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This directive explicitly sets the base URL for per-directory rewriting. It is useful when .htaccess is present in subdirectories above the root directory of the site.
In this case in writing RewriteRule directives you can assume the URL is a path relative to the directory in which .htaccess file resides (serving as rewrite_base). In this case the local directory prefix is stripped and your rewriting rules act only on the remainder of URL.
Thus, when a substitution in rewriteRule directive occurs and RewriteBase directive is present, mod_rewrite first strips URL up to the path specified in RewriteBase directive, perform substitution and then prepends the base before reinjecting the URL into the server processing stream.
This way the RewriteBase directive allows for .htaccess file located in subdirectories to write RewriteRule directives assuming the relative path starting from the directory in which .htaccess file resize as the base.
In case you use aliases to include in your site directories from different parts of filesystem RewriteBase is useful to avoid rewriting to the alias path (http://example.com/opt/myapp-1.2.3/welcome.html in the example below) since it is not related to the document root.
DocumentRoot /var/www/example.com Alias /myapp /opt/myapp-1.2.3 <Directory /opt/myapp-1.2.3> RewriteEngine On RewriteBase /myapp/ RewriteRule ^index\.html$ welcome.html </Directory>
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