What is Rewriterule ^index\.php$ – [L] in WordPress?

The RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L] is a part of WordPress’s default .htaccess file and it’s associated with URL rewriting rules provided by the Apache web server’s mod_rewrite module.

Let’s break it down to understand it better:

  1. RewriteRule: This is the directive provided by Apache’s mod_rewrite module. It is used to rewrite requested URLs based on regular expression matches.
  2. ^index.php$: This is a regular expression that matches the URL pattern. The ^ denotes the start of a line, index\.php matches ‘index.php’, and the $ denotes the end of the line. So this pattern matches any URL that is exactly ‘index.php’ and nothing else.
  3. : This is the substitution part of the RewriteRule. In this case, the dash (-) indicates that no substitution should be made when the rule matches. This means if the URL is ‘index.php’, it should remain ‘index.php’.
  4. [L]: This is a flag associated with the RewriteRule. The L flag tells Apache that if this rule matches, don’t process any more RewriteRules below this one for the current URL. Essentially, it’s saying this is the “Last” rule that needs to be processed for matching URLs.

In the context of WordPress, this line is used to ensure that if the requested URL is exactly ‘index.php’, then no more rules should be processed. This might seem strange, because WordPress uses ‘index.php’ as the entry point for almost every request, but this rule is essentially a safety measure.

If a request explicitly for ‘index.php’ comes in, WordPress doesn’t want the URL to be processed by any of the rules below that are intended to beautify or “prettify” URLs. This can prevent unnecessary URL rewriting and possible errors when the request is intended directly for ‘index.php’.

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