Enabling Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs on IIS

From Joomla! Documentation

Revision as of 18:24, 23 March 2011 by G1smd (Talk | contribs)

Under IIS7, a native URL Rewite module is available. It stores rules in a site's web.config file, expressed in XML format. .htaccess rules can be converted to the web.config format.

Under IIS6, a third-party add-on must be used. Helicon provides one which directly supports .htaccess rules.

IIS 7 URL Rewriting

If you have a server running IIS 7 and PHP, you can take advantage of IIS's own internal URL rewriting by using a web.config file similar to the one listed below.

You can create the file yourself or use the GUI in the IIS7 Manager. You can import .htaccess rules using the GUI/wizard.

This functionality depends on the presence of the IIS URL Rewrite Module, which does not come with Windows. It is a free download and a Microsoft product.


If the IIS URL Rewrite module is installed, your website manager will have a tool for "URL Rewrite", visible in the IIS Manager's view of your site's configurable IIS modules. The interface is largely self-explanatory. Regular expressions, wildcards or exact matches are all supported.


This has been tested on Joomla 1.5 with IIS 7 on Windows Server 2008 with no problems so far. For more information on converting .htaccess to web.config, check out

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
                <clear />
                <rule name="Common Exploit Blocking" stopProcessing="true">
                    <match url="^(.*)$" />
                    <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAny">
                        <add input="{QUERY_STRING}" pattern="mosConfig_[a-zA-Z_]{1,21}(=|\%3D)" />
                        <add input="{QUERY_STRING}" pattern="base64_encode.*\(.*\)" />
                        <add input="{QUERY_STRING}" pattern="(\&lt;|%3C).*script.*(\>|%3E)" />
                        <add input="{QUERY_STRING}" pattern="GLOBALS(=|\[|\%[0-9A-Z]{0,2})" />
                        <add input="{QUERY_STRING}" pattern="_REQUEST(=|\[|\%[0-9A-Z]{0,2})" />
                    <action type="Redirect" url="index.php" appendQueryString="false" redirectType="SeeOther" />
                <rule name="Joomla Search Rule" stopProcessing="true">
                    <match url="(.*)" ignoreCase="true" />
                    <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAll">
                        <add input="{URL}" pattern="^/search.php" ignoreCase="true" />
                    <action type="Rewrite" url="/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=4" />
                <rule name="Joomla Main Rewrite Rule" stopProcessing="true">
                    <match url="(.*)" ignoreCase="true" />
                    <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAll">
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsFile" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsDirectory" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{URL}" pattern="(/|\.php|\.html|\.htm|\.feed|\.pdf|\.raw|/[^.]*)$" />
                    <action type="Rewrite" url="index.php/" />
                <add extension=".php" policy="DisableCache" kernelCachePolicy="DisableCache" />

Helicon ISAPI Rewrite

Helicon ISAPI Rewrite 3 located at now provides near identical mod_rewrite functionality.

IIS 7 has its own rewrite module now, the URL Rewrite which works excellent and doesn't require third party installs. It can be enabled through the Web Platform Installer. In the Joomla config turn on both the SEF and Apache mod_rewrite, next create a rule under IIS URL Rewrite: Pattern field: ^([^/]+)/?$ Ignore case ON Action type: Rewrite Rewrite URL: index.php/

The default rewrite rules can be used and the following code inserted to the top of the index.php file:

if (isset($_SERVER['HTTP_X_REWRITE_URL']))

First job is to install ISAPI rewriter of your choice or

ISAPI ReWrite has a lite version (limited) and IIRF (IonicIsapiRewriter) is freeware always updated and the source is free!

Both are configured via file IsapiRewrite4.ini (you dont need to worry about .htaccess.txt ignore it). (if you are using IIRF IonicIsapiRewriter 2.x see below for a change in filename).

The following entries for ISAPI REWRITE:

RewriteLog  D:\temp\iirfLog.out
RewriteLogLevel 3
IterationLimit 10
# Joomla/Mambo rewrite rules
RewriteRule  ^/$                      /index.php
RewriteRule ^/content/blogsection/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=$1&Itemid=$2
RewriteRule ^/content/blogcategory/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=$1&Itemid=$2
RewriteRule ^/content/section/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=$1&Itemid=$2
RewriteRule ^/component/option,([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+) /index.php?option=$1&$2=$3&$4=$5&$6=$7
RewriteRule ^/component/option,([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+) /index.php?option=$1&$2=$3&$4=$5
RewriteRule ^/component/option,([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=$1&$2=$3
RewriteRule ^/content/category/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=$1=&id=$2&Itemid=$3
RewriteRule ^/content/view/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=$1&Itemid=$2&limit=$3&limitstart=$4
RewriteRule ^/content/view/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=$1&Itemid=$2

The following is for IIRF IonicIsapiRewriter 1.x:

IterationLimit 10

Remark: If you are using IIRF IonicIsapiRewriter Version 2.x you must have a "global" configuration file in the directory where the DLL is and a site specific file (see Artio JoomSEF below as example) in the Joomla root. The filename for 2.x is no longer IsapiRewrite4.ini but changed to Iirf.ini (!)

Example for IirGlobal.ini:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteFilterPriority MEDIUM
StatusUrl /iirfStatus  RemoteOk
# Turn NotifyLog off if you can to optimize speed. If you need to log the original URL turn it on.
NotifyLog Off

Tested and working with ARTIO JoomSEF:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_URL}             (/|\.html?|\.php|/[^.]*)$  [I] 
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME}     !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME}     !-d
RewriteRule (.*)                /index.php                      [U,L]
# only use the U of the [U,L] if you have turned "NotifyLog ON" specified in your IirGlobal.ini
MaxMatchCount 10

Tested and working with default Joomla SEO:

RewriteRule ^/$                      /index.php
RewriteRule ^/content/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=$1&id=$2&Itemid=$3&limit=$4&limitstart=$5
RewriteRule ^/content/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=com_content&task=$1&id=$2&Itemid=$3
RewriteRule ^/component/option,([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+) /index.php?option=$1&$2=$3&$4=$5&$6=$7
RewriteRule ^/component/option,([^/]+)/([^/]+),([^/]+)/ /index.php?option=$1&$2=$3

Tested and working with sh404SEF:

RewriteLogLevel 4 #Make it 0 in to turn debugging off
RewriteLog c:\IIRfLogfile.log #Write the absolute path of your file here 
MaxMatchCount 10
# don't rewrite any request that goes to administrator
RewriteRule ^/administrator   -   [L]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_URL} (/|\.html?|\.php|!administrator|/[^.]*)$  
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule (.*) /index.php [U,L]

Other Third party SEO should work once to follow there rewrite conditions/rules. I run IonicIsapiRewriter-1.2.12b the betas are rock solid and I use it on my production servers with no issues. Please follow vendors installation instructions to get the ISAPI filter working on your IIS server.