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Lighttpd and wordpress setup clean SEO friendly URLs

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By default WordPress uses web URIs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them; however WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URI structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links.

Apache has .htaccess file to setup clean SEO friendly URLs using mod_rewrite module. Similarly. Lighttpd can be use mod_rewrite for writing out clean SEO friendly URLs.

Task: Single wordpress blog (documentroot) and SEO URLS

Let us assume that your blog is hosted at http://theos.in (i.e. no subdirectory) and your want pretty urls.

=> Login to your wordpress admin account

=> Go to Options > PermaLinks

=> Now select URL structure as per your need.
For example Date and name based Permalink Structure should be set as follows (remove the default /index.php/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/):

=> Click on Update Permalink structure button to save the changes.

=> Now open your lighttpd configuration file
# vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

=> Locate your virtual hosting configuration for your domain (theos.in) and aftter server.document-root add following line:
server.error-handler-404 = "/index.php?error=404"

At the end your configuration should look as follows:
$SERVER["socket"] == "203.xx.xx.xx:80" {
server.document-root = "/home/lighttpd/theos.in/http"
server.errorlog = "/var/log/lighttpd/theos.in/error.log"
accesslog.filename = "/var/log/lighttpd/theos.in/access.log"
server.error-handler-404 = "/index.php?error=404"

Save and close the file. Restart lighttpd:
# /etc/init.d/lighttpd

Task: Multiple wordpress blogs single documentroot and SEO URLS

Let us assume that you have multiple blogs hosted under single document root called /home/lighttpd/ as follows:
/home/lighttpd/blog1 (http://theos.in/blog1)
/home/lighttpd/blog2 (http://theos.in/blog1)


First, Login to both blogs and setup Permalink structure as per your requirements. Open /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf file:
# vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

Find your domains configuration section and append lines as follows:
$HTTP["url"] =~ "^/blog1($|/)" { server.error-handler-404 = "/blog1/index.php?error=404" }
$HTTP["url"] =~ "^/blog2($|/)" { server.error-handler-404 = "/blog2/index.php?error=404" }

Save and close the file. Restart lighttpd:
# /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • ali April 12, 2007, 12:39 pm

    It was really surprising to see that the only necessary step to take was to address the 404, definitely much easier than Apache :)

    Thank you for the tip.

  • BOK April 29, 2008, 7:14 pm

    Indeed amazingly simple!
    I spent an hour or more on multiple line configs while this was all that was needed… Thanks!

  • nixCraft April 29, 2008, 11:18 pm

    Please make sure you have 404.php in template directory to send 404 stats when you got actual error 404.

  • Rick May 24, 2009, 3:05 am

    Very userful!

  • rbtok July 1, 2009, 7:28 pm

    finally i found the simplest and useful way to solve this problem

    thanks pal!

  • Calvin September 17, 2009, 7:27 pm

    I had spent hours trying to get the permalinks working, this did the job in under 2 minutes.

    Thanks so much :-)


  • @sinergepress November 29, 2009, 9:50 am

    Thanks, solved the problem pretty neatly! Cheers

  • This January 6, 2010, 6:16 pm

    As a webdesigner myself , I’m extremely glad to see that another individual thought to post this topic.

    Quite a few people out there just don’t grasp the concept of what all is needed in this industry, and I think also we are many times underrated
    or taken for granted. Never the less I’m immensely glad to see that you may feel the same way I do , thanks so much for your blog!

  • Miguel June 30, 2011, 9:55 pm

    thank you very much, i TRIED others tutos before for multiple blogs and didnt worked for me, your in forst try get up and running

  • fred November 22, 2012, 4:21 pm

    Thank You! This worked for me after hours of searching and trial and error with rewrite rules. Beautifully simple!

  • Carl July 29, 2013, 7:30 pm

    This worked for me on latest wordpress:

    server.error-handler-404 = “/index.php”

  • Fernando October 30, 2015, 12:47 pm

    Excellent, you save my day! :)
    Thank you!

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