.htaccess overview

An .htaccess file controls how Apache interacts with your site. When an .htaccess file is placed in your domain’s directory, the .htaccess file is detected and executed by the Apache web server.

An .htaccess file is commonly used for the following:

  • Denying specific IPs to your site
  • Password protecting your site
  • Redirecting specific pages
  • Rewriting URLs
  • Custom error pages

Using an .htaccess file on your website is unlikely to cause any problems. However, it is possible for errors to occur if the rules entered into the file are incorrect which may cause your site to suddenly display a 500 error. If something like this occurs, you can comment out the rules/lines you have just added by placing a ‘#’ in front of each line. Repeat this until you find the line causing the error.

Creating an .htaccess file on your DreamHost web server

You can create an .htaccess directly on your web server using an FTP client or SSH. View the following articles for instructions on how to use either option to create the file:

If you're using an FTP client, make sure it has been configured to show hidden files. This is necessary since the .htaccess file begins with a period.

Make sure that when you create the .htaccess file you do NOT add a file extension. This file should only be titled .htaccess with no extension.

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