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I've just taken on hosting of an ancient site that was converted from asp to static html, consisting of about 6,000 files. However, my server doesn't like the filenames, giving a 404 error. The URLs are all of the form:


where id is always an integer and a is always a string of characters & numbers.

Is there any way I can use htaccess and mod_rewrite to tell it that the question mark is part of the URL rather than signifying a query string?

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Using the ? to separate arguments from the URI is the default behavior. How do you have apache configured now? And does filename.asp exist in the directory you're shooting for? –  Jack M. Jun 2 '11 at 19:02
Apache is configured pretty much out of the box excerpt for performance changes. But as i've got multiple sites on the server i can't change it server-wide, so I'd be looking to do something via htaccess. –  Simon Blackbourn Jun 2 '11 at 20:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You probably already know you are not the first person to have this need :)

# Allow filenames containing '?' to be served by escaping the '?' in the HTTP
# request so it's not interpreted as a query string.
# Apache 2.2: set query string to empty by ending rewritten path with '?'.
# Apache 2.4: use the qsdiscard flag instead
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} !=""
RewriteRule ^/(.*) /$1\%3F%{QUERY_STRING}? [noescape,last,redirect]

The key is the combination of adding a redirect and NE/noescape to ensure apache doesn't escape what we don't want escaped.

The above rule will mean that the entire site under this rewrite will treat ? as part of the filename. If you need to have it match your filename.asp - just add it to the RewriteRule

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