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What is the .htaccess file and what is it used for?

The .htaccess file

A .htaccess (hypertext access) file is a unique configuration element that controls the operation and execution of a web server.

Only some servers support the use of .htaccess, including sites running Apache. The file, however, plays an important role in keeping your site accessible.

WordPress software adds a list of directories to a web server at each installation on a hosting account.

Core directories include wp-admin, which stores administrative files, and wp-content, which contains themes and plugins.

These directories help keep your pages running. WordPress also comes with the .htaccess file. It can be configured via an FTP client or the cPanel control panel.

If you host multiple sites, your web server will need multiple .htaccess.

Advantages of using a .htaccess file

The .htaccess file is essential on Wordpress to enable or disable site functionality at the server level. By default, this file supports redirects and link structures (permalink).

In addition, many WP plugins use the . htaccess file, including most cache and security plugins. These plugins rewrite and modify the .htaccess file to perform their functions.

The .htaccess files can perform several configuration changes at the directory level.

Sophisticated changes include:

Setting up redirects: Setting up a 301 or 302 redirect to redirect traffic.
Rewrite a URL: Create a user-friendly URL for SEO to increase SEO and facilitate indexing.
Enable hotlink protection: Prevent hotlinking from your site and protect the use of your bandwidth.
Change access restrictions: Create a white or black list of specific IP addresses from your site, making some files inaccessible or limiting access to the site.
Customize Error Pages: Customize messages that appear on your different error pages.
Protect directories with a password: Protect access to a directory by requiring a valid identifier and password and creating a .htpasswd.

Updated on: 15/02/2023

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