I personally use the next .htaccess code to create my Web addresses cleaner:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?$1 [L]

It essentially see if the asked for URL indicates personal files or perhaps a directory and when it does not, it formats it inside a particular way.

However , my production server appears to disregard file extensions if this inspections when the asked for URL indicates personal files. For instance, it might think about the URL /contact pointing to some file named contact.jpg if your file with this title been around around the cause of the server.

What can cause Apache some thing like this and so what can I actually do to manage it - allow it to be strict about file extensions?

In my opinion it's due to MultiViews option. Try Options -MultiViews within the .htaccess