As was noted by sysadmin1138 in the Unprofessional Questions thread, we've been getting a lot of mod_rewrite questions as of late. Add to those all of the questions we get asked regularly about htaccess, VirtualHost configuration, etc. It seems as if some of these perhaps should be migrated to webmasters.stackexchange.com.

There are certainly some aspects of webserver configuration that are probably best left here. MPM selection/configuation, performance tuning, etc., for instance, are more "sysadmin" type topics. As for the topics listed above, though, it seems as if those are all things I'd expect a competent webmaster to be able to handle as as such, questions on those topics should be migrated.

Agreed? Perhaps I'm off-base, but I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this.

Clarifying update:

I guess in my experience at several companies (which admittedly may not match what happens in the most companies), whomever was filling the webmaster role was equally as competent at html/css as they were constructing rewrite rules and limiting access via .htaccess for instance. It seems these functions (especially rewrite rules) are more "front end" than "back end", as they directly affect the user's experience of the website, and (in most cases) can be configured without any involvement from that system's administrator.

Look at shared webhosting as an example of a frequent use case. It would be quite typical for a webmaster, not interested in maintaining a full server, to sign up for a shared (or otherwise managed) webhosting plan. The vast majority of webhosts would have both mod_access and mod_rewrite enabled, but would never consider helping their customers set up rules. In this case, the webmaster would need to have enough knowledge of the topics to get things set up for themselves.

It would seem beneficial to the ProWebmasters community to have a body of question/answers on this topic.

4 Answers 4


As a mod on webmasters, maybe I can shed some light.

.htaccess and mod_rewrite rules are a real grey area, even on the webmasters site. Our definition of a webmaster is someone who takes care of the day to day running of a website, which does NOT include:

  • Server configuration
  • Apache/IIS installation
  • Apache/IIS configuration

As these are generally taken care of by a sysadmin. Basically, if it's something your hosting provider takes care of for you, then it's not a webmaster problem.

But you raise an interesting point. I will start a meta discussion over there and try and bring it up again. Feel free to throw in your $0.02 on the webmasters meta.


So, after several days nobody has had anything to say on webmasters, so I'm going to make a bold step and state that it's OK for mod_rewrite questions to be migrated, based on the following template:

Consider the following typical scenario: a paid hosting environment (either IIS or Apache, Windows or Linux, whatever).

  • If it's something you CAN do without getting your host involved, then YES it belongs on webmaster.se
  • If it's something you CAN'T do and need to get your host involved, then NO it's not for pro webmasters and should be closed or migrated to SF
  • Thanks Mark. I'll be watching that meta discussion to see what happens. Also, see the update I just added for some more information/ideas/arguments.
    – EEAA
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 21:35
  • I see you, in essence, covered the same things as I did in my update. Not sure if I have anything more to add...I'm not really a member of that community, so I don't feel I have the "right" to raise my voice at this point.
    – EEAA
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 21:50
  • @ErikA - you're a member of the community at large, so I think you've got every right. The people on webmasters mostly come from Stack Overflow, so they don't have the same insights into server fault as we do. They need to know our opinion. As a mod I need to be a bit careful about expressing my opinion lest it be perceived that I'm "laying down the law" Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 21:52
  • Fair enough. Answer posted. :)
    – EEAA
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 22:09

I asked this over on webmasters.meta and the response was pretty clear. They stay on SF. Server-side webmastery thingies like php/apache/mysql configs are clearly Our Problem. Things like picking which packages to run, design within frameworks, increasing search-engine visibility, and suchall are Their Problem.

  • I find it interesting (though not surprising) that we tend to think that mod_rewrite/etc would be more well suited over there and they think they should stay here. Oh well - thanks for linking to your question.
    – EEAA
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 4:27
  • 1
    Yeah, our concept of 'webmaster' doesn't mesh with theirs.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 6:14
  • 2
    +1, I have to agree with sysadmin on both accounts, they should stay on SF and our def. of "webmaster" is different. The main problem I have with these questions is that they are usually asked by people who have not looked at the documentation. Or more commonly by people who saw the documentation, went instantly to "tl;dr", followed by "Ask Question"... It's not that they are off-topic.
    – Chris S
    Commented Nov 29, 2010 at 14:17

There is some overlap between the two sites. This has been pointed out before and acknowledged by Jeff Atwood - the guideline seems to be to let a post go on whichever site it fits best, depending on the context of the post.

True, .htaccess, virtualhosts, and Apache configuration are certainly webmaster-y matters, but they are relevant to servers, which SF is all about.


Glad to see a Webmasters mod here! If migrating a few over will help seed the site, and land a few Google searches there, maybe you can pick some questions and list em here? Otherwise it sounds like a mass migration isn't needed quite yet.

  • Personally I have no problem with the mod_rewrite questions being moved there, but unfortunately I can't speak for the community as a whole. It will be a nice distraction from all the damn SEO questions. I guess you can just test the waters and see what happens. If worst comes to worst, we can just migrate them back ;) Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 4:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .