How to use .htaccess file on apache server?

Rahul Ranjan
 9th Jan, 2020
How to use .htaccess file on apache server?

htaccess(Hypertext Access) is a configurational file used on web server that runs on Apache. .htaccess file is used to enable/disable additional function and features and is executed before hand if found inside directory.

In this article, we are going to learn about .htaccess file and how can we make website secure, rewrite url into readable format, https redirection and many more.

Creating .htaccess file

To create .htaccess file , firstly open any text editor like notepad and save it as .htaccess name only(without .txt extension). So, now you are ready to add configuration content on .htaccess file. You can download a sample of .htaccess file by clicking on download button below. After downloading rename it to .htaccess and put it in you root folder to watch it on action.

Hiding .php extension from url

We can rewrite a .php url to a non-php url like if you have url like, then after rewriting we can access that web page using Benefit of doing so is that, it makes our url look cool and our visitors are not able to get the real language running behind the webpage. We can hide php extensions of our url by adding following code in our .htaccess file.

RewriteEngine on RewriteRule ^(.*)$ $1.php

We can also rewrite index.php to index.html,index.asp e.t.c. Add following code to .htaccess file in order to rewrite .php files to .html:

RewriteEngine on RewriteRule ^(.*).html$ $1.php

Redirecting http to https

We can redirect our non https url to https url if ssl certificate for our website is installed/enabled. To do  so add code below into your .htaccess file:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC]
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R,L]

Redirecting www URL to non www URL

We can also redirect our url from www to non-www url using .htaccess file. First of all the necessity of doing so it to transfer traffic from www to non-www url and saving our pages getting marked as duplicate as if search engine find same content at two different url(www & non-www), then it is marked as duplicated. For example, if you access from the browser's url field it will be automatically redirected to Add following code to your .htaccess file:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]
if you have ssl enabled on your domain then put below code in your .htaccess file instead of above code:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]
Disable directory Listing
By default directory listing look something like this:
Directory Index
Above default listing exposes all files under the directory. To disable the same add below code in your .htaccess file:
# Disable Directory Browsing
Options All -Indexes
Above code will make the index listing to forbidden.

Custom error Pages

You can also add custom pages replacing default error page document. Put below code into your .htaccess file:
ErrorDocument 400
ErrorDocument 401
ErrorDocument 403
ErrorDocument 404
ErrorDocument 500

User friendly url rewriting

First of all to enable url rewriting, we need to make RewriteEngine On, for the same paste below code in your .htacces file:
RewriteEngine on
We can make our url look user friendly by rewriting url like '''' to ''''. Put the code below into .htaccess code to enable same for your pages.:
RewriteRule ^([a-zA-Z0-9_-]+)$ profile.php?username=$1
RewriteRule ^([a-zA-Z0-9_-]+)/$ profile.php?username=$1

Similar like above we can also rewrite
to   using code below:

RewriteRule ^abc/([a-zA-Z0-9_-]+)$ abc.php?value=$1
RewriteRule ^abc/([a-zA-Z0-9_-]+)/$ abc.php?value=$1

Password protect directory

We can also set password to any folder using .htaccess file. For example, If you have your personal file in folder name as 'secure' inside your root directory. Then firstly create a file '.htpasswd' in any directory somthing as '/pass/file' and store your password in it. Then create .htaccess file inside secure folder and put below code in your .htaccess file:

AuthName "secure"
AuthUserFile /pass/file/.htpasswd
AuthType Basic require valid-user​

and add username and password to .htpasswd in following format:


Here in above code replace username and password with your real username and password that you want to set as folder credential. 

You can download sample .htaccess script from below:


Well Friends,  I hope this article helped you in learning use of .htaccess file. For any doubts or any request you can put  your important feedback below in comment box.

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