Redirecting visitor requests with the .htaccess file

Your website's .htaccess file controls how your website's visitors are able to access your website, and can be configured to handle many different visitor scenarios. Some of the configuration methods you can use with you Acquia-hosted website's .htaccess file include the following:

When implementing redirects in your .htaccess file, be aware of the following best practices:

  • Be sure to place all of the following code examples immediately after the RewriteEngine On line in your .htaccess file.
  • Ensure that this line of code is included in your rewrite code:
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !\.acquia-sites\.com [NC]  # exclude Acquia domains
  • Too many redirects can cause minor to serious performance issues for your website. Every page request must the redirect rules, requiring additional load time on a per-request basis. Acquia recommends regular reviews of rules for consolidation and removal as part of your normal maintenance practices.
  • Redirects do not preserve Google campaign tracking information. If you rely on this information, ensure your links do not rely on Acquia server-side redirects. Acquia Cloud Enterprise customers can use a custom VCL file to alter this behavior.

For more information about .htaccess rewrite rules, see Introduction to htaccess rewrite rules.

Redirecting bare domain names to the www subdomain

You can modify your application's .htaccess file so that when visitors request your application's URL without the www subdomain, the request redirects to the www subdomain. For example, requests to will be redirected to

The following lines in the Drupal 8 and Drupal 7 versions of .htaccess accomplish this, but can cause problems in development:

# RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
# RewriteRule ^ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Because these lines unconditionally redirect visitors to a www subdomain, it can cause problems if the website is intended to work with different domains, for example, with non-production environments. Instead, replace the commented lines with code similar to the following, modifying it for your own domain name:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !\.acquia-sites\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Redirecting traffic between HTTP and HTTPS

For Acquia-hosted websites, secure HTTPS connections are terminated at the load balancer level, which can cause many common .htaccess recipes for HTTPS redirects to not work as expected. Because the X-Forwarded-Proto header indicates to the webserver if a request came in over HTTPS, this what you need to validate in your rewrite conditions.

The examples in each of the available redirect methods use rewrite rule flags. For a thorough explanation of the flags that you can use, see RewriteRule Flags.

Redirecting all HTTP traffic to HTTPS

This sample rule sets HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO to https when accessing the website using HTTPS:

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [NE,L,R=301]

Redirecting all HTTPS traffic to HTTP

If website visitors are receiving insecure content warnings due to Google indexing documents using the HTTPS protocol, traffic may need to be redirected from HTTPS to HTTP. For this case, use the following rule set:

RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} =https
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Redirecting all traffic to the www SSL domain

To force all traffic to use both the www domain and SSL (even if not initially requested), use the following rules:

# ensure www.
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
# ensure https
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule ^ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Redirecting all traffic to the bare SSL domain

Acquia Cloud Enterprise customers with dedicated load balancers have the option of redirecting all traffic to the bare domain using the HTTPS protocol. To do this, use rules similar to the following:

# Redirecting and to
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%1%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
# Redirecting to
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [NE,L,R=301]

Excluding Acquia domains and non-production environments

To exclude the default Acquia domains from your redirects, or specific environments (such as Dev and Stage), add one or more of the following conditionals to the top of any group of rewrite rules:

RewriteCond %{ENV:AH_SITE_ENVIRONMENT} prod [NC] # only prod
RewriteCond %{ENV:AH_SITE_ENVIRONMENT} !prod [NC] # not prod
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !\.acquia-sites\.com [NC]  # exclude Acquia domains

As an example, if you wanted to ensure that all the domains were redirected to https://www. except for Acquia domains, you would use rules similar to the following:

# ensure www.
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !\.acquia-sites\.com [NC]  # exclude Acquia domains
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://www.%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
# ensure https
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule ^ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]


The preceding examples of how and when you would use a rewrite are complex. Here is a breakdown of the scenarios, which may help you determine what your website really needs.

A security warning will occur on a bare domain only if the request specifically includes the HTTPS protocol (such as, and there is no SSL certificate on the load balancer that covers the bare domain. A request for using the HTTP protocol, however, will not produce a security warning because a secure connection to the bare domain has not been requested.

Domain DNS record type IP/Hostname CNAME A

For Acquia Cloud, has a CNAME record that points to the hostname of the elastic load balancer, because that's where the SSL certificate is installed when it's uploaded using the self-service UI. However, bare domains/non-FQDNs such as cannot have CNAME records without a service similar to Route 53. Because of this, it must point to the elastic IP address of the balancer pair behind the ELB.

If there is a redirect in the .htaccess file that will take all requests for the bare domain and redirect them to www, due to how the DNS records are set up, the following process is what occurs if you request

  1. The request for hits the load balancers behind the ELB.
  2. The .htaccess rule 301 redirects request to
  3. A new request for hits the ELB (where the certificate exists), and the procedure completes successfully.

However, if a specific request is sent to with the HTTPS protocol, the following occurs:

  1. A request for hits the load balancers behind the ELB.
  2. Your browser displays the normal security warning.
  3. You examine the certificate and decide to move ahead.
  4. The .htaccess rule 301 redirects the request to
  5. A new request for hits the ELB (where the certificate exists), and the procedure completes successfully.

Depending on your Acquia Cloud subscription type, there may be additional requirements or steps to remove the security warning:

  • Acquia Cloud Professional with shared balancers
    In the case of Acquia Cloud Professional with shared balancers, only a bare domain service (such as Route 53 or CloudFlare) will be helpful in removing the security warning. This is because with a bare domain service you are able to use a CNAME record for the bare domain, which allows you to point the bare domain at the hostname of the ELB.
  • Acquia Cloud Enterprise
    There are two available options for resolving the security warning, depending on the balancer situation:
    • If you have dedicated balancers and if the existing certificate already covers at least both and, you can contact Acquia Support to have the certificate that you uploaded using the self-service interface installed on the dedicated balancers. After this is complete, requests that hit the balancer before being redirected to the ELB also will not receive the security warning.
    • Use Route 53, CloudFlare, or another bare domain service.

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