Clean URLs with Lighttpd

Last updated on
7 September 2016

This document explains how to configure clean URLs for Lighttpd. There are two ways to do so:

Using url rewrites

First you can use the following configuration for Lighty's mod_rewrite module:

url.rewrite-final = (
  "^/system/test/(.*)$" => "/index.php?q=system/test/$1",
  "^/([^.?]*)\?(.*)$" => "/index.php?q=$1&$2",
  "^/([^.?]*)$" => "/index.php?q=$1",
   "^/rss.xml" => "/index.php?q=rss.xml"

The first line ensures that Drupal's clean URL check (when saving Settings) succeeds (Drupal makes an HTTP request for a path of the form /system/test/yLgnwqqUu5cWnvPi4Hrz.png). It's a special case that must be handled separately (read on for the reason).

The two following lines let Drupal handle any URL that doesn't contain a dot. This is significant because we can assume, fairly confidently, that addresses like /node/add are Drupal URLs, but addresses such as /themes/bluemarine/style.css are physical files. So the above configuration will work for all cases where this assumption holds true; if there are exceptions to the rule, they can be manually added to the rewrite configuration.

The last line handles the important exception of rss.xml, a Drupal URL that contains a dot.

See also the related discussion at

Using mod magnet

Second you can use lighty's mod magnet module together with a simple lua scripts. Have a look at the tutorials or

This way has the advantage that there are no problems with dots.