If you have your own domain for your site or blog you are probably familiar with HTML, PHP, CSS and JS files. Ever wonder which file type is the most powerful.
Well hold onto your hats because there is 1 file type more powerful than all of them.
And that file type is … drum roll please …
A simple text file.
It’s true. There is a simple text file that can be used to control almost everything on your site.
Now you may not recognize this file as a TXT file because it doesn’t have the .txt extension after its name. And if you have a really simple site you may not even have this file on your site yet. However if you have ever created a single error page redirection through your cPanel or are using the latest WordPress software for your blog then you’ve got 1 of these powerful files.
The file I’m talking about is your .htaccess file. Htaccess files are hidden plain text files on your server to help control how your visitors interact with your website. You can see if you have a .htaccess file using file manager in your cPanel however you must make sure you have selected “view hidden files.”
So what can the .htaccess file do?
The .htaccess file can:
Customize your Error pages
Password protect your site
Enable server-side includes.
Deny access to your site based on IP.
Change your default directory page (index.html).
Redirect your visitors to another page (good for affiliate redirection).
Prevent directory listing.
And a lot more.
Before you even think of trying to edit your .htaccess file you must know:
1. Because these files are so powerful some hosting companies will not let you edit them.
2. Because these files are so powerful you can bring your entire site down by making a simple mistake.
However, it is because .htaccess files are so powerful you need to know about them. And there are some really easy things you can do to make them work harder to help you and your site.
I’ll be sharing some of the simple ways I have modified some of my .htaccess files in the next few tips so stay tuned. In the meantime if you decide to try to edit your .htaccess file on your own please make a backup copy before you start and always test your site after every change. If your site doesn’t perform as expected then restore the file with your backup copy.