RegEx guide for Flywheel Redirects

Updated on October 24th, 2023

A “Regular Expression,” or RegEx, is a set of characters that create a search pattern. RegEx is useful for redirects because it allows you to dynamically match any number of URLs without creating a specific rule for each, even without knowing what those URLs might all be.


This guide covers the basics of RegEx but is by no means exhaustive. For more information, we suggest checking out the following resources:

Regex Pal
Regex Syntax Breakdown
Regular Expressions Info
RegEx 101

RegEx basics

Character Definition
^ Match only if the characters following are at the beginning
$ Match only if the characters before are at the end
? The character just before this is optional
(?i) All following characters are case-insensitive
. Any 1 character
* Match the previous character 0 or more times
+ Match the previous 1 or more times
(x) Capture group. The characters inside are called by a variable later. Variables are numerical such as $1
.* A wildcard; any letter, word, or phrase
.+ Similar to a wildcard but requires at least 1 character to be present to continue
(?!) Negative lookahead, the following characters are excluded
Escape reserved character, so it functions as alphanumeric instead, goes just before each reserved character

Special and reserved characters

Any RegEx functional character is not assumed to be read as alphanumeric, but rather as its function in RegEx.

For example, this is relevant when trying to redirect static assets which would include a period before the file extension. That period must be escaped with a backslash just before the period to say “read the next character as alphanumeric instead of as RegEx”.

Alphanumeric RegEx
image.png image.png

The space character must be escaped with a backslash proceeding the space character as well.

Alphanumeric RegEx
example phrase example phrase

Redirect examples

Interpretation Source RegEx Destination
Redirect from page1 to page2 ^/page1/?$
Redirect only part of the path ^/old/page/?$
Redirect to a new starting path, while carrying over anything that follows. Matches root page request as well as any following arguments. ^/old/(.*)$1
Redirect to a new starting path, while carrying over anything that follows. Requires a following argument. ^/old/(.+)$1
Capture and reuse multiple pieces of the previous path in new destination ^/old/(.+)/diff/(.+)$1/other/$2
Redirect a static asset, such as a PDF file ^/old/page\.pdf
Redirect all pages to a subdirectory, and append the page to the URL using a capture group ^/(.*)?$$1

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