We would like to set up a test site where we can experiment with various operations which, if they fail, would be messy to clean up, but I am running into a problem with clean URLs. First, some background. We run multiple sites off this one account, some D6 and one D7. It is the D7 one where we want a test site. Because of the multiple sites from one code base, I have Drupal installed in directories under a bin directory, one for each current release. Then, the directory corresponding to each website is just a symbolic link to the corresponding Drupal release directory. So, when I install a new release, I unpack it into a new directory, copy over the site directory, and create a new link to the new directory.
For the test site, I set up the DNS so that test.whatever.com points to a test directory, just like the other directories and that directory is symbolically linked to the same Drupal release as the main site. Under the sites directory, I have done the setup so that each site has its own database. I can do the ?q=user thing to get a login prompt and can log in, but whenever I try to navigate somewhere I get "The requested URL /content/articles was not found on this server." So, this tells me that clean URLs is broken.
But, of course, because of the site structure, test.whatever.com is pointing to the same Drupal 7.43 release directory as the main site and they have the same .htaccess file, which is the standard one that comes with 7.43. But, I am failing to find any real guidance on how I have to modify the .htaccess to make this setup work. I have looked at https://www.drupal.org/getting-started/clean-urls, but an unable to puzzle how to adapt what is there to this situation.