PHP Scripts Don’t Have to End in .PHP
By Robert Plank
If you tweak your site to perform better in search rankings then you
practice the science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s possible to
start using PHP scripts on your site without losing that high ranking of
You’ve probably noticed your site rise and fall in search engine rankings
quite a bit. That’s just how it goes since search engines such as Google
like to change their algorithms around.
If one day you decide to rename all the files on your site you can be sure
your Google listing will moved off page 1 of your target search keyword onto
the back-listings of page 67 and beyond.
When you rename a file on your site, and another site links to that file,
anyone coming to your site thru that particular link will get an error.
When a search engine crawler sees this, it decides your site and decides
either to lower your ranking or delete the URL from its search results
Search engines don’t want to send their visitors to Not-Found pages… makes
sense, doesn’t it?
Okay, so let’s say you don’t want to have a ton of broken links across your
site, which will cause you to drop in the search results, but you want to
tinker with PHP a little bit.
There’s an easy fix for that. You can actually name your PHP scripts so
that they end in .htm or .html, and have them run as PHP scripts on your web
server. So from the outside world it’ll look as if your site is full of
All you have to do is add this line to your .htaccess file:
AddType application/x-httpd-php .html .htm
If you don’t have an .htaccess file, all you have to do is put that line of
code up there into a new text file, save it as “.htaccess” (with the dot in
front) then upload it to your web server.
As soon as you set this up, try going back to your site. Everything should
look exactly the same, with the exception that your HTML pages are all now
So you could setup a simple script like the one here:
… And put that on any HTML page of yours. It will work exactly the same
as if the file ended in .php instead of .html. Neat, huh?
You could even go crazy and change that line of htaccess code to add in more
weird file extensions, for example:
AddType application/x-httpd-php .html .htm .ezine
This would parse any page ending in .html, .htm, or .ezine as PHP. So you
could name a file something crazy like “subscribe.ezine” and it would work
as a PHP script, or in other words as an HTML file with PHP tags in any
place you want them.
For thank you pages sometimes I like to make the extension .thanks or .order
just to make it harder to guess.
If you wanted to go totally nuts, you could even put something like this in
your .htaccess file:
With that, any file without an extension (so if you named a file “download”
instead of “download.php”) will be “assumed” to be a PHP file. Any
unrecognized extension would default to PHP.