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Make sure .htaccess is working with Allowoverride All

Test if .htaccess is working

The simplest way to test if apache uses your .htaccess file, or if it otherwise ignores it, is to intentionally break it.

Edit the .htaccess file, so the first line reads ‘Test.’:


# Set the default handler
DirectoryIndex index.php index.html index.htm


Now, if you refresh the page in your browser, you should see an error page like this:

If you see this error, that’s actually good! This means that Apache is parsing the .htaccess file, and it encounters the error we’ve put in there! So far, so good!

If you do not see an ‘Internal Server Error’, your Apache setup ignores the .htaccess file, and you need to fix that. Generally, Apache ignores the .htaccess file because of the following Apache configuration AllowOverride none. Check your virtual host configuration and add/amend to AllowOverride All.


    <Directory /var/www/site/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted

Test if mod_rewrite is working

To test if mod_rewrite is working correctly, do the following:

  • Edit  .htaccess file with the contents as below.
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^.*$ /redirected
  • In your browser, add the URL like http://yourdomain/test.
  • If the URL is redirected to http://yourdomain/redirected it means that the mod_rewrite is working.

My htaccess is broken? What do?

There are many reasons why it might not work on your system, and these reasons vary so wildly, that we can’t give an exhaustive solution for that. That said, here are a few pointers that might help you fix it:

Enable .htaccess in your httpd.conf or apache.conf

It’s unusual, but possible that .htaccess is not enabled on your site. If you are hosting it yourself, it’s easy enough to fix. Open your httpd.conf or apache.conf in a text editor, and locate the <Directory> section:

<Directory "/var/www/htdocs">
    AllowOverride None

Change the AllowOverride line to:

    AllowOverride All

Be sure to restart Apache after making any modifications to this file. Now, your .htaccess should work. You can also make this change inside a virtual host, which would normally be preferable, but that depends on the way Apache is set up.

If your site is hosted elsewhere, check your control panel (Plesk, DirectAdmin, CPanel, whatever) to see if you can enable .htaccess there. If not, contact your hosting provider to do it for you.