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Simple(?) Rewrite rule for PHP website navigation ie "domain.com/artists" instead of "domain.com/index.php?n=3"

I have a ton of websites that are driven by a mysql table for the nav, structured so that every page references the index.php, which includes a content page based on the nav variable passed in.  So if a website has three sections like "artists", "news", and "publications", a nav table holds

nav_id ; nav_name
1 ; arists
2 ; news
3 ; publications

and the URLS look like:

http://www.domain.com/index.php?n=1
http://www.domain.com/index.php?n=2
http://www.domain.com/index.php?n=3

How hard is it to use a rewrite rule so that I don't have to change CODE, and these sites can still work this way, but the the pages could be called up with

http://www.domain.com/artists
http://www.domain.com/news
http://www.domain.com/publications

And the URL STICK on that (ie not meta refresh to index.php?n=1 etc..)?

This has become more important obviously with search engine optimization, but obviously I'm looking for the simplest way to upgrade legacy sites.

 - I hear rewrite rules can be incredibly complicated.  Since my structure is so consistent accross so many sites, can someone give me an idea of how "simple" my situation is?  What's the easiest way for me to learn how to do this - can someone point me in the right direction?  Linux redhat apache cpanel php/mysql environment

 - BTW is this actually that important to search engine optimization or is it just an aesthetic / user friendly thing?

 - I do sometimes have subnavigation, so there are two navigation variables, requiring two directories like /news/archived and news/current or something to that effect..

Thanks for any help - basically I'm very familiar with php/mysql and work at the shell but don't know c++ etc. and wondering if someone can guide me to the best solution and most efficient way for me to learn how to do it, whether it's a recommended book, web tutorial, sample code, etc..








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centerforward
Asked:
centerforward
4 Solutions
 
Khanh DoanSenior DeveloperCommented:
Try this:
---- .htaccess ----
Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^([A-Za-z0-9]+)$ index.php?n=$1


Goodluck.
Bonmat86.
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slyongCommented:
hi,
if you want
http://www.domain.com/artists to display http://www.domain.com/index.php?n=1
http://www.domain.com/news to display http://www.domain.com/index.php?n=2
http://www.domain.com/publications to display http://www.domain.com/index.php?n=3

do this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^artists$ index.php?n=1 [L]
RewriteRule ^news$ index.php?n=2 [L]
RewriteRule ^publications$ index.php?n=3 [L]
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slyongCommented:
- I hear rewrite rules can be incredibly complicated.  Since my structure is so consistent accross so many sites, can someone give me an idea of how "simple" my situation is?  What's the easiest way for me to learn how to do this - can someone point me in the right direction?  Linux redhat apache cpanel php/mysql environment
There are a lot of tutorials about rewrite.. just might interest you http://tools.devshed.com/c/a/Web-Development/Module-mod-rewrite-Tutorial-Part-1/

 - BTW is this actually that important to search engine optimization or is it just an aesthetic / user friendly thing?
It is for both reasons

 - I do sometimes have subnavigation, so there are two navigation variables, requiring two directories like /news/archived and news/current or something to that effect..
You can keep adding the rules.. but I think it is better off for you to change some of your PHP code to take something like index.php?n=news&s=current then you can use regex to write your rewrite rules.
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centerforwardAuthor Commented:
ok thanks everyone! -- let me try the code out and i'll split points asap, got a bit behind with work this week
thanks very much!!
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centerforwardAuthor Commented:
I created the
.htaccess file in the root, with the following contents:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^home$ index.php?n=1 [L]
RewriteRule ^about$ index.php?n=2 [L]
RewriteRule ^services$ index.php?n=3 [L]
RewriteRule ^contact$ index.php?n=4 [L]

Live at www.mav-computers.com as a test...

The URL "http://www.mav-computers.com/about" is NOT FOUND

Does rewrite need to be turned on in cpanel, or apache refreshed, something clever like that, or is the code even right?

Obvioulsy I'm trying to get "http://www.mav-computers.com/about" to load the same page that "http://www.mav-computers.com/index.php?n=2" loads now, but the address bar in the browser to stick on displaying
"http://www.mav-computers.com/about"

Thanks!


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Muhammad WasifCommented:
mod_rewrite is enabled in CPanel.
Try to changing the rule as follows

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^home$ /index.php?n=1 [L]
RewriteRule ^about$ /index.php?n=2 [L]
RewriteRule ^services$ /index.php?n=3 [L]
RewriteRule ^contact$ /index.php?n=4 [L]

note the use of '/'
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