Use Zend Framework on IIS

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A while ago, I was experimenting with the Zend Framework. At first, I tried running a small sample on top of IIS, but unfortunately, that did not work... On Apache, it worked like a charm. Very nice, but what do you do when your site runs on an IIS machine?

I started experimenting. First of all, I found out that Zend Framework also accepts URL's like http://localhost/index.php/controller/action/ as well as http://localhost/controller/action/. The first one is really handy! The only thing you have to do is to feed index.php the right query string and you're up and running. Changing all your URL's from /x/y to index.php/x/y should do the trick.

But this does not look pretty in my browser. I don't want the index.php in between!

Searching Google, I found some ISAPI filters that provide URL rewriting, but none of them are free. As a Belgian, I don't like spending my money when results are not guaranteed. Luckily, another idea popped up in my mind: let's fool IIS! Everybody using IIS knows that you can customize your 404 (page not found) error page. What about trapping all 404's to a central page, that can dispatch the request to my index.php file? A schematic overview:

I assume  you are familiar with configuring IIS and its error pages. All you have to do is save this file as RewriteController.aspx, and point your 404 error page there.

Now go ahead and try! The RewriteController.aspx changes the internal request in IIS from http://localhost/index/index (default action) to http://localhost/index.php/index/index. The address bar of your browser stays the same thoug. Subsequent requests are all routed this way, which means you can keep using your path's without index.php in between.

Some remarks:

  • If Zend Framework always tries the no route action, try using Zend_Controller_RewriteRouter instead of the default Zend_Controller_Router.
  • RewriteController.aspx can be rewritten in another scripting language too, but ASP.NET provides some nice shorthands to server variables...
  • Routing all errors trough RewriteController.aspx is probably a small performance bottleneck. Not noteworthy, but on high-traffic websites I expect this to slow things down
  • Another best practice on the Zend Framework is to redirect the noRoute to some sort of a 404 page

This is an imported post. It was imported from my old blog using an automated tool and may contain formatting errors and/or broken images.

Leave a Comment


8 responses

  1. Avatar for Troglo
    Troglo May 7th, 2008

    The link to the file RewriteController.aspx doesn&#180t work

    It&#180s a pity because I thik your method is pretty nice and clean

  2. Avatar for maartenba
    maartenba May 7th, 2008

    Seems like I lost that one in converting my blog from PHP to ASP.NET... But have a look at http://blog.maartenballiauw..., it might also be a solution.

  3. Avatar for Piotr Blasiak
    Piotr Blasiak August 4th, 2008

    There is now actually a way to do this for free, if you have IIS 7.0. I wrote a small tutorial in my blog:

    Hope this helps some people. I had to figure this out by myself as the module if pretty new :)

  4. Avatar for Dave Green
    Dave Green November 7th, 2008


    I link to the example file RewriteController.aspx is broken.

    Can you send it to me, or fix the link.

    Thanks very much.

  5. Avatar for maartenba
    maartenba November 7th, 2008

    Dave check the comments on top. Link is unfortunately lost :(

  6. Avatar for Football Tips
    Football Tips March 3rd, 2011

    Is the link broken? But anyway it is still a very great post !

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  8. Avatar for Fifi
    Fifi December 27th, 2014

    I link to the example file RewriteController.aspx is broken.

    Can you send it to me, or fix the link.