I am trying to pass a variable from a URL to PHP using mod_rewrite while maintaining standard WordPress functionality.

Here's my mod_rewrite rules:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^(\w+)/$ /index.php?state=$1 [L]
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

When I go to this URL: http://epiclasers.com/arizona/

It is obviously being handled by index.php (because the theme is being loaded) and the state variable is being passed to PHP. but I am having trouble getting the home page content to be displayed - instead it is showing 404 "page not found" content.

Can someone shed some light as to why this is happening?


When I redirect using the R flag, it works as it should:

RewriteRule ^(\w+)/$ /index.php?state=$1 [R,L]

and the home page is served: http://epiclasers.com/?state=arizona

It seems that WP is grabbing the URL using $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] to process requests/queries - and WP is getting confused by the /arizona/ in the URL?

Let's just assume that mod_rewrite is functioning correctly. Does anyone know how to customize WordPress to ignore "/arizona/" in the URL?

2 Answers 2


I suppose you've forgotten the QSA directive, to add properly the query string:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^(\w+)/$ /index.php?state=$1 [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [QSA,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [QSA,L]

Tell me if it works, and if not, I'll do my best to answer.

Two hints:

Please try to use the RewriteLog directive: it helps you to track down such problems:

# Trace:
# (!) file gets big quickly, remove in prod environments:
RewriteLog "/web/logs/mywebsite.rewrite.log"
RewriteLogLevel 9
RewriteEngine On

My favorite tool to check for regexp:

http://www.quanetic.com/Regex (don't forget to choose ereg(POSIX) instead of preg(PCRE)!)

  • Hi Oliver. I tried that, but it didn't change anything. I am still getting a 404. The only query I am passing is the "state" one, and that is going through fine. I'm thinking this has something to do with the way WP processes requests/queries directly from the URL?
    – meeble
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 18:12
  • 1
    I've added my two usual hints. May I ask you to add the tracelog to your question as well? Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 18:35
  • Newer versions of mod_rewrite apparently use "LogLevel". I get internal server errors when I try to use any of those Mod_rewrite logging directives. this is from my error log: /home/epiclasers/epiclasers.com/.htaccess: LogLevel not allowed here
    – meeble
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 21:58
  • In your global config, make sure you have the directive for this directory "AllowOverride All". Then if you have "Options +FollowSymLinks" in your htaccess, comment it. Then restart your server. Note: this is temporary, only to use rewritelog file, don't forget to go back to the original state once you're done with the problem. Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 5:58
  • global config? This is just a virtual host - the only way I can configure anything is via .htaccess files. I already spoke with my web host and they do not allow mod_rewrite logging for virtual host clients. Again, I don't think there is any problem with mod_rewrite - it seems to be working exactly as it should.
    – meeble
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 7:51

Ok, I ended up figuring this out. Like I thought, the problem had nothing to do with mod_rewrite and everything to do with WordPress.

To solve the issue, I had to use the following code:

if(isset($_GET['state'])) {
$url = explode("/", $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']);
$url = end($url);
$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] = "/" . $url;

This code in essence removes the "/arizona/" from the REQUEST_URI global and replaces it with "/", which then forces WP to serve up the front page template from the index.php file. Fixed!

Perhaps a few of you can vote this answer up for me. :)

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