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How to set up SEF url's with Joomla 1.5 using htaccess and mod rewrite

Updated on April 5, 2012
Joomla 1.5 Open Source CMS
Joomla 1.5 Open Source CMS

SEF url's are important

If you are wanting to rank in the major search engine results well, I suggest you turn on those SEF url's. If you are reading this "how to" article, I'm betting that you already want to do this but are not entirely sure on how to get your url's to actually change without getting error messages and the such.

I will break it down into some basic steps to get you up and running again and you hopefully will not need to contact customer support.

Step 1: Log into your cpanel and find the right folder

The first step is to log into your hosting cPanel. I don't know what host you use for your websites, but some of the finest hosting companies I have used are FatCow and HostGator. They have wonderful cPanels and are easy to use and find things in. This tutorial is built around people who use these hosts as I have not tried this with any other hosting providers.

Log into your hosting cPanel. You will want to go to where you find your folders that have all your websites and the such. If you are hosting multiple websites on one hosting account, open up the folder that has the website name on it of the SEF url's you are wanting to change. If you are only hosting one website, then just open up the root folder, which in most cases will be public_html.

Step 3: Log into your Joomla cPanel

Log in... Log out.... Lot's of it in the web world. Now you want to log into your Joomla admin cPanel. Once you are in, you want to click on Global Configuration. Once you are in your global config menu, you want to click on the site tab. On the site tab, to the right of the screen, you will see some options to tick off. You want the first 2 no doubt. Click on "Search Engine Friendly Url's" and "Use Apache Mod Rewrite" then click save.

You will know if it worked when you go to your website and look in the address bar. Click on some links and see if the url's have changed from crazy category url's into url's that you can read and know what's on the page. It would be something like the name of the article.

If you start getting errors, you may need to contact your hosting provider to make sure they have "apache mod rewrite" enabled on their servers. If they don't, tell them to flip the switch for you. The hosting companies I noted above are really good about it. I've had them do it for me many times. Just open up chat and be like, "Hey! Turn on apache mod rewrite for me!" They will.

Step 4: Give it a minute or two then recheck

Now that you should have all of that done, give your site a minute or two to update with the server database and all that nonsense then check it again. When you click on links this time, if it didn't work before, you should see some sexy url's now that are very search engine friendly. And that my friends, is how you acquire SEF url's using Joomla 1.5. I hope this helped you. Read below for a quick recap of the steps involved.

Step 2: Find htaccess.txt and rename that bad boy

This next part is easy as coke for breakfast. You will want to scroll through that folder you just opened up and find a file that would be named htaccess.txt. Once you find that folder, provided you have joomla installed I'm hoping, you will want to right click it and rename it to .htaccess then you can log out of your cPanel if you wish. Make sure you put the period in front of htaccess. This is crucial. Don't forget it.

A quick recap

  • Log into hosting cPanel
  • Find the root folder of the website you want SEF url's for
  • Find htaccess.txt
  • Rename to .htaccess **Don't forget the period in front**
  • Log out of hosting cPanel
  • Log into Joomla Admin cPanel
  • Go to Global Configuration and click on the site tab
  • Tick off SEF Url's and Use Apache Mod Rewrite
  • Check website for proper SEF url's
  • If you get errors, contact hosting provider and have them turn on Apache Mod Rewrite
  • Give your site a minute or two to update with server
  • Recheck website and enjoy SEF url's


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