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Restricted directory name


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I was trying to display an image whic was in a different directory to the script. The troublesome code snippet was <img src="sponsors/image.jpg"> and the image would not display. I tried all manner of things for 6 hours until I finally found the problem. It was the name of the directory "sponsors". As soon as I renamed it (here to "sponsorslogo" giving <img src="sponsorslogo/image.jpg">) everything worked. Can anyone tell me why I could not use the name "sponsors" for a directory?

Note: this has nothing to do with permissions - all were consistent.