A little over ten years ago, I felt so annoyed with testing Apache’s mod_rewrite RewriteRules that I started looking for a tool to test them. The search was unsuccessful— no such tool to be found.


Out of my frustration, I decided to write something myself. I hacked together a PHP script that could parse the most basic rewrite rules and emulate the output Apache would generate. Basically, faking it. I spent a lot of time on the mod_rewrite documentation page, finding many inconsistencies in how the whole system works. I had a nice tool to work with after adding exceptions and support for rewrite conditions (RewriteCond).

Instead of keeping it for myself, I decided to make it public at htaccess.madewithlove.com. Since then, it has been used over 7.5 million times by developers from all over the world, helping them write htaccess rules.

Over time, we added things like sharing, command-line interface tools, and even an API. The sharing allows you to easily link to a rule you are testing when discussing it with someone else. The CLI and API allow for continuous integration, for example, by running the rules in a Github Action.

A couple of years ago, we decided to completely rewrite the tester (still by faking it in PHP). To back ourselves up, we created a test suite using Docker to check the behaviour against a real Apache instance.

As with some other little tools I made out frustration, I really enjoy seeing them survive after such a long time. This makes me proud and grateful. Thanks for all the love!

More about our Htaccess tester tool