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    Help with htaccess for beginner


    Please, please, can anyone reading this post help by giving me some advice about htaccess. More specifically about how to set expiry dates for my website.

    I am a complete beginner, so given my lack of understanding, any answer should be simple for me to interpret.

    Google says that to speed up a website it's advisable to create an expiry date in the http headers resulting in the site then be downloaded from disc, as opposed to over the network, until the expiry date arrives. Google says that to achieve this, I should create an htaccess file, containing the necessary expiry information.

    I understand the part about opening notepad and creating a blank document to which the expiry date information can be added, but I don't understand what information I should be adding, and how to edit it to my requirements - (just what's needed to set a basic expiry date for everything will do to begin with, as I can presumably always cherry pick exactly what to specifics of the site to cache, and for how long, once I become more familiar with the process) (the exact code to paste into the document for basic - let's say 7 day expiry - would be appreciated).

    What's more, I need to understand where to place this document once created, edited, and saved as .htaccess. I also need to know what permissions to set for this document.

    These questions asked, there are still more things I don't understand.

    While setting the expiry date of my website may well speed its download time, it also means that the search engine will effectively be saving a snapshot, which it will continue to serve to all who visit throughout the period until the expiry date arrives, at which point Google will recheck and save any updated content.

    This is all well and good - except what about if I decide to make changes to my website and need to check to see if my changes have been integrated properly. How can I view realtime changes to my own website, and not see only what the browser serves me from its cache?

    My lack of understanding means I remain unclear as to whether its the server at Google, Yahoo, or whatever browser, which is actually saving a copy of my site to its hard drive, a process over which I can have no control, or whether it's the browser that's simply setting a cookie on my own computer which I can clear at any time in order to request to view an up to date copy of my website whenever I desire. Please can you explain what is actually the case?

    If I do place an htaccess doc with my website and set it with a 7 day expiry date for everything, but later on decide to change or remove the expiry date, how can I be sure Google knows about my changes, or will Google automatically know?

    Also, what about dates set in the metatags of each individual page - are these still worth considering? And, what about my xml sitemap which contains lastmod dates for each page of my site, together with page change duration. How is this affected by adding an htaccess doc, and what is the point of the sitemap last mod dates and page change durations if they don't actually do anything?

    I have asked a few people already, all of which have directed me to read various articles on Google, none of which seem to answer my questions.

    Any simple and constructive advice would be gratefully received.
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    I'm sorry but I think this is far too advanced for Google to advise webmasters to do.

    Do you have actual problems with your website speed or with your 'crawling' rates maybe?
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    You can Google for the code, i am not prepared to paste it here in case you make changes and do it wrong, i will only get the blame but here is a useful link to the information Leverage browser caching: How to add Expires headers - For the Love of SEO | For the love of SEO

    I get around 80-90% without using the code from page-speed and adding the code will only add an extra 1-2% so i see no need for it or my sites, especially if you update images on a regular basis, but it's up to you, just make sure you do it right otherwise things will get ugly. Look into other options first such as compressing images or reducing code within a page or even removing unnecessary javascript/code.. even the CMS being used.

    Read up on the subject further as your new, weigh up the options first then decide if you really need to add it to your site.
    Last edited by Grizzler; Nov 7th, 2013 at 01:35 PM.
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    No, this is done via http headers.

    Server side offers gzip and compression/cache options, too.

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