Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Remove index.php from URLs in Joomla 3

updated on May 05, 2015
How to Remove index.php from URLs in Joomla 3 Normally, the URLs of the articles and pages on Joomla 3 websites are long and complicated, with index.php after the domain name and many other parameters included. But you can make them more understandable by removing all of the unimportant information including index.php. This deed also contributes to the website SEO actually because simple URLs are more readable for search engines, too.

This post mainly discusses how to get rid of index.php from URLs. You can also learn how to remove other useless information as there are two steps covered among which the first one explains the way to enable search engine friendly URLs.

Enable Search Engine Friendly URLs in Joomla 3

First of all, you have to adjust some Joomla SEO settings before you can rewrite URLs. This can be done by following the steps below.

Step 1: Log into Joomla dashboard by visiting "" may vary, depending on which directory you have installed Joomla to.

Step 2: When you locate in the control panel of Joomla, find System in the main menu and click on Global Configuration.

Global Configuration

Step 3: There are several tabs in Global Configuration, including Site, System, Server, Permissions and Text Filters. The default tab that has been opened on the page should be Site. Now find the SEO Settings section on the right side of the page. Next to Search Engine Friendly URLs, click Yes and make it green colored.

Search Engine Friendly URLs

Before turning on search engine friendly URLs, the URLs of articles on our site are like this: (Note that Joomla is installed in a subdirectory named "joomla30", and the article is categorized in "Uncategorised".)

When the option is turned on, the URL above transforms into the following line, which is more understandable, readable and easier to remember.

Remove index.php from URLs

If you are careful enough, you can see in the screenshot above that in the SEO settings, there is an option of Use URL rewriting under Search Engine Friendly URLs. The option is used to remove index.php exactly. You need to turn it on by clicking on Yes. Don't forget to save the changes. Besides, do remember that URL rewriting will not operate unless search engine friendly URLs are allowed.

Use URL Rewriting

Now visiting your site and opening an article, you may find that there is something wrong because a 404 not found error appears. This error is caused by the improper configuration of your web server's rewrite engine. You don't need to worry because you can remove this error by making a simple change to a file.

The steps below are based on Apache web server and the cPanel of BlueHost.

Step 1: Log into cPanel and find the File Management section. Click on File Manager.

File Manager

Step 2: Choose to open the root directory of the domain of your Joomla site.

Select Directory

Step 3: In the list of files and folders, find the file named "htaccess.txt". Right-click on the file and select "Rename".

Rename htaccess.txt

Step 4: As the file is in plain text, you need to rename it to be ".htaccess" which will allow you to control permissions.


Now you can go back to your site and refresh the pages to see whether index.php has been removed successfully. If there are still errors, go to Joomla dashboard to deactivate "Use URL rewriting" and then reactivate it. When the changes come into effect, you will get a URL like the following example which is even simpler to read and remember.