You can't live with them, you can't live without them. Whether you want it or not, creating a good web based application these days involves editing and creating these little buggers. And they are ugly little brutes. If you want to really offend someone tell him: "You look like a .htaccess file!" That should do the trick. But all in all, you have to tame them in order to get some results and this is where this thread steps in. I'll try to do my best in explaining possibilities of these files and things you can do with them in a friendly way. Now, I've seen hundreds of .htaccess tutorials on the net and some are OK, some look like they were written for people with 3 brains and 7 microprocessors in the head. But most of them fail describing what a .htaccess file is. Sometimes even I'm not sure what they are but I'll try to explain. First of all, they only work with Apache server! So it doesn't matter if your web server is running Linux, Mac OS or Windows, it needs to run on Apache. Now when we have that cleared up, what do they do? Imagine the Apache server as the USA (United States of America in case you think it's an IT acronym). And like the USA, Apache has its rules. USA has laws, the constitution and whatnot. Apache has a configuration file (usually httpd.conf or apache2.conf but it can be called different on your server). USA has amendments, and Apache has modules. These are the extensions and changes to the original set of rules. Finally, each state in the USA has it's own state laws. Each folder has it's own "laws" and they can be found in the .htaccess file. Laws are complicated to read, so is the htaccess file. But if lawyers can read laws, then webmasters should be able to read htaccess files. OK, enough with the metaphor. A few more important things are: If Apache can't find the .htaccess file in the folder it uses global rules set in the main configuration (which you usually don't have access to unless it's your own server). And if you apply an .htaccess file to the folder /yourserver/www/script/ the .htaccess file will work for all the sub folders in the script/ folder. But sometimes you want some other subfolders to have a different set of rules. That's fairly easy. Just create a new .htaccess file in the subfolder of your choice and it'll overrule the .htaccess file in the parent folder. In the next post I'll give you an overview of things that can be done with one of these files, and then we'll go on to writing our own rules.