How to write a .htaccess file correctly


Some time ago I asked my ISP to do the following: I wanted to have all 404 errors to be redirected to the index.html and return a 301 as if the ‘wrong’ page was moved to the index. (This because of a BIG makeover of the site. All the 250 pages removed and replaced with a CMS.)
I found out what he did. He added in the .htaccess this code: ErrorDocument 404 /404.htm and in my 404.htm this: <?
header( “Location:”, True, 301 );

Point is that I myself have no access to the .htaccess file and do not know the full code. (Yes, securety) Now my question. On another server I maintain some other websites. And there I do have access to that .htaccess file. Can someone please tell me what exactly must I put in that .htaccess file in order to have the same effect? I looked around and got a bit scared, because one can surely mess things up there.

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