I've recently changed scripting on my website, and this has resulted in a few 404 errors as some very old queries are no longer being redirected correctly.

I've been trying to create a rewrite rule to fix this, as it requires modifying the query string.

This is an example of a broken URI:


If I can rewrite the query string as so, the request will succeed:


So, with this in mind I have tried various rewrite rules in my .htaccess file, but have not been having any success. Amongst a few other variations, I have tried the following:

1st attempt

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.*)page/index.html(.*)$
RewriteRule /index.php /index.php?%1article.html%2 [L]

2nd attempt

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^/page/index.html/(.*)$
RewriteRule /index.php /index.php?/article.html/$1 [L]

3rd attempt

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^/page/index.html(.*)$
RewriteRule . /index.php?/article.html$1 [L]

It does appear to be matching the RewriteCond, so that's something, but the output never seems to get rewritten according to the RewriteRule.

Can anybody see where I'm going wrong? I think I've got to the point where I've been looking at it for too long and have become code blind.

1 Answer 1


You need to use %1 (not $1) in your "2nd attempt" (as you did in your 1st attempt) and it looks like you should be almost there (see below for explanation):

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^/page/index\.html/(.*)$
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ /index.php?/article.html/%1 [L]

If you're in .htaccess (or <Directory> section in server config) you need to also remove the slash prefix from the RewriteRule pattern. (This is part of the directory-prefix that is removed in per-directory rewrites.)

Literal dots should also be escaped in regex, otherwise they match any character.

%1 vs $1 back-reference

%1 is a back-reference to the first parenthesised sub pattern (ie. captured group) in the last matched RewriteCond directive.

Whereas $1 is a back-reference to the corresponding captured group in the RewriteRule pattern (ie. nothing in this case!).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.