.htaccess not regarded on Debian by default


I set up a Debian server and was befuddled for some time about why my .htaccess in the default server was not being obeyed. This was a Virtualmin install, but It turns out to have nothing to do with Virtualmin and everything to do with Debian's more-secure-by-default configuration.

To enable .htaccess processing in the default server, use your favorite text editor on /etc/apache2/sites-available/default (on some other distributions this may be /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default ) and right at the top you will see:

<VirtualHost *:80>
 ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost

 DocumentRoot /var/www
 <Directory />
 Options FollowSymLinks
 AllowOverride None
 <Directory /var/www/>
 Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
 AllowOverride None
 Order allow,deny
 allow from all

Change the two instances of AllowOverride None to AllowOverride All ...and all should be well.

With Webmin you can also go to Servers: Apache Webserver: Global Configuration: Edit Config Files; and select the sites-available/default for editing right in your browser.