Apache .htaccess RewriteRule Examples with PHP for Clean URLs

Our code for today will make your website URLs clean and attractive. Clean URLs are user and SEO friendly, it does not contain any query string like:

...page.php?param1=something&id=1111

Thus, giving our users and search engines (like Google) an idea what your link is all about once it was shared to social media or indexed by Google or Bing.

.htaccess rewriterule examples - first example is smashing magazine

We are going to use .htaccess (hypertext access) rewrite rules to achieve these clean URLs. The .htaccess file provide a directory level configuration that is supported by several web servers such as Apache.

Existing or Live Apache .htaccess Rewriterule Examples

Below are other example websites with clean URLs.

Of couse you know this blog, don't you?
Of couse you know this blog, don't you? :))
Chris' blog
Chris' blog
David’s blog
David’s blog

Four Apache .htaccess Rewriterule Examples

Our .htaccess and PHP files are placed in the "htaccess-clean-urls" folder.

.htaccess uses regular expressions to identify which PHP file will be loaded on the browser, based on the parameter(s) given.

We have 4 example codes below. Please note that "localhost" refers to "yoursite.com". I was using my local server when I did these examples so please keep it in mind.

URL with two parameters: letter and number

This URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/parameter_letter_and_number.php?param=post¶m2=143

Is equivalent to this clean URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/post/143

.htaccess code used:

RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)\/([0-9]+)\/?$ parameter_letter_and_number.php?param=$1¶m2=$2 [NC]

PHP page used: parameter_letter_and_number.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
        <title>Clean URL with .htaccess by https://codeofaninja.com/</title>
         
        </style>
    </head>
<body>
 
<h1>Parameter: Letter and Number ONLY. This is parameter_letter_and_number.php</h1>
<?php 
echo "PARAMETER VALUE 1: " . $_REQUEST['param'];
echo "<br />";
echo "PARAMETER VALUE 2: " . $_REQUEST['param2'];
?>
 
</body>
</html>

Output screenshot:

.htaccess RewriteRule Example - parameter and number

URL with one parameter: name of the PHP file

This URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/login.php
http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/register.php

Is equivalent to this clean URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/login/
http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/register/

.htaccess code used:

RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)\/?$ $1.php [NC]

PHP pages used:

login.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
        <title>login - Clean URL tutorial with .htaccess and PHP by https://codeofaninja.com/</title>
         
        </style>
    </head>
<body>
 
<h1>Login. This is login.php</h1>
 
</body>
</html>

register.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
        <title>register - Clean URL with .htaccess and PHP by https://codeofaninja.com/</title>
         
        </style>
    </head>
<body>
 
<h1>Register. This is register.php</h1>
 
</body>
</html>

Output Screenshots:

login page clean url
register page rewriterule example

URL with one parameter: numbers

This URL

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/parameter_number.php?param=5254

Is equivalent to this clean URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/5254/

.htaccess code used:

RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)\/?$ parameter_number.php?param=$1 [NC]

PHP page used: parameter_number.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
        <title>parameter is number - Clean URL with .htaccess and PHP by https://codeofaninja.com/</title>
         
        </style>
    </head>
<body>
 
<h1>Parameter: Number ONLY. This is parameter_number.php</h1>
<?php echo "PARAMETER VALUE: " . $_REQUEST['param']; ?>
 
</body>
</html>

Output Screenshot:

htaccess rewriterule number example

URL with one parameter: numbers with underscore

This URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/parameter_number_and_underscore.php?param=143_5254

Is equivalent to this clean URL:

http://localhost/htaccess-clean-urls/143_5254/

.htaccess code used:

RewriteRule ^([0-9_]+)\/?$ parameter_number_and_underscore.php?param=$1 [NC]

PHP page used: parameter_number_and_underscore.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
        <title>parameter is number and underscore- Clean URL with .htaccess and PHP by https://codeofaninja.com/</title>
         
        </style>
    </head>
<body>
 
<h1>Parameter: Number and Underscore ONLY. This is parameter_number_and_underscore.php</h1>
<?php echo "PARAMETER VALUE: " . $_REQUEST['param']; ?>
 
</body>
</html>

Output Screenshot:

htaccess rewriterule example - number and underscore

Complete .htaccess Code Used

The following codes are the ones we used in the examples above, put into one .htaccess file.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
 
    RewriteEngine on
 
    RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)\/([0-9]+)\/?$ parameter_letter_and_number.php?param=$1&param2=$2 [NC]
     
    RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)\/?$ $1.php [NC]
     
    RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)\/?$ parameter_number.php?param=$1 [NC]
     
    RewriteRule ^([0-9_]+)\/?$ parameter_number_and_underscore.php?param=$1 [NC]
     
</IfModule>

.htaccess RewriteRule Resources

If you want to learn more, here's a mod_rewrite or regex cheat sheet.
An In Depth Guide to mod_rewrite for Apache
Apache mod_rewrite

Download Source Code

You can download all the code used in this tutorial for only $9.99 $5.55!

If you have some questions or want to add more Apache .htaccess RewriteRule examples, please drop it in the comments section below! I will update this post once you did, thanks for your contribution!

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