Apache server software provides distributed (i.e., directory-level) configuration via Hypertext Access files. These .htaccess files enable the localized fine-tuning of Apacheâ€™s universal system-configuration directives, which are defined in Apacheâ€™s main configuration file. The localized .htaccess directives must operate from within a file named .htaccess. The user must have appropriate file permissions to access and/or edit the .htaccess file. Further, htaccess file permissions should never allow world write access â€” a secure permissions setting is â€œ644â€, which allows universal read access and user-only write access. Finally, .htaccess rules apply to the parent directory and all subdirectories. Thus to apply configuration rules to an entire website, place the .htaccess file in the root directory of the site.
Below is an excellent write-up/guide to creating or editing your .htaccess file. Also included are some tricks to help keep your webserver secure from potential threats.
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