Password Protect a Directory

Password protecting a directory is easy to do, all you have to do is :

  1. Add some code to your .htaccess file
  2. Create a file called .htpasswd
  3. Select a username and generate an encrypted password and then add them to your .htpasswd file

Code to add to your Htaccess

You need to add the following code to your .htaccessfile.

AuthType Basic
AuthName "Name of your secure area"
AuthUserFile /fullpath/to/your/directory/.htpasswd
require valid-user

You need to edit the file accordingly.


  • Name of your secure area = You can call this anything you want ie. Secure Area or Members Area or whatever.
  • Full Path To Your Directory = This is the absolute path to the directory where your .htpasswd file is saved.

Here’s an example :


AuthType Basic
AuthName "Private Area"
AuthUserFile /home/mysite/.htpasswd
require valid-user

Create a file called .htpasswd

You create a .htpasswd file the same way you created the .htaccess file. All you need to do is create a blank document and save it as .htpasswd.

For security reasons, it is best to place this file above the root of your domain ie. place it in something like /home/mysite/ instead of /home/mysite/public_html.

Create a username and password

The username and password added to your .htpasswd file is in the format :

username:encryptedpassword

So my generated password might be something like

Kevin:nDh54k4Nc.C5c

So how do I encrypt my password in this way?


Well there are a number of ways but the quickest and easiest is to use one of the many encryption sites on the web.

Just use any of the scripts below to generate your encrypted password.

Once you have your username and password, simply add the line to your .htaccess file.

Now go and test it out and see if your directory is now password protected :)

Password Protect a Directory Comments

  • To give additional users access to a directory simply add another line with a username and encrypted password
  • Only the password is encrypted, the username is not encryped
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How to Stop Directory Listing

If you have a lot of files in a directory but no index file, your server will list all the files in that server.


This can cause a lot of problems. For example, one of the most common directories which webmasters forget to hide is the images folder. This allows everyone to view all the images in their images folder. This isn’t usually a major problem though you may have more important files in a directory, perhaps important documents or software.

You can stop this from occurring from using the following code :

IndexIgnore *

The * is a wildcard and stops the server from listing any type of file. You can of course only stop certain files or file types from being listed.

For example :

IndexIgnore *.gif *.jpg *.png accounts.doc

The above code would stop all gif, jpg and png graphics files from being listed.


The accounts.doc document would be blocked too however all other .doc files would be shown.

Basically the IndexIgnore command lets you decide what files in a directory visitors can see.

You can upload an .htaccess file for every directory you want to stop people viewing but it’s more practical to place everything in your main .htaccess file (ie. your root .htaccess).

To do this all you need to do is include the path to the folder(s) you want to protect.

So to block people viewing the files at www.yoursite.com/images/ and www.yoursite.com/banners/ you would the following code to your .htaccess :

IndexIgnore /images/*
IndexIgnore /banners/*

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Change the Default Directory Page

When you load a directory on the web, for example www.yoursite.com or www.yoursite.com/articles/, the apache server usually looks for the index.html file.


If it can’t find that it will look for index.php or index.cgi. Index.html is usually the page with the highest priority and the one which is loaded first.

It is possible to change the default directory index page. Say, for example, you wanted visitors to go to notice.html instead of index.html. All you have to add to your .htaccess file is

DirectoryIndex notice.html

This can be extended so that the server looks for other files if it cannot find the first one.

DirectoryIndex notice.html index.cgi index.php index.html

Priority goes from left to right. So the server would look for notice.html. If that file is not there it will look for index.cgi, then index.php and then index.html.


You can do to this within any directory on your site. Simply upload an .htaccess file with the above code. Remember, this will supercede the .htaccess file at the root of your domain.

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How to Redirect your 404 error to a Custom Page

A 404 error message is the standard HTTP standard response code which is returned when the visitor cannot communicate with the server. Visitor gets a standardized undesirable 404 Error Page


This is a very common error on the web and it occurs when you are trying to visit a page which has either been deleted or has been moved somewhere else.

For example, if you change the structure of your website and move a certain directory to a different part of your site, anyone trying to visit the old page url will get a 404 error message.

404 Error Messages

A 404 error is pretty much lost traffic with in your website. You have managed to get the visitor there with your SEO efforts but a changed page over site results in the visitor getting the generic server 404 error messages. A lot of standard 404 messages are useless and do not even refer your visitor back to the homepage. A 404 error message usually looks something like this :

Not Found

The requested URL /index.php was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Apache/2.2.9 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.9 OpenSSL/0.9.7a mod_bwlimited/1.4 PHP/5.2.6 Server at yourwebsite.com Port 80

Example of Windows Internet Explorer 10 404 Error Message – 404 Error Page

404 Error Message Reality

If a visitor comes to your site and sees a standard 404 error message it’s unlikely they will make the effort to see any part of your site. Therefore it is very important to create a 404 page on your site and redirect traffic from incorrect urls.

Thankfully, htaccess makes this very easy. First of all you need to create a 404 error page. So for example, you would create a page at http://www.yoursite.com/404.php which says something like :

It appears you are looking for something which isn’t there. Either you have entered an incorrect URL or we have messed up. Why not visit our home page or alternatively, search for what you are looking for in the search box below.

Whilst a 404 error page does not send the visitor to the exact page they want, it can be used for a better presentation of your website. Offering the visitor other page options, alternate choice to go back and generally point them in the right direction is better than them leaving ASAP.


The 404 .htaccess error page keeps them on your site pages so that they are more likely to stay and find what they want on your site.

htaccess 404 Error Code

Once you have your 404 page setup, all you need to do is send visitors of incorrect url’s to this page. To do this just add the following line to your .htaccess file :

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php

Most often, the .htaccess file will be in the home root public_html folder on your server. This can change, for an example if you run you site or blog out of a specific folder within the public_html.

Alternately, You can place the 404 error template anywhere you want in a folder. For example you could place all error messages in a folder called errormessages refererring the 404 error to the url of the page.

ErrorDocument 404 /errormessages/404.php

That’s all there is to it.

Now when a visitor views an incorrect url on your site they will see your custom 404 error message.

404 Error Messages Comments

Don’t have 404 error handling system? Set up a .htaccess file with quick ErrorDocument 404 code link sending your visitor back to the index home page. When you have more time code a custom 404 error page with the information you want.

ErrorDocument 404 /index.html Adjust code to reflect your home page file name: / “to your index page” You can test if 404 error redirect is working by going to a page within your site, url other than home page, type in a few junk characters in the addresses file box name .. and if 404error working browser sends you or you visitor to the home page. Good quick temporary fix!

Page Errors Adsense: If your operating your sites with Google(R) Adsense, you probably seen a larger focus on page errors in your account with any crawler errors listing of your bad site(s) page . Users don’t like 404 page errors as it decreases the user experience. Do a little revenue optimization and site health by solving page errors one by one … best use a 301 redirect for each page error in your htaccess file

404 error Reference, Notes, Tips

A 404 error is classified page as “Not found” or non existent url. A 410 error is a “Gone” response code.

HTTP response code 404 tells both browsers and search engines that your page doesn’t exist. Page content and ranking position will be lost, neither the page be crawled or indexed, by your top Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines.

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