How to use Apache mod_rewrite

Posted on Saturday September 24, 2011 / by Eric Potvin

Apache mod_rewrite make your website well organized and can significantly reduce your code. It is also known to be the SEO best friend or the guru of URL manipulation. In this article, you will learn the basics of mod_rewrite, how to use it and where to use it to maximize your Web Site usability.

When to use Apache mod_rewrite:

Make sure "mod_rewrite" is installed.

RewriteCond Operators / Patterns

RewriteCond Flags

RewriteRule Flags

Regular Expressions




Escape Special Characters


All examples below will work if you enable the mod Rewrite engine:

RewriteEngine On

You can also set a base location if you need:

RewriteBase /
RewriteCond -f: if is a file
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
RewriteCond for a User Agent
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^FireFox
Redirect a specific link to a specific file
RewriteRule ^about(/?)$ /page/about.php [NC,QSA,L]
Redirect a dynamic link to a specific file
RewriteRule ^([a-z0-9\-]+)(/?)$ index.php?page=$1 [NC,QSA,L]
Redirect a dynamic link (width sub folders) to a specific file
RewriteRule ^([a-z\-]+)/([a-z0-9\-]+)$ index.php?category=$1&subcategory=$2 [NC,QSA,L]
Execute a site search
RewriteRule ^search/([a-z0-9\-\+]+)(/?)$ index.php?q=$1 [NC,QSA,L]
Redirect an image to another folder
RewriteRule ^wallpaper/(.*)\.(jpg|png|jpeg|gif)$ /images/$1.$2 [L]
Disabled user to access directly to the files folder
RewriteRule ^files(/?)$ - [F]
Redirect a subfolder to a folder
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^user\.domain\.com$
RewriteRule ^/(.*)$1 [R=301,L]
Redirect to a file except specific files
RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !\/(login|register)\.php [NC]
RewriteRule ^([a-z0-9\-]+)$ index.php?title=$1 [NC,QSA,L]
Redirect non www to a www domain
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^ [NC]
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]
Check if a www domain is used
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.domain\.com$
RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)(/?)$ index.php?usewww=1 [NC,QSA,L]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com$
RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)(/?)$ index.php?usewww=0 [NC,QSA,L]
Redirect to a mobile site
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} "mobile|windows ce|blackberry|smartphone|iphone|android" [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R]
Set variable
SetEnvIf Host ^www\. page=www
SetEnvIf Host ^m\. page=mobile
rewriterule ^.*$ index.php?subdomain=%{ENV:page} [QSA,L]
Block bad bots
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Wget" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^EmailSiphon" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^EmailWolf" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^libwww-perl" bad_bot
Deny from env=bad_bot
Language redirect
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^([a-z]{2})\.domain\.com$  [NC]
RewriteCond %1 !^www$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ php.php?lang=%1 [NC,QSA,L]
Ignoring CSS files
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^.*\.css.*$ [NC]
Redirect specific type of files
RewriteRule ^([a-z0-9\-_\.]+)\.(pdf|doc|ppt|zip|gif|jpg|png|wma)$ /media/$1.$2 [NC,L]