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I set up Wordpress as a multisite and as part of the steps, it gave some instruction to update and replace the .htaccess file.

Wordpress instructed me to replace the htaccess with this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^wp-admin$ wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule ^(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $1 [L]
RewriteRule ^(.*\.php)$ $1 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

However this caused some jquery on a plugin to break.

I thought it might be useful, but could someone help provide some insight into what each of these lines does?

In particular this line:

RewriteRule ^(.*\.php)$ $1 [L]

As, if I remove this line, my plugin works fine.

Thanks in advance :)

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Is this a plugin that you wrote? A public one in the Repository? Or a premium one? – brasofilo Feb 11 '13 at 19:25

2 Answers 2

RewriteRule ^wp-admin$ wp-admin/ [R=301,L]
Redirects http://yourdomain.ext/wp-admin to http://yourdomain.ext/wp-admin/

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
Conditional logic, check if the requested filename is not a existing file (-f) or directory (-d).

RewriteRule ^(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $1 [L]
Redirect wp-content.ext, wp-admin.ext and wp-includes.ext to the file itself, whether this file exists or not.

RewriteRule ^(.*\.php)$ $1 [L]
Redirect any .php file to that file, whether the file exists or not.

RewriteRule . index.php [L]
Redirect everything to index.php.

Basically, the .htaccess redirects every requested file to that particular file, and every directory to index.php.

Read over the detailed mod_rewrite documentation for the details of how the rewrite engine works.

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Regarding the RewriteCond - It's my understanding that the -f [OR] -d will match if the file or directory does exist. The RewriteRule on the subsequent line (RewriteRule ^ - [L]) would fire (^ matches any URI) and terminate re-insertion of the URI to the engine (- means no substitution and [L] meaning this is the last rule to be applied on this iteration). – KenB Jan 8 at 18:17

I've been looking for details on why that line is suggested for a multisite install using subdomains as well. I actually question if both of these are relevant for a subdomain install:

RewriteRule ^(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $1 [L]
RewriteRule ^(.*\.php)$ $1 [L]

In a sub-directory install the rules are setup slightly different to strip the sub-directory name from the request to be something like:

RewriteRule  ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
RewriteRule  ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*\.php)$ $2 [L]

I'm seeing a redirect loop in my error logs and it's caused by the first version of these rules since the replacement text is identical to the original text. I found some evidence that some versions of mod_rewrite will detect that the original and new text are the same and skip the re-insertion of the result. (Not sure which of the many links I've been reading at this point.)

I see no value in rewriting a URI to be identical to original and thus causing the link to be reinserted into the rewrite engine. With the rules removed I get the expected 404 page instead of a redirection loop that ends in a 500 server error when the redirection limit is exceeded.

Separate note, I think that the suggested sub-directory version is also broken. Because it uses ? for the sub-directory portion, it will loop on an input URL like no-such-file.php. Matching on the sub-directory portion should not allow for zero copies so the rule should likely be:

 RewriteRule  ^[_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $1 [L]
 RewriteRule  ^[_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/(.*\.php)$ $1 [L]

A similar conclusion is found here:

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I think that the suspect rewrite rules may exist to handle multi-site installations served from the site root, but physically located in a subdirectory (i.e. accessed transparently from If RewriteBase is anything other than /, then the rewrite engine will be using the apparently redundant rules to perform significant rewrites. I haven't confirmed this, though - still it's strange that WordPress might suggest these patterns in non-subdirectory WordPress installations. – bosco Sep 12 at 4:04

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