How Do I Disable Directory Listing on My Web Server?


Larry Thompson

How Do I Disable Directory Listing on My Web Server?

When you host a website on a web server, it is important to ensure that your server is properly configured to protect the privacy and security of your files. By default, many web servers allow directory listing, which means that anyone can see the contents of a directory if there is no index file present. This can potentially expose sensitive information and make it easier for hackers to find and exploit vulnerabilities in your website.

Why Disable Directory Listing?

Disabling directory listing adds an extra layer of security to your website. When you disable directory listing, visitors will not be able to see the files and directories within a folder if there is no index file present. This prevents unauthorized access to your directories and files and ensures that only intended content is accessible to visitors.

Methods to Disable Directory Listing

Method 1: Using .htaccess

The most common way to disable directory listing on a web server is by using an .htaccess file. The .htaccess file allows you to configure various aspects of your website’s behavior, including directory listing.

  1. Create or edit the .htaccess file in the root directory of your website.
  2. Add the following line of code:
Options -Indexes

This code tells the web server to disable directory listing for all directories under this location.

Method 2: Modifying server configuration

If you have access to modify the server configuration, you can directly disable directory listing by modifying the server configuration file (e.g., httpd.conf or apache.conf).

  1. Locate the server configuration file for your web server.
  2. Open the configuration file using a text editor.
  3. Find the section that handles directory options (e., <Directory /var/www/html>).
  4. Add or modify the following line:
Options -Indexes

This directive will disable directory listing for all directories under the specified location.

Verifying Directory Listing is Disabled

After applying one of the methods mentioned above, it is important to verify that directory listing has been successfully disabled. To do this:

  1. Open a web browser.
  2. Navigate to a directory on your website where no index file is present.

If directory listing has been disabled, you should see an error page or a “403 Forbidden” message, indicating that access to the directory is denied.


Disabling directory listing on your web server is an essential step towards enhancing the security of your website. By following the methods outlined in this tutorial, you can easily disable directory listing and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. Remember to always verify that directory listing has been successfully disabled after making any changes to your server configuration.

NOTE: It’s important to regularly update and maintain your web server’s security measures to protect against potential vulnerabilities and threats. Always stay informed about best practices in web server security and keep your server software up-to-date.

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