How can I redirect and rewrite my URLs with an .htaccess file?

Creating an .htaccess file on your DreamHost web server

View the following article for instructions on how to create an .htaccess file on your web server:

If the file already exists, view the following articles for instructions on how to update it (depending on if you're using an FTP client or SSH):

Redirecting a URL

Using Redirect in an .htaccess file enables you to redirect users from an old page to a new page without having to keep the old page. For example, if you use index.html as your index file and then later rename index.html to home.html, you could set up a redirect to send users from index.html to home.html. For example:

Redirect /path/to/old/file/old.html http://www.example.com/new/file/new.html

The first path to the old file must be a local UNIX path, NOT the full path. So, if the .htaccess file is in the directory /example.com, you would not include /home/exampleuser/example.com in the local UNIX path. The first / represents the example.com directory. If the old file was in that directory, you would follow the / with the old file name.

The second path to the new file can be a local UNIX path, but can also be a full URL to link to a page on a different server or the same server. Here are a few examples of some redirects:

Redirect /index.html /new/
Redirect /index.html /default.html
Redirect /private/ http://www.example.com/private/
Redirect /img/logo.gif http://www.example.com/images/logo.gif

Another form of redirection uses the RedirectMatch command:

RedirectMatch "^/oldfile\.html/?$" "http://example.com/newfile.php"

You can also redirect 404 errors. Instead of throwing a 404 page, this redirects to the homepage of the website.

ErrorDocument 404 http://example.com/

Redirect non-existing pages to index.php

If a visitor attempts to access a page that doesn't exist, they are presented with a 404 error. You can instead redirect any request to a non-existing page to your index.php file (or any index file) by adding the following code in your .htaccess:

Options +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch 
RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f 
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

If your index page isn't index.php, just change the last line to your actual index file. Then the visitor is redirected back to your home page.

Automatically loading a subdirectory

This example redirects the ROOT domain's URL to any subdirectory. In this example, it automatically loads example.com/subdir1:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^$ /subdir1/ [L]

Forcing www in the URL

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

Removing www in the URL

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

Redirecting a file to Google Translate

The following redirects any file ending with -fr, -de, -es, and so on to translate.google.com for that language. For example, create a file named example.html-fr. Then, create a file named example.html with the content you wish to display. When the visitor loads example.html-fr, it redirects to Google which translates the content of example.html. The following code redirects that file to Google to translate:

Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^(.*)-(fr|de|es|it|pt)$ http://www.google.com/translate_c?hl=$2&sl=en&u=http://example.com/$1 [R,NC]

Rewriting a URL

This example rewrites a URL to another URL. This rewrites example.com/1.html to example.com/abc.php?id=1

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^([0-9]+).html /abc.php?id=$1 [QSA,L]

The following explains the rules above:

([0-9]+)
allows any digit, and only any digit, 1 or more times.
([a-z-]*)
allows any lowercase letter, plus “-” for word separation, 0 or more times. If you want it to support uppercase too, use “([a-zA-Z-]*) RewriteRule ^place/([a-zA-Z-]*).html /place/abc.php?id=$1 [QSA,L]
[QSA,L]
appends this to your internal scripting query string, and makes it the Last rewrite rule executed.

After using this method, you can retrieve the webpage with either address type. This is handy for retro-fitting a website that was not designed with mod_rewrite in mind. This is good because it does not destroy any bookmarks saved on users computers.

View the following link for more information and examples about mod-rewrite:

Rewriting non-existing links to index.php

The following redirects all links to files or folders that do not exist to index.php. However, if the file or directory does exist, it loads normally:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>

Redirect HTTP to HTTPS for your site

View the following article for instructions on how to force your site to load HTTPS:

See also

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