I want to block someone using this dynamic URL:

REQUEST_URI = /%24%24%24%26%3f%26%3f%24%24%24?cmd=get_file&arg=images/wslogo_block_page.png&sid=3257F1B3D8C5432EB676D55891B428ED164A3561

There's a new IP each time, but the following part of the URL is always the same /%24%24%24%26%3f%26%3f%24%24%24?cmd=get_file&arg=images/wslogo_block_page.png&sid=.

The code below would work fine if it weren't for the ? in the URL (see the URL above), it screws everything up. I've tried to include the '?' in the rewrite rule below but that doesn't help.

 RewriteRule ^.*cmd=get_file.*$ - [F,L]

How do I deal with the ? (question mark) in these URLs so I can block them? Thanks.

  • Can you edit the question to better clarify what parts of the example URI you want to match and what parts do not change (i.e., the conditions really need to be clear).
    – dan
    Apr 22, 2017 at 4:17

2 Answers 2


The code below would work fine if it weren't for the ? in the URL...

The ? in the URL you posted marks the start of the query string. To match the query string you need to use the QUERY_STRING server variable in a mod_rewrite condition. (The RewriteRule pattern matches against the URL-path only - this excludes the query string.)

RewriteRule ^.*cmd=get_file.*$ - [F,L]

This looks like you are trying to block any request that simply contains cmd=get_file anywhere inside the query string. To do this, you would need something like the following:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} cmd=get_file
RewriteRule ^ - [F]

The L flag is not required. It is implied when you use the F flag. The regex cmd=get_file is the same as ^.*cmd=get_file.*$. If that is sufficient then stop there.

However, this is far more general than what you stated in the first part of your question:

...the following part of the URL is always the same /%24%24%24%26%3f%26%3f%24%24%24?cmd=get_file&arg=images/wslogo_block_page.png&sid=

In order to match this specific URL (ignoring any trailing query string parameters), you would need something like:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^cmd=get_file&arg=images/wslogo_block_page\.png&sid=
RewriteRule ^\$\$\$&\?&\?\$\$\$$ - [F]

The "complex" part of this is matching the URL-path (ie. /%24%24%24%26%3f%26%3f%24%24%24). The RewriteRule pattern matches against the %-decoded URL-path, which is /$$$&?&?$$$ (assuming the URL you posted earlier is not doubly encoded or anything). Confusingly, this also contains ? and other regex meta characters, so these must be backslash escaped in the regex that matches these literal characters.

Just an additional note if you are testing this on Microsoft Windows (as opposed to Linux)... The URL encoded ? (ie. %3f) in the URL-path will result in a system generated 403 Forbidden under Apache Windows before mod_rewrite/.htaccess is able to process the URL. This is because ? is not a permitted filename character under Windows (whereas $, & are "OK"). An error like the following is logged (if the appropriate debug level is set):

... [core:error] [pid 4576:tid 1756] (20025)The given path contained wildcard characters: [client] AH00036: access to /$$$&?&?$$$ failed (filesystem path 'D:/WWW/vhosts/example.com/public_html/$$$&?&?$$$')


OK, this seems to work. Thanks for your replies.

 RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} cmd=get_file [NC]
 RewriteRule .* https://example.com? [R=301,L]
  • However, this doesn't actually "block" the request. I'm curious, did the code in my answer not work? (If not, there might be a problem with how the ErrorDocument is declared?)
    – MrWhite
    Apr 22, 2017 at 15:33
  • w3dk, no, your code didn't work. The code I'm using redirects to my home page at present. The question mark all along, none of the other characters, was the problem. I didn't know how to deal with that. But this code handles that. Thanks for your help.
    – user77174
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:15
  • Sorry, I don't really see how "this code handles it" any differently to the example I posted? What exactly "didn't work" with my example? Did you get an error? Nothing?
    – MrWhite
    Apr 22, 2017 at 23:57
  • w3dk, with your code I still got a 404 as I recall. I entered this in the browser example.com/REQUEST_URI = /%24%24%24%26%3f%26%3f%24%24%24?cmd=get_file&arg=images/wslogo_block_page.png&sid=3257F1B3D8C5432EB676D55891B428ED164A3561 and got a 404 using your code. I entered the same URL with my code and it redirects to wherever I want it to go. I have since changed the redirect to another website.
    – user77174
    Apr 23, 2017 at 23:32
  • In the above reply I did not use /REQUEST_URI=. Only - example.com/%24%24%24%26%3f%26%3f%24%24%24?cmd=get_file&arg=images/wslo‌​go_block_page.png&si‌​d=3257F1B3D8C5432EB6‌​76D55891B428ED164A35‌​61
    – user77174
    Apr 23, 2017 at 23:41

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