GuidesUsing .htaccess Files with Apache Page 6

Using .htaccess Files with Apache Page 6

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The two main disadvantages to using .htaccess
are the performance impact and the extending of control
access to others. The first is somewhat manageable through
the judicious use of the AllowOverride
directive, and the latter is a matter of establishing trust —
and performing risk assessment. What mix works best in your
environment is something you’ll need to determine for


Here are some of the most common problems I’ve seen people have
(or have had myself) with .htaccess files. One thing I
should stress first, though: the server error log is your friend.
You should always consult the error log when things don’t seem to
be functioning correctly. If it doesn’t say anything about your
problem, try boosting the message detail by changing your
LogLevel directive to debug. (Or
adding a LogLevel debug line of you don’t have
a LogLevel already).

‘Internal Server Error’ page is displayed when a document is
This indicates a problem with your configuration. Check the
Apache error log file for a more detailed explanation of what
went wrong. You probably have used a directive that isn’t allowed
in .htaccess files, or have a directive with incorrect
.htaccess file doesn’t seem to change anything
It’s possible that the directory is within the scope of an
AllowOverride None directive. Try putting a line
of gibberish in the .htaccess file and force a reload
of the page. If you still get the same page instead of an
Internal Server Error‘ display, then this is probably the
cause of the problem. Another slight possibility is that the document
you’re requesting isn’t actually controlled by the .htaccess
file you’re editing; this can sometimes happen if you’re accessing
a document with a common name, such as index.html. If
there’s any chance of this, try changing the actual document and
requesting it again to make sure you can see the change.
this isn’t happening.
I’ve added some security directives to my .htaccess
file, but I’m not getting challenged for a username and password
The most common cause of this is having the .htaccess
directives within the scope of a Satisfy Any
directive. Explicitly disable this by adding a
Satisfy All to the .htaccess file,
and try again.

Going Further

Once you’ve got your Apache Web server up and running, the first
hurdle has been surmounted. Now you can move on to exploring its
capabilities and features. Here are some pointers to resources
for further investigation:

  • The main Apache Web site, of course:>
  • The documentation for Apache and its modules:>
  • The canonical email response page:>

    (This page is normally used to respond to email requests for
    support, but there are lots of good resources listed on


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