10+ Mod_Rewrite Rules You Should Know

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Mod_rewrite is an Apache-based rewrite engine for dynamically rewriting URLs. It’s built into Apache servers natively, though not enabled by default.

It’s capable of functions beyond simple rewrites, though, some of which are included below.


Mod_Rewrite Rules You Should Know

Turn Mod_Rewrite On

Mod_rewrite is used through your .htaccess file. Place the following code at the beginning of your .htaccess file to turn mod_rewrite on:

RewriteEngine on

(Don’t forget that .htaccess commands are case-sensitive.) This code needs to be entered at the beginning of any .htaccess file using mod_rewrite.

The Basic Mod_Rewrite Layout

The basic format for a mod_rewrite command is:

RewriteRule Pattern Substitution [Flag(s)]

URLs are Always Relative

The URL you redirect to is always relative to the directory in which your .htaccess file is placed. So if it’s in the root directory, URLs are all in relation to the root directory; if it’s in a sudirectory, URLs are in relation to that particular subdirectory.

A Basic Redirect

If you just want to create a simple 301 redirect from one URL to another, then use the following code:

RewriteRule ^fileone.html$ filetwo.html

This is a very basic rule that means any requests for fileone.html will be sent to filetwo.html.

Require no “www”

This bit of code will make it so visitors to your site don’t need to type in the “www” bit of your website address.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^domain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Block a Specific IP Address

If you want to block someone coming from a specific IP address from accessing your website, you can use the following code:

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} ^(A\.B\.C\.D)$
RewriteRule ^/* http://www.domain.com/sorry.html [L]

Replace the A\.B\.C\.D with the IP address you want to block (don’t forget to leave the “\” before each dot, which escapes the character).

Block Specific User Agents

If you want to block a group of IP addresses using the same User Agent (bot), the following code with do it:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} UserAgent
RewriteRule .* - [F,L]

Just replace the “UserAgent” bit with whatever user agent you want to block. You can also block more than one at a time by replacing the top line in that code with something like this:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} UserAgentA [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} UserAgentB

You can put as many user agents in as you want, just make sure you end each line with [OR] (with the exception of the last line, of course).

Strip Query Strings

Let’s say all the pages on your site other than your home page are formatted as follows, with query strings instead of page names:

http://www.domain.com/home.html?example=12345abcd

Those aren’t very pretty, and on top of that, search engines will show a bunch of duplicated “home” pages. If you want to get rid of the query string in your page URLs, use the following code:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} example=
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.domain.com/$1? [R=301]

This not only gets rid of the query string, but also the preceding question mark.

Set up a Default Image

Using a default, backup image in case of broken images can make your site look more professional. Use the following code to redirect to a default image for any image whose file cannot be found.

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^images/.*\.jpg$ /images/default.jpg [L]

Of course, you can change the “.jpg” bit to whatever file type you’re using. Make sure you have an image called “default.jpg” or change that to whatever your default image filename is.

Prevent Hotlinking

The last thing most website owners want is other sites stealing their content or worse—hotlinking to their images and stealing their bandwidth. Here’s a simple bit of code that prevents it:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?domain.com/ .*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg|swf|flv|png)$ /feed/ [R=302,L]

Make sure you change the “domain.com” bit to your own domain name.

Redirect to a Maintenance Page

If you need to take your entire site offline for a bit and redirect to a maintenance page (or some other page), use the following code:

RedirectMatch 302 ^/ /maintenancepage.html

Change the “maintenancepage.html” bit to wherever your maintenance page file is located.

Redirect Multiple Domains to a Single Domain

If you have multiple domains pointing to your site, it’s possible you could take a hit in the search engines for having duplicate content. Use the following code to redirect visitors from two domains to just one:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.domain.net$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.net$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.domain.net$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://domain.net/$1 [R=301,L]

Remember the Filesystem Always Takes Precedence

The filesystem on your server will always take precedence over the rewritten URL. For example, if you have a directory named “services” and within that directory is a file called “design.html”, you can’t have the URL redirect to “http://domain.com/services”. What happens is that Apache goes into the “services” directory and doesn’t see the rewrite instructions.

To fix this, simply rename your directory (adding an underscore to the beginning or end is a simple way to do that).

Remember:

  • Because mod_rewrite works within the .htaccess file, commands are case sensitive.
  • Always back up your .htaccess file before making any changes to it. This way, if there’s a problem, you can easily restore your site.

More Resources:

Author: Cameron Chapman

Cameron Chapman is a writer, blogger, copyeditor, and social media addict. She’s been designing for more than six years and writing her whole life. If you’d like to connect with her, you can follow her on Twitter or at her Personal Website.

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Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Julien
Guest

Thanks. Those are always helpful.

yasser
Guest

Thanks alot for this article ..

we hope to see more from noupe & cameron ..

Jim Gaudet
Guest

Damn, how to not sound spammy.

Great list!

That didn’t work. Anyway, this was one worth saving and sharing..

Thanks,

Cory
Guest

Well, i guess my comment sounds spammy too :)

Cory
Guest

Just on time, thanks a lot for this great post :)

Paul Decowski
Guest

RedirectMatch is a mod_alias directive, not mod_rewrite (in Redirect to a Maintenance Page).

Daniel
Guest

I find it extremely ironic that you mention a rewrite for setting up default images (Quote: Using a default, backup image in case of broken images can make your site look more professional.) and yet down at the bottom of the page, under every comment, is a broken image…

Joltivan
Guest

thanks, I looking for this :)

Doug Bell
Guest

Great list, but you should be careful: Some of these things are better off not using mod_rewrite.

Redirect, Alias, and are also useful tools that are usually enabled by default.

Ahmed
Guest

the problem im facing in wordpress how ican add www in the url

prafuitu
Guest

This is what you are looking for:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain-name\.tld$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain-name.tld/$1 [R=301,L]

tintedPixel
Guest

How about a mod_rewrite Fix for Controlling updated files and Caches:

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^(GET|HEAD)\ /z/([a-z]+)/(.+)-([0-9]+)\.(js|css).*\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule .+ /z/%2/%3.%5 [NC,L]

or

Cache-Friendly File Names that allow you to update javascript and css files in my visitors cache’s simply by naming them differently in the html, on the server they stay the same name.

RewriteRule ^directory/(j|c)/([a-z]+)-([0-9]+)\.(js|css)$ /directory/$1/$2.$4 [L]

richard
Guest

thank you so much for this post! I have been meaning to consolidate my .com and .me domains, and strip the www. prefix — you’ve helped me do exactly that, and also disable hotlinking and add in maintenance page references for future use. Thanks again!!

John Moray
Guest

Remember to never put rewrite rules in .htaccess because they will be interpreted and compiled at each request, which is something neither you and your hosting service want.

prafuitu
Guest
* URLs are Always Relative – FALSE. URLs are relative to the current directory only if no RewriteBase directive is used, in which case the URLs become relative to the specified path. (http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/mod/mod_rewrite.html#rewritebase) Also, you can use absolute URLs by specifyng the protocol to be used. * …so visitors to your site don’t need to type in the “www” bit… – WRONG. That has nothing to do with making the “www” optional. It’s related to SEO, creating a single entry-point to your website by redirecting all your visitors (including search engines) to your “domain-name.tld”. This way, the search engines won’t… Read more »
prafuitu
Guest

I forgot this…

Let aside the fact that RedirectMatch is a mod_alias directive, not a mod_rewrite, there is no way your example would ever work, because any “maintenance” file name you would use, it would be matched by the given regex, resulting in a neverending redirect…

What you could use instead is:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !maintenance.html$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [R=302,NC,L]

However, this would also block users to access the images or css files, so you will have to add more RewriteConds to that set, making it look something like:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/css [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/images [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/js [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/maintenance.html$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [R=302,NC,L]

Bruce L
Guest

Thank you so much for this – exactly what I was looking for.

I’ve been searching for hours looking for how to allow the images to show on my outage page, realizing they were caught in a redirect loop.

iFlash
Guest

Can I get a contact Mr. Prafuitu?

derschreckliche
Guest

So this one will Block IE6, right?

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ‘MSIE6’
RewriteRule .* – [F,L]

superdit
Guest

oupp yes now i know to block IE6 thanks

Nick
Guest

Thanks for the article. I’m a mod-rewrite newbie struggling with an issue…

I have a current directory path:
http://www.mysite.com/blah/page.php?specialcode=123456

I want to redirect all attempts to blah/ to http://www.mysite.com/new/index.php?page=new-page&specialcode=123456 and want to retain the special code included in the initial URL.

I’ve essentially re-written a complete section of the site in a mini-MVC model and need to convert traffic going to the old pages to the new model. I can do this in PHP, but want to completely get rid of blah/ and never look at it again.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Nick

Nick
Guest

Thanks for the article. Im a mod-rewrite newbie struggling with an issue…

I have a current directory path:
http://www.mysite.com/blah/page.php?specialcode=123456

I want to redirect all attempts to blah/ to http://www.mysite.com/new/index.php?page=new-page&specialcode=123456 and want to retain the special code included in the initial URL.

I’ve essentially re-written a complete section of the site in a mini-MVC model and need to convert traffic going to the old pages to the new model. I can do this in PHP, but want to completely get rid of blah/ and never look at it again.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kaplang
Guest

thanks for the post, really useful stuff :)

hossein
Guest

hi
it was a good tutorial

i have an old problem with htaccess and i wonder if you could help me whith it. please please please please help

i want to do this with my htaccess
the role :

1 – users request a url like : test.mysite.com
2- apache should know show mysite.com/test

BUT idont want the user to see the second url in his/her addressbar can you help me?

thanks
if you had any thing to say please mail me and let me know . thanks again

Lit_Tiger
Guest

Thanks , Useful post

Asad
Guest

Hi,

suppose, there is a url
http://www.domain.com/asad
I want to redirect it to
http://www.domain.com/folder1/folder2/folder3/asad

Can any one help me, how is this possible,

Thanks

Asad

Dominica
Guest

Hi people

How do i hide every fileextensions like .php or .asp or .html etc
i want like this

from mydomain.com/send.php?t=abc&k=123 to
mydomain.com/send?t=abc&k=123

thanks

Anup
Guest

Thanks for these cool tips.

Jos
Guest

Excelente articulo, gracias. Muy buenos algunos para aplicar.

Mohit
Guest

Thanks a lot! very useful infomation.

Rich Bowen
Guest

Please don’t link to the 1.3 version of the mod_rewrite docs. Please instead link to http://httpd.apache.org/docs/trunk/rewrite

We’ve been working very hard to make them more accurate and more useful, and it’s very frustrating to find articles like this linking to the 1.3 docs which are significantly out of date.

Alberto Douglas
Guest

Thanks a lot! very useful infomation,was looking for a tutorial as simple as this.

Inception 2010
Guest

Hats off for the ingenius post. kudos!

Brett Widmann
Guest

Great set of tips and nice code! Thanks for sharing

Ajay
Guest

Thanks , thank u very much. its very easy to understand

Irvin Pumper
Guest

Evening i just came across your site from Google but got a strange popup about cat hospitals which is obviously not related to your site. Is this your ads or do i have a spyware issue? Thanks.

shohan
Guest

just,i was searching for this type of article..
mod rewrite is cool !! thanks writer !

Sourav
Guest

If i have a page like this “www.yoursite.com/game.php?id=123” and I want to show the url as “www.yoursite.com/game/123” what should I write? Can anyone email me?

There are several pages in this domain which I want same kind of redirection. Whats the method?

Faissal
Guest

@Sourav:
Here you go:
1) For Single URL
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on

RewriteRule game-id-(.*)\.php game.php?id=$1
Result: http://www.yoursite.com/game-id-123.php

2) For Directory Separated URL:
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on

RewriteRule game/id/(.*) game.php?id=$1
Result: http://www.yoursite.com/game/id/123/

3) For Comma Separated URL:
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on

RewriteRule game,(.*)\.php game.php?id=$1
Result: http://www.yoursite.com/game,123.php

I found a web site where you can generate rewrite commands (very limited though). more on http://rapid.searchmetrics.com/en/seo-tools/miscellaneous/url-rewrite,44.html

share your talent
Guest

I’ve truly appreciated reading your articles. You obviously know what you are talking about! Your internet site is so effortless to navigate as well, I’ve bookmarked it in my favourites :-D

Brian Norman
Guest

How do i redirect a request for http://my_server/cgi-bin/xxx
back to the requesters ip eg http://hackers_ip/cgi-bin/xxx
?

Mark
Guest

Thank you for this article, it really helped to stop an iPhone developer from harvesting the latest lottery numbers from our website at http://www.alottery.com each time a user accessed their app – up until now it has been eating almost 2Gb a month in bandwidth.
Keep up the good work, love the site!

Kaushik Biswas
Guest

I need a little help. Every day I find some visitors using Googlebot as their browser’s User Agent while visiting my site. I want to stop the fake Googlebots. How can I allow the real ones and keep out the fake ones? Is there any way to do this via htaccess?

Jatin
Guest

Few of the rules mentioned here are really cool. Thanks.

Anoir Hama
Guest

Helpful tutorial, thx for the explanation, by the way I’m stuck on redirecting Html/php sample pages with no DB to .Aspx/.pl/.do or any other extension :S

Example:
website.com/index.php or index.html
to: website.com/index.do or any other perfect extension
Please help me to rewrite rules on the file .htaccess

(!) You can also keep in touch with me or email me at: x.genius.y@gmail.com

sajin
Guest

Hai,

I wan a small help if you can

My site url is http://localhost.com/view/vendor?name=sajin

In this view is a Page
and vendor is a function inside the same page

i wan to rewrite the url to http://localhost.com/sajin

sajin will change dynamicall as its users name

muhammed sekertekin
Guest

wow very nice article it helps me a lot iam now removing all the query string in my website i was told it will help me rank in search engines muhammed sekertekin

Robert
Guest

I am trying to redirect
kategorier?uid=[number]
to
index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=[number]
but it does not work, what am i doing wrong?
RewriteRule kategorier\?uid=([0-9]+) index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=$1 [R=301,L]

Regards Robert

tyler
Guest

Unfortunately this did not help me with my issues. Thanks though

ahmadMarafa
Guest

thanks for your post , that’s really help
but how to avoid css,js and images dirs reWriten ?

thanks for help

Anon
Guest

Great resource! After weeks/months of trying to get some basic mod rewrite sources, this site gave me all the answers I needed. Thanks!

mrbi11
Guest

First and foremost, thanks for this. Helpful.

fyi More Resources: couple out of date links in there

Hari
Guest

i want to redirect 20 php urls to single url. iam using below command, Can any one confirm is it work or not?

RewriteRule ^/(korean/|portugues/|francais/|japanese/|deutsch/|italiano/|espanol/|chinese/|russian/)?main/piv\?.php /page.php?page_id=$1 [L,R=301]

Jamal
Guest

Is there a way to deny an entire tdl? For example if I want to deny anything coming from .ru (russia) domains , can this be don using deny rules or is this only possible with the actual IPs.

kunu
Guest

Hi Cameron Chapman,

My website is running under https and all pages are using https. But one iphone api url is need to use http.
I need to change https://xxxxxxxxx.com/system/miscellaneous/api url to use http rather than https.

Also if anyone will use http://xxxxxxxxx.com/system/miscellaneous/api url, it should not redirect to https.

My current .htaccess in DocumentRoot as follows.

RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule .* ./index.php

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} ^80$
RewriteRule .* https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [R,L]

Please help me. It is urgent.

Regards,
Kunu

robsku
Guest
Regarding hotlink-blocking, I wrote a PHP script to circumvent just this after writing a very nice review of a webpage on my stumbleupon page with IMG tag pointing to cool image on the page that I felt was likely to attract visitors to check that page considerably better than just my writing and ending up with my article blaming me, in very insulting and rude words, for being bandwidth stealing low-life scum using hotlinking for my benefit on his expense. It made me feel bad, for I was merely using his bandwidth to attract visitors to his site, and while… Read more »
riyon
Guest

Great tut.Always helpful to visit this iste

samsamX
Guest

Another nice snippet, to add “.html” at the end of all you url (and remove “/” if there’s one) :
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f
RewriteRule .* – [S=2]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/$ $1.html [L,R=301]
RewriteRule !\.html$ %{REQUEST_URI}.html [L,R=301]

Aaron
Guest

Thanks a lot, this surely helped me :D

Jerry
Guest

I always mess up the htaccess file. Thanks for these tips should definitely make me a better coder.

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