Tips for an optimized .htaccess in WordPress

Today, many companies are facing the challenge of digitalization, moving their physical commerce to the online world. This is not as easy as it seems, because depending on the type of store and the way it makes sales or contacts with customers, it will need one type of platform or another. Some opt for a classic website, while others opt for CMS functionalities such as WordPress.

In order to make these decisions, it is important to have IT and sales expertise or, failing that, a specialized consultancy.

Many companies recognize that they need to work digitally, but lack the resources to bring in full-time specialists. It seems that the usual format of companies is inflexible when it comes to incorporating this talent that makes periodic rather than daily contributions. To counteract this, the freelance format appears. Thanks to various platforms, it is possible to find different professional profiles and agree on a project-based collaboration, with a fixed and delimited cost.

What is the purpose of the .htaccess file?

The necessary aspects for a website to function correctly are content management, programming and files such as .htaccess. This is a hypertext access that serves as a file to configure the software called Apache. It is a widespread server software, but it needs a series of directions to program its behavior to a certain extent.

The .htaccess file indicates the possibilities of action that a user has when entering the web. It can also limit certain actions to give us more control over our own website.

Another use is to configure the server to react to failures in the user’s connection. This will improve the so-called UX or user experience and serve to channel certain user actions.

It also has special relevance when it comes to making a site load better. Optimization is key, and not just to reduce users waiting time. The loading state of a page affects in part the chances of that page appearing among Google’s top results. Therefore, if our website uses the .htaccess file to prioritize load time optimization, it will not only improve the experience of current users but also attract different users.

The .htaccess file is a small document but it can serve as a gateway to an efficient and functional page. According to the parameters and rules entered, when a user enters the site the server directs traffic to the home page that appears in .htaccess. If there are any errors, the server directs the user to a failure page called 404, which is also customizable to some extent. So a bad configuration can be a risk since it will ruin a lot of visits that could be potential customers. This is why it is advisable to leave these files in the hands of professionals.

If there is one aspect that many entrepreneurs need to focus on, it is IT. The shortcomings in this regard have caused many viable projects to stagnate in their digital adaptation phase.

To prevent this from happening, the best thing to do is to have a programmer specialized in WordPress, especially at the start of the project. This professional is used to dealing with the WordPress computer system, programming, file types and promotional options. It is becoming more and more common for companies that do not have their own IT department to hire freelance programmers sporadically for specific periods or for specific actions. This type of contracting is becoming more and more common, as it helps to save costs in small and medium-sized businesses, where sustaining a full-time employee is a significant economic effort.

WordPress and .htaccess

WordPress is one of the most popular virtual sites among businesses today. Its intuitive website designs and paid promotion options allow many users to do business on the Internet on a daily basis. The .htaccess file also plays a key role in this format.

There are a couple of aspects that are worth relating about WordPress as a beneficiary of .htaccess technology. To begin with, .htaccess files can refer to the entirety of a website, that is, to indicate the desired behavior in any section of it. However, there is also the option of assigning this type of document to each directory, which opens up the possibility of customizing different subsections.

We are talking about a very important element to restrict entry to some server folders, IP addresses, etc. As we can see, these are very necessary protection functions in the current cybersecurity context.

Optimizations for our .htaccess file

Different optimizations can be made in this document to take advantage of each and every one of its functionalities. In addition, as our WordPress website is used, it will be necessary to make adjustments that make sense. It is important to remember that, before modifying the .htaccess file, professionals usually make a backup copy. This is because, in case of failure (which can occur even for spelling issues), the page could be out of order. To make things easier, it is recommended to create a duplicate edition and apply the following tips.

Customize the 404 error page

The 404 error page is one of the most annoying pages for users because, in many cases, they do not know how they ended up there. Customizing this section allows you to give specific indications or explanations.

Home Page

The .htaccess file allows you to define a default home page, which does not have to be the same as the main page. Many people running personal projects use the “About Us” section as their home page.

Bringing visitors from our old website

When a client had an old website that has been replaced by another one, it is important to redirect people who enter the old domain. This way they will understand that the content has been moved.

Protect .htaccess modification

Parameters must be set so that this master sheet cannot be modified by third parties.

Block bots and users

This can be done from .htaccess. It is a way to prevent unwanted access to the website and to protect it from possible attacks.

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