application/x-javascript.*
    mod_gzip_item_exclude mime      ^image/.*
    mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*

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