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Using ForceType For Nicer Page URLs


Apache has features that allow us to setup easy to remember URL's for our web site's pages. In this article Joe shows us how easy it is to do with Apache and a little PHP.

Author Info:
By: Joe O'Donnell
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 57
June 05, 2002
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Using ForceType For Nicer Page URLs
  2. · Apache's ForceType directive
  3. · Implementing ForceType sensibly
  4. · The PHP script
  5. · Conclusion

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Using ForceType For Nicer Page URLs
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One of the things I love about the Apache web server software is that it's so flexible. Its configuration file, httpd.conf, allows you to setup dozens of options that change the way your web server works. My main like about Apache is that you can re-route different document types to different applications/scripting engines. Another thing that gives Apache so much power is its built-in URL look back feature and customisable re-write engine.

By either editing Apache's httpd.conf file or by creating a .htaccess file, we can modify the way Apache works to a certain extent. Combine this with some PHP knowledge and we have the power to add some seriously flexibility to our web sites.

In this article we're going to look at one way to use Apache and PHP to change "ugly" web page URL's into easier to remember, more logical ones. For example, instead of having to use this URL to read about a specific animal:

http://www.mysite.com/animals.php?animalId=5&color=red

... we can use Apache and PHP to setup a page with the following URL:

http://www.mysite.com/animals/pig/red

As I'm sure you'll agree, the latter URL is easier to read and remember. Setting up URL's like this also helps the search engines do their thing and stops certain search engines from rejecting your pages.

To get the most from this article you should have Apache 1.39+ and PHP 4.1+ installed on a web server. I will assume that you're using Linux, but you could just as easily use Windows, Unix, etc.
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