RewriteRule is the main directive (heart) of mod_rewrite.



The directive consists of three arguments, separated by a space:

RewriteRule pattern substitution [flags]

The third argument (flags) is optional. Let's go now into the details for each argument.


The pattern (rule search-pattern, rule-pattern) is a defined regular expression (RegEx) to match against the URI-path (in per-dir context local filepath) of the current request. That is, everything after http://hostname, and not including any query string arguments. (For examples of how to deal with the query string, see the discussion of the RewriteCond directive.)

You must define a RegEx to say "if the URI looks like this, apply the substitution".

To negate the result of the RegEx, prefix the RegEx with an exclamation mark.

RewriteRule !regex substitution [flags]


The substitution (sometimes called target) is a string to replace the current filename with it. So it's the location you want rewrite to. The syntax of the substitution depends upon in which context you're using the RewriteRule.

Once you have set the substitution value, the RewriteRule says "if the requested URI looks like this (pattern) go here (substitution) instead."

per-server context:

per-dir context:


see RewriteFlags

Order of processing

Consider the following snippet:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond b =b
RewriteCond c =c
RewriteRule ^/a$  /b

A wrong assumption is that the conditions are processed before the pattern of the RewriteRule. But this is wrong. The processing order is as follows:


# rewriting a request starting with /a to /b and last rule
RewriteRule ^/a  /b [L]

# rewriting e.g. /user.html --> /user.php
RewriteRule ^/([^./]+)\.html$ /$1.php [L]

# matching every request, do nothing (no substitution) and set ENV myenv with the value 1
RewriteRule ^ - [E=myenv:1]

RewriteRule (last edited 2011-04-21 21:20:11 by rrcs-67-53-65-186)