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I hope that made sense, I have thousands of files for download so protecting the folder via the .htaccess file and then passing the files through via PHP would be perfect.
Any help appreciated
I've done a very similar thing to what you need, let me tell you what I did and hopefuly it will be of use.
My download "goodies" are outside the root directory of my web server. That way NOBODY (or is it NO ONE?) can have access to them (except probably from FTP or SCP, but that's another story).
The only trick is that the directory they are in must be readable by PHP.
Then you can do something like:
$fh = fopen("$full_path", "r");
Hope this helps!