how can I use Apache to serve static content for a RoR app when I have only .htaccess access (and can't add Apache modules) [on Dreamhost shared server]


Are there any Rails/Apache guru's that might know if it's possible
(and how) to have the ability for users to upload their content to my
RoR application but then subsequent access to such static content
would be:

   a) served by APACHE web server [to avoid the overhead of going via
Rails], but
   b) still want to have an authentication/authorisation check to
occur before they can access the content

The constraint is I'm on shared platform where I
have only access to the Apache .htaccess file and I can't add my own
Apache modules.


(bump - still really interested in response if someone is knowable in this area)


It sounds like you have a contradicting desire here. You say you want
the uploads to be served directly by the Apache server (so you don't
have Rails touching it), but you still want some form of
authentication to make sure people can access it (which I imagine is
what your Rails app is doing).

The overhead from processing a Rails request is quite minimal,
especially is you're just doing some sort of user authentication and
not some complex query/data gathering. My recommendation would be to
use something like Paperclip (
paperclip) to help you upload files to your webserver, but protect
access by serving the files through a Rails controller (something like

And again, if you're really, really concerned about your server
overhead (like you'll be getting tens of thousands of requests per
hour), you can always move some of this logic into Rails Metal to
decrease the overhead, but, again, it's unlikely that you'll need to
do so.


thanks Casey - you no doubt correct :slight_smile: I'll run with your suggested
'don't over-engineer' concept...

Note that the X-Sendfile method in the linked article is only
supported by an Apache module, which doesn't appear to be installed on
the default DH config. So you're back where you started...

I'd recommend contacting DH support - I've never worked with them, but
the support at Site5 has always been willing to install gems / Apache
modules that were standard.

--Matt Jones

thanks Matt