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#1: 404 Configuration

Posted on 2008-04-07 18:59:20 by ben_rebach

I have been dropped in to a large site, and I have found myself
administrator of one of its subdomains. I have been instructed to
close the public facing side, while leaving the intranet open.

So, let us say I'm part of I am administering The intranet is located at,
and there are further subdomains such as It seems ownership of the overall
site and the various subdomains has been passed on from person to
person for a while now, and consequently I am having a lot of trouble
finding assistance from my higher-ups.

So, I am here with my problem...

The material on the public facing site has been backed up in several
places, and my intention was to delete the obsolete material -
basically, everything except /Intranet - from the server. I wanted to
modify the 404 settings, so any 404 error would send the user to the
new index, which would announce the closure, provide alternative
links, and, after 15-30 seconds, auto-forward to the new subdomain
which is replacing the obsolete materials.

The information I found in the manual pointed me to .htaccess files,
which I could not find at either the site root or inside any folders.
In the server's /conf folder I found an number of configuration files
which seemed to have the setting I wanted, and so I did the following:

# Customizable error responses come in three flavors:
# 1) plain text 2) local redirects 3) external redirects
# Some examples:
#ErrorDocument 500 "The server made a boo boo."
ErrorDocument 404
#ErrorDocument 404 "/cgi-bin/"
#ErrorDocument 402

I made this edit to both httpd.conf and httpd.conf.php (after backing
them up) and uploaded them to the server. There has been no change.

Obviously I am missing something, but I am unable to find what it
might be.
Do I need to reboot or reset the server?
Am I editing the wrong files?
Are my edits being overwritten by a higher-level server, such as
whichever administers to the root domain?

Any help or hints would be appreciated.

Ben Rebach

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