Clean URLs with Apache 2 on Debian

Last updated on
8 August 2016

Note: This article needs to be updated for Debian "Etch" and "Lenny" releases. (as of March 2009)

If you're running Apache 2 on Debian stable, in order to install the rewrite module you simply need to:

# a2enmod rewrite

then restart the webserver:

# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

then edit either /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/drupal or to your .htaccess and ensure it looks something like this:

#
# Apache/PHP/site settings:
#

# Protect files and directories from prying eyes:
<Files ~ "(\.(conf|inc|module|pl|sh|sql|theme|engine|xtmpl)|Entries|Repositories|Root|scripts|updates)$">
  order deny,allow
  deny from all
</Files>

# Set some options
Options -Indexes
Options +FollowSymLinks

# Customized server error messages:
ErrorDocument 404 /index.php

# Set the default handler to index.php:
DirectoryIndex index.php

# Overload PHP variables:
<IfModule sapi_apache2.c>
   # If you are using Apache 2, you have to use <IfModule sapi_apache2.c>
   # instead of <IfModule mod_php4.c>.
   php_value register_globals        0
   php_value track_vars              1
   php_value short_open_tag          1
   php_value magic_quotes_gpc        0
   php_value magic_quotes_runtime    0
   php_value magic_quotes_sybase     0
   php_value arg_separator.output    "&amp;"
   php_value session.cache_expire    200000
   php_value session.gc_maxlifetime  200000
   php_value session.cookie_lifetime 2000000
   php_value session.auto_start      0
   php_value session.save_handler    user
   php_value session.cache_limiter   none
   php_value allow_call_time_pass_reference  On
</IfModule>

# Various rewrite rules
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine on
  Options All

  # Modify the RewriteBase if you are using Drupal in a subdirectory and the
  # rewrite rules are not working properly:
  RewriteBase /drupal

  # Rewrite old-style URLS of the form 'node.php?id=x':
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
  RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^id=([^&]+)$
  RewriteRule node.php index.php?q=node/view/%1 [L]

  # Rewrite old-style URLs of the form 'module.php?mod=x':
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
  RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^mod=([^&]+)$
  RewriteRule module.php index.php?q=%1 [L]

  # Rewrite URLs of the form 'index.php?q=x':
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
  RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?q=$1 [L,QSA]
</IfModule>

# $Id: .htaccess,v 1.58 2004/10/09 20:41:49 dries Exp $

This is because the debian package installs the drupal "sites-enabled" virtual host, result being that drupal is accessed from http://example.com/drupal, hence the need to uncomment RewriteBase. Change it to the base that corresponds to your system.

ref: http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/136
http://drupal.org/node/14322

--
Sean K. O'Brien
CTO
Colley Graphics, LLC
http://www.colleygraphics.com