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Using the mod_expires module

  • Apache's mod_expires module enables you to define expiration intervals for different types of content on your web site.
  • For example, you could use mod_expires directives to instruct browsers to cache image files for one hour, JavaScript files for two weeks, and CSS files for two months.
  • The following sample .htaccess configuration demonstrates how to do this:
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
    ExpiresActive On
    ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 hour"
    ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 hour"
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 hour"
    ExpiresByType text/javascript "access 2 weeks"
    ExpiresByType text/css "access 2 months"
    ExpiresByType text/html "modification 4 hours"
    ExpiresDefault "access 2 days"
</IfModule>
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  • There are actually two ways to define expiration periods.
  • You can specify an expiration period from the time the browser accesses the file by using the access keyword.
  • Alternatively, you can specify an expiration period from the time the file was last modified on the server by using the modification keyword.
  • The ExpiresDefault directive is an optional directive that specifies the expiration period for all other types of files not explicitly set in an ExpiresByType directive.
  • In this example, any file that is not an image, JavaScript, or CSS file expires in two days.
  • To verify your expiration settings in the .htaccess file are working correctly, you can examine the raw HTTP headers sent between the browser and web server. (To do this, use a browser plugin that displays the raw headers such as Live HTTP headers for Mozilla Firefox, or the Developer Tools feature in Google Chrome.)
  • When content is marked for expiration, Apache adds the following lines to the HTTP response header (the exact values will vary based on your own .htaccess settings):
Cache-Control: max-age=86400
Expires: Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:02:30 GMT
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