librarian - 7:48 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)
Thank you for the information about the Live Headers. I installed it right away. I'm sure I will get use from it when I start work on the .htaccess file of my other really old site.
Your reply came at the right time. I was planning to update the progress with my work on the example.com .htaccess file. Nothing was going right in any of my three browsers. Opera wouldn't even display the site's graphics. The other two, FireFox and Chrome, did show them. Not good when the heart of the site are the graphics. They reappeared as soon as I put the old .htaccess file back.
It was good to go back and start over. I'm happy to say all is working now.
Here is what I did. I replaced the original version of the .htaccess file with my last version that didn't work. Trying a few example.com/file.htm searches nothing worked for www to non-www, example.com/index.htm/l, html to htm. Then I tried some specific rewrite searches. Now they weren't working. So I removed all the extra commands and ran only the specific rewrite searches. They worked.
Usually I try to follow the less is more idea. The first area I tackled was having the index.htm/l resolve to example.com. Since I only have one index page on the whole site I decided to put it in the specific rewrites group. When I did this it worked great. Looking at Bing's and Google's Webmater Tools accounts I saw both had a couple of 404s for index.htm and index.html. They are both in the specific area now. Bing shows they are now pooling all the links to example.com/.
Next I tried to work with the html to htm. Bing seems to be the engine that shows a lot of html files. Many are the files from the original build of the website. But there are other garbled pages they applied the html to. So I tried to use the command to change all the endings to htm. It was at the bottom area for the .htaccess file. Right away there were problems. What I saw in Firefox was that the command looked at the original file names like id2.html in the specific area above. It hung up for a bit and then picked the target file name from another id5.html which was not right. So forget that command. I wanted to leave those original file rewrites. The html to htm is now gone.
Last I tried the www to non-www command. It follows the specific rewrites and is before the 404errorpage.htm. This command works.
The .htaccess file now works in all three browsers. You don't have to clear the cache. You can make a change and try it out right away. Lucy was right when she said leave some of it out.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to help.