Creating a custom error page

Important Note: Do not edit the .htaccess file if you are using MS Frontpage! Frontpage uses the .htaccess file, and editing it may cause errors in your configuration.

The .htaccess file can be placed in one or more of your /home/$user/$domain-www subdirectories. Among other things, this file can be used to restrict access to other files and web pages.

When a request for a web page is made, the web server first checks for an .htaccess file. The server begins this check by looking for .htaccess in the root of the current web directory, and on down the directory tree until it reaches the directory where the requested file resides. Since the placement of the .htaccess file determines when it is executed, this fact can be used to restrict access only in certain subdirectories.


Restrict access to directories using passwords.

Redirect hits onto another webpage.

Control and set the messages generated for various error conditions.

Edit Mime-types.

Activate and deactivate various server features.

To create an .htaccess file, make a text file as described below, name it .htaccess and upload it.

Except for the first feature, described below, the following features will only work for a .htaccess file placed in /home/$user/$domain-www. Add all features you want to the same file.
Restricting Access: Password Protection

The directory you want protected must have a .htaccess file in it that looks like the following (do not put the comments in the actual .htaccess file [comments begin with #]):

AuthUserFile /home/$user/.passwd
AuthGroupFile /home/$user/.group
AuthName "Protected Space"
AuthType Basic

require group $users #users, is the group of users that you give access to
#require user $user #if there is only one user in the group, you can substitute this line; remove the #.

(Other possible groups are administrators, etc)

Groups and users are stored in the .group file, and passwords are stored in .passwd. The .htaccess file looks for these files in the /home/$user directory. Do not attempt to edit these manually! Alabanza has a special script you can use to manage your .group and .passwd files (the "webmister" script). Ask support to install it for you.

Redirecting allows you to send the user to, for example, new.html when they attempt to access old.html. To see this example in practice, simply add the following line to the .htaccess file:

Redirect /$directory/old.html http://$$directory/new.html
Error Documents

There are two main styles of error messages you may encounter. The first is the standard form, which looks something like:

File Not found

The requested URL http://$ was not found on this server.

The second type comes in a variety of forms, and is customized by the webmaster. For example:


We're sorry, but the requested URL does not exist. Please e-mail support@$ if you need further assistance.

Such messages are called error documents, and are web pages designed to give a polite explanation for error conditions. These error conditions generate numbers which are used to refer to the appropriate error condition. Some of the most common messages are as follows:

Error in Client

400 Bad syntax
401 Unauthorized
402 Not Used (Payment Granted)
403 Forbidden
404 Not Found

Error in Server

500 Internal Error
501 Not Implemented
502 Overloaded
503 Gateway Timeout

How to Customize Error Messages for Your Site:
First, create the HTML page you want to use as your error message.
Second, upload it to your web directory [/home/$user/$domain-www].
Third, go into your .htaccess file (or create one) and add lines which specify the substitution.

Here are three examples of specifying error documents which will be called for a given error condition (note you can use relative or absolute addressing):

ErrorDocument 401 http://$
ErrorDocument 403 /forbidden.html
ErrorDocument 404 http://www.$

Mime Types

You can add mime types to your .htaccess file with a line like:

AddType text/html .txt

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