Support » Fixing WordPress » mod_rewrite essential?

  • I was wondering if mod_rewrite is an integral part of WP.. is it possible to use WP in totality without mod_rewrite as I don’t want to password protect pages or directories?

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  • Mark (podz)


    Support Maven

    mod_rewrite is not essential.
    mod_rewrite has nothing to do with password protection.

    I don’t want to password protect pages or directories?

    Just because you use mod_rewrite doesn’t imply password protecting pages or directories. You can in an .htaccess but you certainly don’t have to.

    so since my host doesnt support mod_rewrite and I am installing WP on my server, what limitation am I going to face on account of not having mod_rewrite enabled?

    You are not going to be able to use the peramlink feature of WP which allows for ‘nice’ URLs to your posts.

    Rather, posts links will take the shape of <[post-id]>

    Most visitors to your site are not going to care, but having permalinks enabled will make your posts links appear as:



    So posts links will take the shape of <[post-id]> ….. but would it be possible to link directly to these links .. I mean can one link to my posts even if it takes this shape?


    That’s what the link to my most recent entry looks like, because I’ve never understood mod-rewrite. People link to my entries, and it’s not a problem.

    Yep, absolutely. Permalink URLs make your links easier to understand and navigate. But the real advantage is that they never need to change. Even if you switch from WordPress to MovableType to Textpattern your link (and everyone’s bookmark to that article) will stay the same. Without permalinks you can’t guarantee that. But if that’s not a problem then don’t worry about it,[post-id] will link/bookmark/etc just fine.

    well its linkable… but then I guess you will lose out on search engine placement… for your keywords will not be indexed by the spiders

    That’s definitely a downside, but I’ve searched mod_rewrite here in the forums for issues others have had, and since I don’t know what Apache is, or what .htaccess. is or what mod-rewrite even is, it’s a better safe than broken thing for me.

    I love WordPress, but it’s very, very hard for some of us “point the mouse and click” kind of people–it’s a foreign language to me. So when I have a problem, and I search for the solution here, it’s kind of like matching a French phrase to a French phrase. I don’t actually know what it means.

    Search engine placement matters to me, though, so thanks for pointing that out. I’ll have to look into it.

    I’ll give you my explanation of what this stuff is, and it won’t be technical, because I couldn’t create a rewrite rule if my life depended upon it.

    Think of a web server as a car. In order to make the car do something, it needs an engine. Apache is web server software that is basically the engine for our virtual car. Looking at a car’s engine, we see lots of “must-have” things, like a fuel system and cooling system. However, some cars engines have some addons like a turbocharger to enhance the power and functionality of the engine. Apache, our web server engine, has “must-have” things, and it also has the ability to addon some “nice-to-have” things. Mod_Rewrite is one such addon. Its purpose is to take a set of rules that are supplied by the web owner, and use those rules to process and present links to content within the site.

    As you have seen above, the module takes these more complex and less-friendly links and converts them into something that is more people and search-engine friendly, among other benefits. Now, how does mod_rewrite do this? Where does it get its instructions to do these changes? Part of it is in the very complex code of the software module itself, but the actual “instructions” on how YOU want the links presented are stored in the .htaccess file.

    In WordPress, you can go into the admin panel and have WordPress generate the rewrite rules for you. Then you copy and paste those rewrite rules into the .htaccess file, which lives in the root of your site. Mod_rewrite is smart in that it knows that it must look in the .htaccess file for the rules it needs to generate the friendly URLs for your articles. Or, even easier, you can allow WordPress to update your .htaccess file for you, but more on that later.

    I hope this helps you a bit with the general concept. You truly need not try to understand every detail and fine point of all of this in order to realise the benefits.

    What you must learn is how to create a .htaccess file and how to get WordPress to generate the necessary permalink rules for you. You could also learn how to make the .htaccess file “writable” so that WordPress can update the file with a click of your mouse button. These things are easy to learn and remember. Once you have that down, the rest is all gravy.

    Thank you so much. (Cars, I do know.)

    I figured out how to do the chmod thing (YAY!), but I can’t find my htaccess file, and I try not to mess with the WP files when I’m this tired. And hostica has the absolute worst support boards, so I’m still having trouble finding out about this mod_rewrite thing. (Thank goodness for you guys, or I’d have been looking for a high bridge over a shallow river a month ago.)

    Tomorrow I’ll figure this out.

    Thanks again.

    It’s me again. The only thing I can find in running around my hostica account is ModLogAn, which is shut off. Is that the same as mod_rewrite?

    Thank you for being so patient with my dumb questions. 🙂

    Shannon, that particular program is just a logfile analyzer that tells you about the traffic visiting your website and allows programs wuch Webalizer to create pretty graphs for you.

    Mod_rewrite is a part of the Apache software, this is something that your webhost will have to setup for you, not something you can do yourself ( in most cases ).

    So contact your webhost and ask them to enable/add mod_rewrite capability or have them tell you whether it’s already enabled.


    The easiest way to find out about the mod_rewrite is to create a file thas has this line in it:
    <?php phpinfo(); ?>
    save it as info.php – upload to your server’s root and open it in your browser (
    You should see a long page with all kind of info, csroll down till you see the Apache section and check the “loaded modules”. It should look something like this.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)
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