If you have installed Apache2 web server via apt-get or aptitude on Debian or Ubuntu systems, it has mod_rewrite module installed, but not enabled by default. After Apache2 installation, you need to enable mod_rewrite explicitly in order to enjoy its benefit.
What is mod_rewrite?
Apache2 web server boasts of extensible features which are realized by the notion of pluggable modules. When building Apache2, you compile a set of modules you think are necessary, into it. One such module is called mod_rewrite which is responsible for rewriting website URLs at the server side. For example, when user asks for "http://myserver.com/my_category/my_post.html", the requested URL is translated by mod_rewrite to "http://myserver.com/post.php?category=100&post=200", which is then handled by the web server.
Why use mod_rewrite?
Webmasters generally use mod_rewrite to improve user-friendliness and search engine friendliness of web sites by exposing more memorable and crawlable URLs to the world with mod_rewrite. Also, it can help hide any sensitive information such as query strings from URL requests, and hence can enhance website safety.
How to enable mod_write on Apache2
The default installation of Apache2 comes with mod_rewrite installed. To check whether this is the case, verify the existence of /etc/apache2/mods-available/rewrite.load.
LoadModule rewrite_module /usr/lib/apache2/modules/mod_rewrite.so
To enable and load mod_rewrite, do the rest of steps.
The above command will create a symbolic link in /etc/apache2/mods-enabled.
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 30 Dec 9 23:10 /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/rewrite.load -> ../mods-available/rewrite.load
Then open up the following file, and replace every occurrence of "AllowOverride None" with "AllowOverride all".
Finally, restart Apache2.
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