VirtualHost level help

How to show files in a directory

If you want to list all files in a directory that doesn't use an index.php or index.html file, you can create an .htaccess file with the following contents:

Options +Indexes

This will tell Apache that you want to list all files in the directory.

How to redirect to

You can now manage domains and pointers www/non-www redirection in the DirectAdmin GUI User Level -> Domain Setup -> -> Force Redirect. This applies to both domains and pointers, but the redirection for pointers can be overridden by setting &www=no in the domains/ file.

This feature is off by default due to possible redirect loops and related errors.

The following domain.conf settings are available to choose from:

  • force_redirect=www
  • force_redirect=non-www
  • force_redirect=none

where both the, and all pointers would be affected by it (unless overridden via the domains/ file).

SSL redirection and www/non-www redirection

Note that the "force ssl" checkbox is also related to this setting.

Using the current FORCE_SSL_REDIRECT tokens in the virtual_host2*.conf files, rules will be as follows:

Force www:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.
RewriteRule ^ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
Force non-www:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.
RewriteRule ^ http://|DOMAIN|%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Follow the current "force ssl" rules.

Note: The RewriteRule would go to https instead of http, but only for VH:80, because the force_ssl option only applies to VH:80.
The VH:443 doesn't need to force ssl, since it's already ssl.

Skins changes for the www/non-www redirection feature

The user/modify_domain.html replaced the deprecated www_pointer with:

			<td class=list>www redirect</td>
			<td class=list align=left>
				<input type="radio" name="force_redirect" value='none' |FORCE_REDIRECT_NONE_CHECKED|> No redirection<br>
				<input type="radio" name="force_redirect" value='www' |FORCE_REDIRECT_WWW_CHECKED|> www.|DOMAIN|<br>
				<input type="radio" name="force_redirect" value='non-www' |FORCE_REDIRECT_NON_WWW_CHECKED|> |DOMAIN|
			<td class=list>Redirection for domain, pointers,<br>and sub-domains.</td>

Template changes for the www/non-www redirection feature

In the following files:


we've added the |FORCE_SSL_REDIRECT| token. Note that the 443 VirtualHosts will not fill the token with the force_ssl redirect, but will fill it with the www/non-www redirects.
For 80 VirtualHosts, the FORCE_SSL_REDRECT token is filled with both redirections for force_ssl/www/non-www redirects.

For any one given VirtualHost (eg:, there are 6 possible combinations using force_ssl, and the 3x force_redirect options.
12 if you include 80+443.
When considering pointer redirects and aliases, there are 24 more, totaling 36 combinations.
When considering subdomains, multiply that by 2 (subdomain or non-subdomain): 72 combinations.
Apache, nginx, openlitespeed, nginx_proxy, multiplies that by 4, so we have a grand total of 288 combinations of test cases.
We do have test scripts, to show us all possible combinations, but it's unlikely all combinations will actually be tested (we'll do as much as is reasonable).
Please try out this new feature and let us know if you run into any issues.

Subdomains and forced www redirection

Relating to the User Level feature that allows forcing » to (or vice versa), the new internal directadmin.conf option:


excludes subdomains from this redirection because we rarely intend for the www redirection to affect subdomains. For example, the following redirection is rarely ever desired: »

Note that subdomains in this context refers to subdomains that are created under a domain, as opposed to those subdomains created as "full domains".

If you do need subdomains to redirect to www, then enable the setting globally:

/usr/local/directadmin/directadmin set subdomain_force_redirect 1
service directadmin restart

The next rewrite of the User httpd.conf (or other server User config) will be updated with the change. To update all User configs, type:

/usr/local/directadmin/custombuild/build rewrite_confs

Old Guide

The DirectAdmin panel provides a GUI for this feature, so now you can easily redirect to www with a few mouse clicks. The below guide is for reference only.

If you want to force clients to use, you can redirect them from to the www version with an .htaccess file.

In your public_html folder, create a file called .htaccess and add the code:

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

Other versions of the same thing do a negation check to see if the domain is not, but that doesn't work if you have subdomains, hence the need for the explicit check for the value we don't want.

How to redirect non-www or non-https to https

The DirectAdmin panel provides a GUI for this feature, so now you can easily redirect to www with mouse click.

You should find the checkbox in BOTH:

  • User Level -> Domain Setup -> under the "private_html setup for" table, showing [ ] Force SSL with https redirect
  • AND at bottom of User Level -> -> SSL Certificates where, if checked, the port 80 VirtualHost/server{} entries for a domain/subdomains will automatically redirect to the same host and request, but with https.

The setting 'force_ssl=yes can be found in the '/usr/local/directadmin/data/users/username/domains/ file, if the feature is enabled. If it's off, it will be absent from the file (will not show force_ssl=no).

CMD_ADDITIONAL_DOMAINS?action=view& will now include "force_ssl": "yes", if enabled. If off, it will be absent from the output.

Skin changes regarding force_ssl

In the file /usr/local/directadmin/data/skins/enhanced/user/modify_domain.html, in the "private_html setup" table below the 2 radio <tr> entries for the link, a new row exists:

<tr><td class=list2><input type="checkbox" name="force_ssl" value="yes" |SSLDISABLED| |FORCE_SSL_CHECKED|></td><td class=list2>|LANG_FORCE_SSL_REDIRECT|</td></tr>

And the /usr/local/directadmin/data/skins/enhanced/user/ssl.html file contents are shown below:

<table class=mb15 cellpadding=3 cellspacing=1>
	<form name=https action="/CMD_DOMAIN" method="post">
		<input type=hidden name=action value="private_html">
		<input type=hidden name=domain value="|DOMAIN|">
		<tr><td><input type="checkbox" name="force_ssl" value="yes" |FORCE_SSL_CHECKED|></td>
			<td><input type=submit value='|LANG_SAVE|'></td>

where it uses the same action=private_html form, but really has nothing to do with the symbolic link since both radio buttons are excluded from the form.

Template changes regarding force_ssl

Changed templates include:

/usr/local/directadmin/data/templates/ --

which now include the added token:


which, if set in the Domain Setup for that domain, will be filled with either:

	SetEnvIf X-Forwarded-Proto \"https\" HTTPS=on
	RewriteEngine On
	RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
	RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https [NC]
	RewriteRule ^ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]


	if ($http_x_forwarded_proto != 'https') {
		return 301 https://$host$request_uri;

See related section How to redirect to for more information regarding this implementation and how it relates to the www/non-www redirection feature.

OLD Guide

The below guide is for reference only.

If you want to force a given website or path to use https and www, redirected from http, use the outlined instructions below.

First rewrite any request to the wrong domain to use the correct one (which is www. in this case), and then do check if non-https were used.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

For a simple http to https redirect, use a Force SSL with https redirect checkbox in the DA User panel > Domain Management.

If your site is running through CloudFlare, your https requests to it may actually hit your server in plaintext (http), which is confusing.

For that case, you might need something like this for an http to https redirect:

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [R,L]

where the only usable header is X-Forwarded-Proto, because the %{HTTPS} variable is "off" for requests from the CloudFlare network.

How to force redirecting to https for all domains

See this guide for using the force_ssl option for domains, and see this option for implementing this globally for all domains. If you need to force SSL for webapps, see this option.

Old Guide

  1. Create the global file /usr/local/directadmin/data/templates/custom/cust_httpd.CUSTOM.pre and insert code:
|*if SUB|
|*if SSL_TEMPLATE="1"|

This will set what we want to redirect to, and set the redirect to nothing if it's an SSL VirtualHost.

  1. Next, we want to actually use the variable, so create the file /usr/local/directadmin/data/templates/custom/ and add code:
      Redirect / https://|SSL_REDIRECT_HOST|/
  1. If you want to disable this for any domain, go to Admin Level -> Custom Httpd Config -> and in the CUSTOM token textarea, add this text

which makes the variable blank, so it's not used.

  1. Lastly, rewrite the configs to apply the changes:
cd /usr/local/directadmin/custombuild
./build rewrite_confs

How to enable HSTS

For added security, you can tell all clients to always use https, even if there is an http link from somewhere. HSTS will silently change the request to use https without needing to be asked, so at no point is http ever used (except on the first attempt, where the browser is given the header, then never asks again). To set up HSTS, add this to your public_html/.htaccess file:

Header set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000" env=HTTPS

Note: This means you cannot connect to http again, even if you wanted to, so this usually only applies to sites that only ever use https, and never want http.

How to forward a website to another url

There are several ways to accomplish this task.

  1. Use an .htaccess file in the public_html directory. Sample contents:
Redirect 301 /


  1. Create an index.php file in public_html directory with the code:

Where is the location that you want the page to forward to. You can use local values, i.e., /page.html, or full urls as in the above example (http://... etc.)

Related thread: in new window

For security reasons, FollowSymLinks is disabled by default.

To prevent this, either:

  1. Remove FollowSymLinks from your .htaccess file. It can be replaced with SymLinksIfOwnerMatch.

  2. Or use the patch method instead, which allows FollowSymLinks, but replaces it withSymLinksIfOwnerMatch internally, so clients don't need to adjust anything (we will likely use this as the default in the future).

cd /usr/local/directadmin/custombuild
./build update
./build set harden-symlinks-patch yes
./build set secure_htaccess no
./build apache
./build rewrite_confs

Add hotlink protection, so that other websites can not load images hosted on your website.

Create an .htaccess file with the following code:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .(gif|jpg)$ - [F]

Where the logic reads

  • If the referer is not blank
  • and is not
  • and is not
  • and is accessing a gif or jpg
  • Then [F]orbid the request.

Where you can add more domains in a similar manner, as needed. Similar file types could also be added as well.

How to restrict IP access to an Apache directory

If you have a path with sensitive data that you don't want to be public, you can restrict the path to only be accessible by your own IP address using an .htaccess file.

Create the .htaccess file in the path you'd like to protect. Add this code, where you'd replace with your own IP (Apache 2.4+):

<Limit GET POST>
	Require all denied
	Require ip
	Require all denied

Other variations of this are possible. Google should have many guides on it.

Search engine crawlers are increasing system load

Since a search engine like Google needs to parse your website to determine what to search for, this can often cause a high load on your system if the crawl is done in a short amount of time and if your site has a lot of data.

By creating a robots.txt file in your public_html folder, you can instruct these crawlers to slow down.

A sample robots.txt might look like this:

User-agent: *
Crawl-delay: 300

Which tells all crawlers to wait 300 seconds before each request.

Without it, a crawler might make multiple requests per second, thus increasing your system load.

How to set webalizer/awstats to be available by default

If you want webalizer or awstats pages to be available by default for new domains, you can do so by creating the /usr/local/directadmin/scripts/custom/ file and adding the code below:

ln -s ../stats /home/$username/domains/$domain/public_html/stats
exit 0;

Make it executable:

chmod 755 /usr/local/directadmin/scripts/custom/

If you want it to be for awstats, then change the stats name to be awstats instead.

The /icons/ folder with my website is not working

If you're trying to use /icons with your website, this is reserved for Apache. It's used for the icons/images, such as the folder icons with an Apache directory listing.

If possible, use a different path for your website.

If you cannot get around it, then edit /etc/httpd/conf/extra/httpd-autoindex.conf to remove or rename the Alias:

Alias /icons/ "/var/www/icons/"

This will break the Apache icons, but most people won't even notice.

Adding security headers to get an A+ rating

When a visitor opens a site in their browser, the server responds with HTTP Response Headers in addition to the actual site's content. These headers communicate rules to the browser regarding what is allowed when interacting with the website, and therefore are a fundamental component of a website's overall security posture. They work in tandem with the browser to protect you against a variety of common attacks. These headers can be constructed to protect against XSS, code injection, clickjacking, etc.

They are not set by default and have to be configured. Often they are set in .htaccess files on a per-domain basis. Online tools like https://securityheaders.comopen in new window can be used to scan your site and determine which security headers do/don't exist. SecurityHeaders.comopen in new window also provides you with a brief description on every header and its purpose.

You may apply security headers to all domains at once by modifying users' VirtualHosts with a custom template. For example:

  1. Create the /usr/local/directadmin/data/templates/custom/ file

  2. Post the code:

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
  Header always set X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff"
  <FilesMatch "\.(php|html)$$">
    Header always unset X-Powered-By
    Header unset X-Powered-By
    Header set X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN"
    Header set X-XSS-Protection "1"
    Header set X-Download-Options "noopen"
    Header set X-Permitted-Cross-Domain-Policies "master-only"
    Header set X-DNS-Prefetch-Control "on"
    Header set Referrer-Policy "no-referrer-when-downgrade"
    Header set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000" env=HTTPS
    Header set Content-Security-Policy "block-all-mixed-content"
    Header Set Permissions-Policy 'geolocation=*, midi=(), sync-xhr=(self "https://|DOMAIN|" "https://www.|DOMAIN|"), microphone=(), camera=(), magnetometer=(), gyroscope=(), payment=(), fullscreen=(self "https://|DOMAIN|" "https://www.|DOMAIN|")'
  1. And rewrite configs:
cd /usr/local/directadmin/custombuild/
./build rewrite_confs

Note: Any header may be unset for a particular domain by modifying that domain's .htaccess accordingly. The following example would unset the X-Frame-Options header for a single domain existing on a server where this header had been enabled globally:

Header always unset X-Frame-Options
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