Apache web servers has a great way to manipulate information using .htaccess files. .htaccess (hypertext access) is the default name of a directory-level configuration file that allows for decentralized management of web server configuration. The .htaccess file is placed inside the web tree, and is able to override a subset of the server’s global configuration; the extent of this subset is defined by the web server administrator. The original purpose of .htaccess was to allow per-directory access control (e.g. requiring a password to access the content), hence the name. Nowadays .htaccess can override many other configuration settings, mostly related to content control, e.g. content type and character set, CGI handlers, etc.
Following are few very useful htaccess tricks.
1. Custom Directory Index Files
DirectoryIndex index.html index.php index.htm
You can change a default index file of directory by using above snippet in your htaccess file. If a user request /foo/, Apache will serve up /foo/index.html, or whatever file you specify.
2. Custom Error Pages
ErrorDocument 404 errors/404.html
You may want to redirect your users to an error page is any of the http errors like 404 occurs. You can use above snippet in htaccess file to map 404 error to error page errors/404.html. Also you may want to write a common page for all the http errors as follows:
ErrorDocument 404 /psych/cgi-bin/error/error?404
3. Control access at files & directory level
.htaccess is most often used to restrict or deny access to individual files and folders. A typical example would be an “includes” folder. Your site’s pages can call these included scripts all they like, but you don’t want users accessing these files directly, over the web. In that case you would drop an .htaccess file in the includes folder with content something like this.
# no one gets in here!
deny from all
which would deny ALL direct access to ANY files in that folder. You can be more specific with your conditions, for instance limiting access to a particular IP range, here’s a handy top-level rule for a local test server.
# no nasty crackers in here!
deny from all
allow from 192.168.0.0/24
# this would do the same thing..
#allow from 192.168.0
Generally these sorts of requests would bounce off your firewall anyway, but on a live server they become useful for filtering out undesirable IP blocks, known risks, lots of things.
Sometimes, you will only want to ban one IP, perhaps some persistent robot that doesn’t play by the rules.
# someone else giving the ruskies a bad name..
deny from 188.8.131.52
allow from all
4. Modifying the Environment Variable
Environment variables contain information used by server-side includes and CGI. Set / Unset environment variables using SetEnv and UnSetEnv.
In the above .htaccess file, uploading capability is increased by the four parameter first one is maximum file size for uploading, second one is maximum size of the post data , third one is maximum time in seconds a script is allowed to run before it is terminated by the parser and last one is maximum time in seconds a script is allowed to parse input data such as like file uploads, POST and GET data.