Using PHP as an htaccess Alternative

Learn why htaccess files are ignored by NGINX and discover alternatives for modifying a site's configuration.


Pantheon sites use NGINX to concurrently serve requests. The NGINX web server ignores distributed configuration files such as .htaccess for reduced resource consumption and increased efficiency. This configuration is standard across all Pantheon sites, and modifications to the nginx.conf file are not supported.

For more details on the performance impacts of .htaccess files, see the NGINX documentation.

Manage Configuration with PHP

Using .htaccess is generally not recommended - even for sites running Apache. As a rule of thumb, we recommend using PHP logic to accomplish configuration changes instead.

Some advantages of redirecting via PHP instead of .htaccess include:

  • Logic and decisions can be made that a web server would have no context for, as it's executable code with application state awareness. Conditional logic, regular expressions, and much more are possible.
  • Configuration tends to be more maintainable as Drupal and WordPress developers are typically literate in PHP, but very few people are naturally fluent in Apache2 rewrite rules and conditions.
  • Since settings.php and wp-config.php are parsed very early in the bootstrap process, redirects like this are "cheap" with low overhead. If you use a 301 redirect, Varnish will cache it as well.

See Also