Setting a default charset using .htaccess is a simple thing to do
However sometimes there is a need to unset default charset as well (for instance if the AddDefaultCharset is set in the apache config and this is causing problems).
This is very easy to do just edit the .htaccess file and add a line that says
If you do not wish to change character encoding for the entire server, but only one site (or only one directory) then this is possible to do using .htaccess.
If you only wish to do this to php or htm files (and not all files)
If you wish to modify the mime-type as well as the encoding (on html files in this example)
AddType 'text/html; charset=UTF-8' html