.htaccess file

.htaccess Tutorial


In this tutorial you will find out about the .htaccess file and the power it has to improve your website. Nan Resources supports .htaccess files however as a customer you are responsible for what is in this file and how it changes your site.


Creating a .htaccess File

You can create a .htaccess file on your local computer or on the server.

On your computer:

Windows: Using Notepad save the file as .htaccess


Mac OS X: Using TextEdit save the file as ".htaccess"

Note: If you save the file as .htaccess it will be hidden and you will not be able to see it in the Finder.

Using your preferred FTP client upload the file to the server. The .htaccess file will need to be in the folder where your site is located, typically the public_html folder.

On the server


  1. Login to your cPanel Account

  2. Click the File Manager icon, located in the Files section.

  3. From the File Manger popup choose "Choose Hidden Files (dotfiles)."       

  4.         Note: If you do not see this popup you will need to click the "reset all interface settings" link at the bottom of the cPanel page.

  5. From the File Manager popup choose the folder you would like to open, most often the "Web Root (public_html/www)"

  6. Click the Go button.        

  7.         Note: If you are in the File Manager already you can add &showhidden=1 to the end of the URL.

  8. Click the New File icon to create a new file and name it .htaccess

Alternative Index Files


You may not always want to use index.htm or index.html as your index file for a directory, for example if you are using PHP files in your site, you may want index.php to be the index file for a directory. You are not limited to 'index' files though. Using .htaccess you can set foofoo.blah to be your index file if you want to!    

Alternate index files are entered in a list. The server will work from left to right, checking to see if each file exists, if none of them exist it will display a directory listing (unless, of course, you have turned this off).    

DirectoryIndex index.php index.php3 messagebrd.pl index.html index.htm


Custom Error Pages

    You can customize your own, personal error pages (for example when a file is not found) instead of using Nan Resources’ error pages or not having an error page. This will make your site seem much more professional.    


You can use custom error pages for any error as long as you know its number (like 404 for page not found) by adding the following to your .htaccess file:


ErrorDocument errornumber /file.html


For example if I had the file notfound.html in the root directory of my site and I wanted to use it for a 404 error I would use:


ErrorDocument 404 /notfound.html

    If the error page is not in the root directory of your site, you can enter the path to the file:


ErrorDocument 500 /errorpages/500.html

    These are some of the most common errors:

      401 - Authorization Required
       400 - Bad request
       403 - Forbidden
       500 - Internal Server Error
       404 - Wrong page

Stop a Directory Index From Being Shown


    Sometimes, for one reason or another, you will have no index file in your directory. This will, of course, mean that if someone types the directory name into their browser, a full listing of all the files in that directory will be shown. This could be a security risk for your site.    

To prevent against this (without creating lots of new 'index' files, you can enter a command into your .htaccess file to stop the directory list from being shown:

# disable directory browsing
       Options ExecCGI Includes IncludesNOEXEC SymLinksIfOwnerMatch -Indexes
       # enable directory browsing
       Options All +Indexes

Deny/Allow Certain IP Addresses

To only allow people with specific IP addresses to access your site (for example, only allowing people using a particular network to get into a certain directory) or you may want to ban certain IP addresses (for example, keeping disruptive members out of your message boards).This will only work if you know the IP addresses you would like to ban.

Please keep in mind that most ISP's use dynamic IP addresses, so this is not always the best way to limit/grant access.

Block an IP Address

#Deny List
       order allow,deny
       deny from #specify a specific address
       deny from #specify a subnet range
       deny from 123.123.* #specify an IP address wildcard
       allow from all

Allow an IP address

#Allow List
       order allow,deny
       allow from #specify a specific address
       allow from #specify a subnet range
       allow from 123.123.* #specify an IP address wildcard
       deny from all

Note: This will still allow scripts to use the files in the directory.

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