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Apache > HTTP Server > Documentation > Version 2.4

Terms Used to Describe Directives

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This document describes the terms that are used to describe each Apache configuration directive.

See also

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Description

A brief description of the purpose of the directive.

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Syntax

This indicates the format of the directive as it would appear in a configuration file. This syntax is extremely directive-specific, and is described in detail in the directive's definition. Generally, the directive name is followed by a series of one or more space-separated arguments. If an argument contains a space, the argument must be enclosed in double quotes. Optional arguments are enclosed in square brackets. Where an argument can take on more than one possible value, the possible values are separated by vertical bars "|". Literal text is presented in the default font, while argument-types for which substitution is necessary are emphasized. Directives which can take a variable number of arguments will end in "..." indicating that the last argument is repeated.

Directives use a great number of different argument types. A few common ones are defined below.

URL
A complete Uniform Resource Locator including a scheme, hostname, and optional pathname as in http://www.example.com/path/to/file.html
URL-path
The part of a url which follows the scheme and hostname as in /path/to/file.html. The url-path represents a web-view of a resource, as opposed to a file-system view.
file-path
The path to a file in the local file-system beginning with the root directory as in /usr/local/apache/htdocs/path/to/file.html. Unless otherwise specified, a file-path which does not begin with a slash will be treated as relative to the ServerRoot.
directory-path
The path to a directory in the local file-system beginning with the root directory as in /usr/local/apache/htdocs/path/to/.
filename
The name of a file with no accompanying path information as in file.html.
regex
A Perl-compatible regular expression. The directive definition will specify what the regex is matching against.
extension
In general, this is the part of the filename which follows the last dot. However, Apache recognizes multiple filename extensions, so if a filename contains more than one dot, each dot-separated part of the filename following the first dot is an extension. For example, the filename file.html.en contains two extensions: .html and .en. For Apache directives, you may specify extensions with or without the leading dot. In addition, extensions are not case sensitive.
MIME-type
A method of describing the format of a file which consists of a major format type and a minor format type, separated by a slash as in text/html.
env-variable
The name of an environment variable defined in the Apache configuration process. Note this is not necessarily the same as an operating system environment variable. See the environment variable documentation for more details.
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Default

If the directive has a default value (i.e., if you omit it from your configuration entirely, the Apache Web server will behave as though you set it to a particular value), it is described here. If there is no default value, this section should say "None". Note that the default listed here is not necessarily the same as the value the directive takes in the default apache2.conf distributed with the server.

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Context

This indicates where in the server's configuration files the directive is legal. It's a comma-separated list of one or more of the following values:

server config
This means that the directive may be used in the server configuration files (e.g., apache2.conf), but not within any <VirtualHost> or <Directory> containers. It is not allowed in .htaccess files at all.
virtual host
This context means that the directive may appear inside <VirtualHost> containers in the server configuration files.
directory
A directive marked as being valid in this context may be used inside <Directory>, <Location>, <Files>, <If>, and <Proxy> containers in the server configuration files, subject to the restrictions outlined in Configuration Sections.
.htaccess
If a directive is valid in this context, it means that it can appear inside per-directory .htaccess files. It may not be processed, though depending upon the overrides cu