I have over 30,000 html files stored in www.example.com/docs, and these files are linked to each other. When it comes to displaying the content of those files on my site, I use the following code: HTML Include using Java

I learned today that my host allows a maximum of 10,000 files per folder. This means that I have start splitting up my files into different folders. I will probably create a number of folders like

  • www.example.com/docs1
  • www.example.com/docs2
  • www.example.com/docs3

This causes an issue because I have to amend the hyperlinks within all 30,000 files, and I have to update the URLs within pages that display documents within those folder.

I don't mind creating the folders and moving the files, but I am really dreading updating the links and URLs. Is there a solution I can leverage? I am thinking something .htaaccess related, but I am not knowledgeable enough.

EDIT: my files are in the following format doc[NUMBER].htm, so it look like this:

  • doc100.htm
  • doc101.htm
  • doc102.htm
  • What is the range/distribution of the number? It doesn't look zero padded.
    – MrWhite
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


How you do this would depend on how these files are named. You could, for instance, divide these HTML files into subdirectories according to their first letter (assuming a fairly even/normal distribution). For example:


Then, given a request for /docs/aardvark.html, it needs to be internally rewritten to /docs-a/aardvark.html (since that is the true location). This is relatively trivial to do using mod_rewrite in .htaccess. For example:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteRule ^docs/(([a-z]).*\.html)$ /docs-$2/$1 [L]

This assumes that all files start with a lowercase letter a-z and no one letter is excessively dominant (ie. well below the 10,000 limit).

Note that this is case-sensitive, a is different to A.

EDIT: my files are in the following format doc[NUMBER].htm

In this case, @Stephen's suggestion in comments sounds good - base the directory name on the last digit (to ensure an even distribution) and use 10 subdirectories: /docs-0 .. /docs-9.

RewriteRule ^docs/(doc.*([0-9])\.htm)$ /docs-$2/$1 [L]

UPDATE: Can it modified to be /docs/docs-0

Yes, however, you'll also need to change the RewriteRule pattern to be more restriction, to avoid a rewrite loop. For example:

RewriteRule ^docs/(doc\d*(\d)\.htm)$ /docs/docs-$2/$1 [L]

\d is a shorthand character class for digits. The same as [0-9].

  • Thank you very much for your solution. I have edited my original post to include the format of my documents. Is there anything can be done based on my format?
    – jcmaad
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:12
  • 1
    Base it on the last digit of the number instead: RewriteRule ^docs/(.*([0-9])\.html)$ /docs-$2/$1 [L]. You will need docs-0 through docs-9 directories. I'd recommend the last digit rather than the first because for numbers the last digit is more evenly distributed. The beginning digits have a preference for low digits, one being the most common. Feb 20, 2019 at 16:21
  • Awesome. I will try this out and report back.
    – jcmaad
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:32
  • @StephenOstermiller That's a good idea! (I've updated my answer.) Although that does perhaps make the initial moving of files into the respective directories a little harder - perhaps write a script for that?
    – MrWhite
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:35
  • 1
    mv docs/*0.htm docs/docs-0/ and nine other similar statements on the command line. Less work than the 26 for each letter. If you want a one liner to do them all: for i in 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9; do mkdir -p docs/docs-$i; mv docs/*$i.htm docs/docs-$i/; done Feb 20, 2019 at 20:19

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