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32 Useful .htaccess directives

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.htaccess is often required to be edited to configure you web server – from security to redirection to performance boosting. Here is a list of several very useful directives.


Rewrite and Redirection

How to force www

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [L,R=301,NC]

How to force www in a generic way

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTPS}s ^on(s)|
RewriteRule ^ http%1://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

How to force non-www

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://example.com/$1 [L,R=301]

How to force non-www in a generic way

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.
RewriteCond %{HTTPS}s ^on(s)|off
RewriteCond http%1://%{HTTP_HOST} ^(https?://)(www\.)?(.+)$
RewriteRule ^ %1%3%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

How to force HTTPS

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

How to force HTTPS behind a proxy

RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

How to force trailing slash

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /+[^\.]+$
RewriteRule ^(.+[^/])$ %{REQUEST_URI}/ [R=301,L]

How to redirect a single page

Redirect 301 /oldpage.html http://www.yoursite.com/newpage.html
Redirect 301 /oldpage2.html http://www.yoursite.com/folder/

How to alias a single directory

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^source-directory/(.*) target-directory/$1

How to alias paths to script

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^$ index.fcgi/ [QSA,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.fcgi/$1 [QSA,L]

How to redirect an entire site

Redirect 301 / http://newsite.com/

How to alias "Clean" URLs

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^([^.]+)$ $1.php [NC,L]


How to deny all access

## Apache 2.2
Deny from all
## Apache 2.4
# Require all denied

How deny all access except yours

## Apache 2.2
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
Allow from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
## Apache 2.4
# Require all denied
# Require ip xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

How to allow all access except spammers'

## Apache 2.2
Order deny,allow
Allow from all
Deny from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
Deny from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxy
## Apache 2.4
# Require all granted
# Require not ip xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
# Require not ip xxx.xxx.xxx.xxy

How to deny access to hidden files and directories

RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} -d [OR]
RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} -f
RewriteRule "(^|/)\." - [F]
RedirectMatch 404 /\..*$]

How to deny access to backup and source files

<FilesMatch "(\.(bak|config|dist|fla|inc|ini|log|psd|sh|sql|swp)|~)$">
## Apache 2.2
Order allow,deny
Deny from all
Satisfy All
## Apache 2.4
# Require all denied

How to disable directory browsing

Options All -Indexes

How to disable image hotlinking

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ - [NC,F,L]

How to password protect a directory

htpasswd -c /home/fellowship/.htpasswd boromir
AuthType Basic
AuthName "One does not simply"
AuthUserFile /home/fellowship/.htpasswd
Require valid-user

How to password protect a file or several files

AuthName "One still does not simply"
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /home/fellowship/.htpasswd
<Files "one-ring.o">
Require valid-user
<FilesMatch ^((one|two|three)-rings?\.o)$>
Require valid-user


Compress Text Files

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
# Force compression for mangled headers.
# http://developer.yahoo.com/blogs/ydn/posts/2010/12/pushing-beyond-gzipping
<IfModule mod_setenvif.c>
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
SetEnvIfNoCase ^(Accept-EncodXng|X-cept-Encoding|X{15}|~{15}|-{15})$ ^((gzip|deflate)\s*,?\s*)+|[X~-]{4,13}$ HAVE_Accept-Encoding
RequestHeader append Accept-Encoding "gzip,deflate" env=HAVE_Accept-Encoding
# Compress all output labeled with one of the following MIME-types
# (for Apache versions below 2.3.7, you don't need to enable `mod_filter`
# and can remove the `<IfModule mod_filter.c>` and `</IfModule>` lines
# as `AddOutputFilterByType` is still in the core directives).
<IfModule mod_filter.c>
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/atom+xml \
application/javascript \
application/json \
application/rss+xml \
application/vnd.ms-fontobject \
application/x-font-ttf \
application/x-web-app-manifest+json \
application/xhtml+xml \
application/xml \
font/opentype \
image/svg+xml \
image/x-icon \
text/css \
text/html \
text/plain \
text/x-component \

Set Expires Headers

By setting expire headers you can leverage browser caching

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 year"
# Data interchange
ExpiresByType application/json "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType application/xml "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType text/xml "access plus 0 seconds"
# Favicon (cannot be renamed!)
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 week"
# HTML components (HTCs)
ExpiresByType text/x-component "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 0 seconds"
# JavaScript
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 year"
# Manifest files
ExpiresByType application/x-web-app-manifest+json "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType text/cache-manifest "access plus 0 seconds"
# Media
ExpiresByType audio/ogg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType video/mp4 "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType video/ogg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType video/webm "access plus 1 month"
# Web feeds
ExpiresByType application/atom+xml "access plus 1 hour"
ExpiresByType application/rss+xml "access plus 1 hour"
# Web fonts
ExpiresByType application/font-woff2 "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/font-woff "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-fontobject "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-font-ttf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType font/opentype "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/svg+xml "access plus 1 month"

Turn eTags Off

By omitting ETag, you force to be dependant on Expires headers and cache control
<IfModule mod_headers.c> Header unset ETag </IfModule> FileETag None


How to set PHP variables

# For example:
php_value upload_max_filesize 50M
php_value max_execution_time 240

How to custom error pages

ErrorDocument 500 "Houston, we have a problem."
ErrorDocument 401 http://error.yourdomain.com/mordor.html
ErrorDocument 404 /errors/halflife3.html

How to force downloading

<Files *.md> ForceType application/octet-stream Header set Content-Disposition attachment </Files>

How to prevent downloading

<FilesMatch "\.(tex|log|aux)$"> Header set Content-Type text/plain </FilesMatch>

How to allow Cross-Domain fonts

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
<FilesMatch "\.(eot|otf|ttc|ttf|woff|woff2)$">
Header set Access-Control-Allow-Origin "*"

How auto UTF-8 encode

# Use UTF-8 encoding for anything served text/plain or text/html AddDefaultCharset utf-8
# Force UTF-8 for a number of file formats
AddCharset utf-8 .atom .css .js .json .rss .vtt .xml

How to switch to another PHP version

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php55 .php
# Alternatively, you can use AddType
AddType application/x-httpd-php55 .php

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