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.htaccess

If Apache is configured to allow it, you can put a file named .htaccess inside your public directory and use it to supply rules for Apache. This is commonly used for url rewriting, password protecting files/directories, allow/disallow directory listings etc.

If you want to know more about the ways you can use .htaccess files, read the .htaccess tutorials at the Apache website. They are available for the 1.3 series, 2.0 series and the 2.2 series.