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From Rich Bowen <>
Subject Re: htaccess support
Date Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:55:44 GMT

On Sep 27, 2010, at 7:44 AM, Igor Galić wrote:

> Hi folks,
> I remotely remember that we briefly touched this topic on IRC, but  
> I'd really like to
> bring this to the lists attention:
> .htaccess is one of the features that have guaranteed httpd's  
> success in the past, and
> at the same time it's the single biggest clutch imaginable. It's a  
> support nightmare,
> exploit vector and a performance bottleneck.
> Most competing products don't have such a thing either, and if  
> needed, solve it via
> scripting:
> (first hit in google, I'm sure you can do better)
> I'd like to discuss the possibility to either disable the use  
> of .htaccess at
> compile time, or alternatively concentrate it into a module.
> With mod_lua in place, people who chose to, could use yet a  
> different way for
> per-dir configs, I suppose...

As much as we dislike .htaccess files, they certainly seem to be a  
necessary evil. You *can* disable them (although not at compile time),  
but this is simply not an option for many folks. Educating them when  
it's better to use the main config than .htaccess files is the job of  
documentation, and we've done a somewhat poor job of that. Perhaps  
that can be improved. The largest problem here is the *HUGE* number of  
third-party sites peddling bad advice, and I honestly have no idea how  
to address that problem.

It's been frequently suggested that .htaccess files could be improved  
via some kind of "cache and only reload if the timestamp has changed"  
mechanism, but in my benchmarking, simply stat'ing a .htaccess file  
(even in cases when there's no file there to begin with) accounts for  
an awful lot of the performance hit of "AllowOverride All", so I don't  
know whether this would really be a solution.

For the most part, folks who need to use .htaccess files are not in a  
position to really do much in the way of performance tuning, and vice  

Rich Bowen

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