WordPress htaccess: A Step-by-Step Guide


In this article, we will explore the topic of "htaccess WordPress" and provide you with valuable insights and tips on how to effectively use htaccess files in your WordPress website. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced WordPress user, understanding htaccess and its role in optimizing your website’s performance and security is crucial.

What is htaccess?

The htaccess file, short for Hypertext Access, is a configuration file used by Apache web servers to control various aspects of website functionality. It is a powerful tool that allows you to modify server settings, redirect URLs, protect directories, and much more.

Why is htaccess important for WordPress?

WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites worldwide. While WordPress offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of features, there are certain server-level configurations that cannot be easily modified within the CMS itself. This is where htaccess comes into play.

By utilizing htaccess, you can fine-tune your WordPress website’s performance, enhance its security, and improve its search engine optimization (SEO). It allows you to control how URLs are structured, handle redirects, enable caching, and protect sensitive directories, among other things.

How to use htaccess in WordPress

To begin using htaccess in WordPress, you need to locate the file on your server. It is typically found in the root directory of your WordPress installation. If you cannot find it, don’t worry! You can create a new file and name it ".htaccess" (without the quotes).

Once you have access to the htaccess file, you can start adding various directives to customize your website’s behavior. Here are a few useful tips:

1. Redirect non-www to www or vice versa

To ensure consistency in your website’s URL structure, you can redirect visitors from the non-www version to the www version (or vice versa). This can be achieved by adding the following code to your htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [L,R=301]

2. Enable caching for improved performance

Caching can significantly speed up your WordPress website by storing static versions of your pages. To enable caching, you can add the following code to your htaccess file:

  ExpiresActive On
  ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 1 hour"
  ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
  ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"

3. Protect sensitive directories

If you have directories on your WordPress website that contain sensitive information, such as your wp-admin folder, you can add an extra layer of security by restricting access to them. Here’s an example of how you can achieve this:

  Order Deny,Allow
  Deny from all
  Allow from


In conclusion, understanding and utilizing htaccess files in your WordPress website can greatly enhance its performance, security, and SEO. By implementing the tips mentioned above, you can take full advantage of htaccess and optimize your WordPress site to its fullest potential.


Q: Can I edit the htaccess file directly from the WordPress dashboard?
A: No, you cannot edit the htaccess file directly from the WordPress dashboard. You need to access it via FTP or your web hosting control panel.

Q: Are there any risks involved in editing the htaccess file?
A: Yes, there is a risk of breaking your website if you make incorrect changes to the htaccess file. It is always recommended to create a backup before making any modifications.

Q: Do I need to have coding knowledge to use htaccess in WordPress?
A: While basic coding knowledge can be helpful, you can still make use of htaccess in WordPress by following tutorials and guides. It is important to understand the changes you are making to avoid any unintended consequences.