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The Apache HTTP Server Reference Manual
by Apache Software Foundation
Paperback (6"x9"), 862 pages
ISBN 9781906966034
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11.2  What they are/How to use them

.htaccess files (or "distributed configuration files") provide a way to make configuration changes on a per-directory basis. A file, containing one or more configuration directives, is placed in a particular document directory, and the directives apply to that directory, and all subdirectories thereof.

Note: If you want to call your .htaccess file something else, you can change the name of the file using the AccessFileName directive. For example, if you would rather call the file .config then you can put the following in your server configuration file:

AccessFileName .config

In general, .htaccess files use the same syntax as the main configuration files (p. 105). What you can put in these files is determined by the AllowOverride directive. This directive specifies, in categories, what directives will be honored if they are found in a .htaccess file. If a directive is permitted in a .htaccess file, the documentation for that directive will contain an Override section, specifying what value must be in AllowOverride in order for that directive to be permitted.

For example, if you look at the documentation for the AddDefaultCharset directive, you will find that it is permitted in .htaccess files. (See the Context line in the directive summary.) The Override (p. 178) line reads FileInfo. Thus, you must have at least AllowOverride FileInfo in order for this directive to be honored in .htaccess files.


Context: (p. 178)

server config, virtual host, directory, .htaccess

Override: (p. 178)


If you are unsure whether a particular directive is permitted in a .htaccess file, look at the documentation for that directive, and check the Context line for ".htaccess".

ISBN 9781906966034The Apache HTTP Server Reference ManualSee the print edition