Lighttpd and wordpress setup clean SEO friendly URLs

last updated in Categories Howto, lighttpd
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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 (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 ( 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/"
server.errorlog = "/var/log/lighttpd/"
accesslog.filename = "/var/log/lighttpd/"
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 (
/home/lighttpd/blog2 (


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


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

12 comment

  1. 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.

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

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

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

    Thanks so much 🙂


  5. 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!

  6. 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

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

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