Enabling Nginx mod_rewrite

I just moved a Wordpress blog on a new droplet hosting account. Previously the hosting was on Apache, now is on Nginx. I have a problem that now Wordpress pretty links (post-name) are not working and I think the problem comes from the fact that mod)rewrite is not enabled.

Till now I had it in htaccess like

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c> RewriteEngine On RewriteBase / RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d RewriteRule . /index.php [L] </IfModule>

How can I implement this in Nginx and where specifically? I am a complete beginner.

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January 31, 2024
Pinned Answer

In Nginx, there is no direct equivalent of Apache’s mod_rewrite module because Nginx uses a different approach for handling URL rewriting and redirection. In Nginx, you typically use the location block and the rewrite directive to achieve URL rewriting and redirection tasks. Here’s how to enable and use URL rewriting in Nginx:

Configure URL Rewriting:

To configure URL rewriting in Nginx, use the location block with the rewrite directive inside your server block. For example, to rewrite requests from one URL to another, you can use:

server {
    listen 80;

    location /old-url {
        rewrite ^/old-url(.*)$ /new-url$1 permanent;

    # ... other server configuration ...
  1. In the above example, requests to /old-url will be permanently redirected to /new-url.

  2. Test Configuration and Reload Nginx:

    Before applying the changes, test the Nginx configuration to ensure there are no syntax errors:

sudo nginx -t
If the test is successful, reload Nginx to apply the changes:
sudo systemctl reload nginx
Now, Nginx should be configured to handle URL rewriting based on the rules you've defined.

Remember to adapt the configuration to your specific needs, and consult the Nginx documentation for more advanced URL rewriting and redirection scenarios. Nginx’s approach to rewriting is more flexible and powerful than Apache’s mod_rewrite, but it may require a different mindset and syntax.

Nginx does not support .htaccess files.

On CentOS Nginx stores virtual host files in /etc/nginx/conf.d. I assume you’re using the default.conf file. So edit this file and find the following:

    location / {
        root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
        index  index.html index.htm;

and make the following change:

    location / {
        root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
        index  index.html index.htm;
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

Save the file and reload Nginx:

sudo service nginx reload

In your site’s server block add /index.php?$args; to try_files so that you get something like this:

try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

Then go into your Wordpress settings and re-enable pretty permalinks.

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