In general, an .htaccess file is placed in a directory that is loaded by the Apache Web Server. It is then detected and executed by the Apache Web Server software. The file controls the directory and any subdirectories under that directory.
If you’ve seen an .htaccess file before, chances are it was when you installed a content management system like WordPress Drupal or Joomla. An .htaccess file is one of the many files that are uploaded to your web server when you’re installing these popular content management systems. Most basic CMS users never have to touch the .htaccess file, but it’s there nonetheless.
So what does the .htaccess file do exactly? The file allows you to password protect folders, ban users/allow users by way of IP addresses, stop directory listings, redirect users to other pages or directories automatically, crate custom error pages, change the way files with specific extensions are used, and in some cases, use a different file as the index file.
As a business owner with a website, you might discuss using the .htaccess file to create custom error pages for improved SEO with your web developer. Custom error pages can provide users with links to various pages throughout your site. You can use these pages to provide helpful resources to your users such as FAQ pages or a site map with links to your site’s navigation system.
While you may not need to worry about the .htaccess file as a business owner, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of it and some of the file’s common features. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can discuss how the .htaccess file on your website can be used more effectively with your web developer.