Search engine friendly (SEF), human-readable or clean URLs are URLs that make sense to both humans and search engines because they explain the path to the particular page they point to. Since version 1.5, Joomla! is capable of creating and parsing URLs in any format, including SEF URLs. This does not depend on URL rewriting executed by the web server, so it works even if Joomla! runs a server other than Apache with the mod_rewrite module. The SEF URLs follow a certain fixed pattern, but the user can define a short descriptive text (alias) for each segment of the URL.
Internally, the local part of a SEF URL (the part after the domain name) is called a route. Creating and processing SEF URLs is therefore referred to as routing, and the relevant code is called a router.
A good example of routing is the URL to “Welcome to Joomla!” article in the sample data.
- Without SEF URLs turned on, the URL is http://www.example.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1:welcome-to-joomla&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50
- With SEF URLs on and mod_rewrite off, it’s http://www.example.com/index.php/the-news/1-latest-news/1-welcome-to-joomla
- With both SEF URLs and mod_rewrite on, it’s http://www.example.com/the-news/1-latest-news/1-welcome-to-joomla
Search engine friendly URLs can be activated by turning on the Search Engine Friendly URLs option in the Global Configuration. This option is on by default since Joomla! 1.6. See Enabling Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs for more information.
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