How to encode special characters using mod_rewrite & Apache?

The normal operation of apache/mod_rewrite doesn’t work like this, as it seems to turn the plus signs into spaces.

I don’t think that’s quite what’s happening. Apache is decoding the %2Bs to +s in the path part since + is a valid character there. It does this before letting mod_rewrite look at the request.

So then mod_rewrite changes your request ‘/tag/c++’ to ‘script.php?tag=c++’. But in a query string component in the application/x-www-form-encoded format, the escaping rules are very slightly different to those that apply in path parts. In particular, ‘+’ is a shorthand for space (which could just as well be encoded as ‘%20’, but this is an old behaviour we’ll never be able to change now).

So PHP’s form-reading code receives the ‘c++’ and dumps it in your _GET as C-space-space.

Looks like the way around this is to use the rewriteflag ‘B’. See – curiously it uses more or less the same example!

RewriteRule ^tag/(.*)$ /script.php?tag=$1 [B]

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