URL Rewrite Examples

Rewrite Right - Flickr PhotoOne of the most common Webmaster task is to use mod_rewrite Apache module.  It’s a flexible and efficient way to redirect URLs.  It is useful to redirect non-functional URLs, moving domain names or renaming directories.

Below is a list of some of the frequently used mod_rewrites.

Note the [R=301] entries for 301 Permanent Redirect directive on the rules.  It’s a popular use to preserve SEO rankings of an older site that has been moved to a new one.

Simple redirect:

RewriteRule ^/sub/dir/home.html$ /sub/dir2/page.html [R=301,L]

Redirect http://domain.com to http://www.domain.com.  This is especially useful for an SSL certificate that’s already registered to www.domain.com name.  Note, the rule captures the query string and redirects with it:

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

To capture more than one variables in the query string, use the following.

RewriteRule ^([^/]*)/([^/]*)/([^/]*)$  /sub/program.jsp?arg1=$1&arg2=$2&arg3=$3 [L]

For redirects based on the URL’s query string, use QUERY_STRING to capture it for comparison.  Note the destination URL may use spaces if enclosed in quotes.

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^id=2234$
RewriteRule ^/sub/dir/product.html$ “/sub/dir3/description.html?prodid=vac pro” [L,R=301]

Redirects can also be conditional.  For example, redirect everything except with a certain keyword.

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/sub/dir/important.html$
RewriteRule ^/sub/dir/.*$ /main/dir/home.html [L,R=301]

With the above rule, it’s possible the original URL may have a query string.  To get rid of it, just add “?” to the end of target RewriteRule. For example:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/sub/dir/important.html$
RewriteRule ^/sub/dir/.*$ /main/dir/home.html? [L,R=301]

There are more examples out there.  Writing a comprehensive mod_rewrite guide is a full time job, so this list will continue to grow.  Here are some other useful references:

Photo Credit: Luke Seeley


  1. Anyone Mod Rewrite Expert care to tackle this one?

    I want to have http://example.com/thisTopic rewrite to

    where the folders t, h, and i are the first 3 letters of thisTopic (and will vary depending on the topic).

    Is this possible, and what would the Apache ModRewrite statement look like?

    Please, oh Mod Rewrite Gods and Goddesses, help!

  2. Author

    I have the example in the post above. So in your case, it’ll look something like this:

    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^title=digitaltv$
    RewriteRule ^/product.do$ /product/digitaltv [L,R=301]

  3. Hi ,
    i need to rewrite the url by appending the country name and language to it. I m using struts 2 framework , opencms and jboss server. If the request url is “\.home.action” then after the struts action mapping, the response url must be like “\US\EN\home.action” . Is it possible to achieve it through jboss rewrite ?.

  4. Author


    I would try:

    RewriteRule ^/\.(.*)$ /US/EN/$1 [L]

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