2.11.9 User Guide

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Removing index.php from URLs

New in version 2.2: Official support, limited to the scope of the recommendations provided here, is now available for removing index.php from your URLs.

The index.php appears in your URLs because it is the file responsible for processing all requests to the system. In a URL such as, the template_group/template segments are simply information passed to index.php and do not refer to actual files or folders in the server’s filesystem.

Many servers support a technique called URL rewriting, which allows you to hide the index.php portion of the URL behind the scenes.


  • UNIX-based hosting
  • Apache 2.x or later with mod_rewrite installed and enabled
  • ExpressionEngine 2.2 or later

1. Create an .htaccess file

Using your FTP client, create a new file named .htaccess (including the leading dot) in the same folder as your site’s main index.php file.


Files beginning with a dot are hidden by default on some operating systems, including Mac OS X. Ensure your FTP client is set to show all files, including hidden ones.

Then add the following code to this newly created .htaccess file:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteBase /

        # Removes index.php from ExpressionEngine URLs
        RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^GET.*index\.php [NC]
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/system/.* [NC]
        RewriteRule (.*?)index\.php/*(.*) /$1$2 [R=301,NE,L]

        # Directs all EE web requests through the site index file
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
        RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php/$1 [L]


  • If your site’s system directory (/system/) has been renamed and is still accessible by URL, modify the RewriteCond line above:

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/newdirectoryname/.* [NC]
  • If you are running EE from a sub-directory rather from the root of your domain (e.g. instead of, just remove the slash preceding index.php in the RewriteRule line above, like so:

    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php/$1 [L]
  • If you are running EE from a sub-directory and it still doesn’t work after removing the slash, you may need to specify the sub-directory in your rewrite rule. For example, if your sub-folder is named testing, change:

    RewriteRule (.*?)index\.php/*(.*) /$1$2 [R=301,NE,L]


    RewriteRule (.*?)index\.php/*(.*) testing/$1$2 [R=301,NE,L]

    And change:

    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php/$1 [L]


    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ testing/index.php/$1 [L]
  • If your host requires forcing query strings, try adding a question mark following index.php in the RewriteRule line above, like so:

    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php?/$1 [L]
  • If your host is running PHP-FPM and you get a 503 Internal Server Error in the browser, and this error in your server error logs:

    Request exceeded the limit of 10 internal redirects due to probable configuration error.

    Your host may be running PHP through a Unix socket. To make sure your rewrites do not end up in an infinite loop you should add:

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/php-fpm/*

    If that does not work, check with your host on what Alias directive is defined in your Apache config, and replace php-fpm above with the correct alias.

2. Update General Configuration

In the Control Panel, go to Admin ‣ General Configuration, set Name of your site’s index page to blank (empty), and click Submit.

3. Test

Test your site’s links to ensure they are working properly with index.php removed.


If using Multiple Site Manager, you can repeat the above steps for each site, assuming each site has its own web root.

Some common problems include links returning 404s, a “No Input File Specified” error, or all links returning the same content. This can often be the case with hosts (such as GoDaddy) that require you to force query strings. If this happens, follow the exception above for hosts that force query strings.

If you encounter a problem, you can rename .htaccess to something else (it only takes effect when it is named .htaccess) and set Name of your site’s index page in the CP back to index.php.