Manage Error Documents

This seems to be what people think htaccess was meant for, but it is only part of the general use. Well be getting into progressively more advanced stuff after this.

In order to specify your own ErrorDocuments, you need to be slightly familiar with the server returned error codes. (List to the right). You do not need to specify error pages for all of these, in fact you shouldnt. An ErrorDocument for code 200 would cause an infinite loop, whenever a page was foundthis would not be good.

You will probably want to create an error document for codes 404 and 500, at the least 404 since this would give you a chance to handle requests for pages not found. 500 would help you out with internal server errors in any scripts you have running. You may also want to consider ErrorDocuments for 401 - Authorization Required (as in when somebody tries to enter a protected area of your site without the proper credentials), 403 - Forbidden (as in when a file with permissions not allowing it to be accessed by the user is requested) and 400 - Bad Request, which is one of those generic kind of errors that people get to by doing some weird stuff with your URL or scripts.

In order to specify your own customized error documents, you simply need to add the following command, on one line, within your htaccess file:

ErrorDocument code /directory/filename.ext
ErrorDocument 404 /errors/notfound.html
This would cause any error code resulting in 404 to be forward to

Likewise with:

ErrorDocument 500 /errors/internalerror.html

If you were to use an error document handler for each of the error codes I mentioned, the htaccess file would look like the following (note each command is on its own line):

ErrorDocument 400 /errors/badrequest.html  
ErrorDocument 401 /errors/authreqd.html  
ErrorDocument 403 /errors/forbid.html  
ErrorDocument 404 /errors/notfound.html  
ErrorDocument 500 /errors/serverr.html

You can specify a full URL rather than a virtual URL in the ErrorDocument string ( vs. /errors/notfound.html). But this is not the preferred method by the servers happiness standards.

You can also specify HTML, believe it or not!

	ErrorDocument 401 "<body bgcolor=#ffffff>
<h1>You have   to actually <b>BE</b> a <a href="#">member</a> 
to view  this page, Colonel!

The only time I use that HTML option is if I am feeling particularly saucy, since you can have so much more control over the error pages when used in conjunction with xSSI or CGI or both. Also note that the ErrorDocument starts with a just before the HTML starts, but does not end with oneit shouldnt end with one and if you do use that option, keep it that way. And again, that should all be on one line, no naughty word wrapping!

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