I have been a SitePoint member for a couple of years (and the proud owner of nearly two dozen books from you guys!) and I'm finally going to make my first post on your forums.

I have been struggling to find the answer to my issues surrounding .htaccess and how I think the file is supposed to work. Essentially, I have a development environment (which is mirrored from my live environment) which has access restricted via .htaccess (I deny all and then allow from a few choice IP addresses). There is a new feature that I am trying to build into the website that will run a page through the W3C validator when a button (placed in the footer) is clicked. The button works fine when .htaccess isn't in the picture, but when .htaccess is in the picture then the validator hits a (expected) 403 error. I have attempted to allow access from the W3C validator via "HTTP_REFERER" but I am getting some incredibly wonky results (such as a completely restricted website, even from those in the "Allow" list).

Does anyone have a up-to-date method in which I can set this .htaccess file up to work as I desire? I have spent hours searching Google, forum threads, blog posts -- you name it -- all to no avail. Either I completely missed the answer due to mental exhaustion or I am not understanding what I should be doing.

Please advise. Many thanks in advance to those who contribute. If you need further information please do not hesitate to ask.