URI Routing

Typically there is a one-to-one relationship between a URL string and its corresponding controller class/method. The segments in a URI normally follow this pattern:


In some instances, however, you may want to remap this relationship so that a different class/method can be called instead of the one corresponding to the URL.

For example, let’s say you want your URLs to have this prototype:


Normally the second segment of the URL is reserved for the method name, but in the example above it instead has a product ID. To overcome this, CodeIgniter allows you to remap the URI handler.

Setting your own routing rules

Routing rules are defined in the application/config/Routes.php file. In it you’ll see that it creates an instance of the RouteCollection class that permits you to specify your own routing criteria. Routes can be specified using placeholders or Regular Expressions.

A route simply takes the URI on the left, and maps it to the controller and method on the right, along with any parameters that should be passed to the controller. The controller and method should be listed in the same way that you would use a static method, by separating the fully-namespaced class and its method with a double-colon, like Users::list. If that method requires parameters to be passed to it, then they would be listed after the method name, separated by forward-slashes:

// Calls the $Users->list()
// Calls $Users->list(1, 23)


A typical route might look something like this:

$routes->add('product/:num', 'App\Catalog::productLookup');

In a route, the first parameter contains the URI to be matched, while the second parameter contains the destination it should be re-routed to. In the above example, if the literal word “product” is found in the first segment of the URL, and a number is found in the second segment, the “AppCatalog” class and the “productLookup” method are used instead.

Placeholders are simply strings that represent a Regular Expression pattern. During the routing process, these placeholders are replaced with the value of the Regular Expression. They are primarily used for readability.

The following placeholders are available for you to use in your routes:

  • (:any) will match all characters from that point to the end of the URI. This may include multiple URI segments.
  • (:segment) will match any character except for a forward slash (/) restricting the result to a single segment.
  • (:num) will match any integer.
  • (:alpha) will match any string of alphabetic characters
  • (:alphanum) will match any string of alphabetic characters or integers, or any combination of the two.
  • (:hash) is the same as :segment, but can be used to easily see which routes use hashed ids (see the Model docs).


{locale} cannot be used as a placeholder or other part of the route, as it is reserved for use in localization.


Here are a few basic routing examples:

$routes->add('journals', 'App\Blogs');

A URL containing the word “journals” in the first segment will be remapped to the “AppBlogs” class, and the default method, which is usually index():

$routes->add('blog/joe', 'Blogs::users/34');

A URL containing the segments “blog/joe” will be remapped to the “Blogs” class and the “users” method. The ID will be set to “34”:

$routes->add('product/(:any)', 'Catalog::productLookup');

A URL with “product” as the first segment, and anything in the second will be remapped to the “Catalog” class and the “productLookup” method:

$routes->add('product/(:num)', 'Catalog::productLookupByID/$1';

A URL with “product” as the first segment, and a number in the second will be remapped to the “Catalog” class and the “productLookupByID” method passing in the match as a variable to the method.


While the add() method is convenient, it is recommended to always use the HTTP-verb-based routes, described below, as it is more secure. It will also provide a slight performance increase, since only routes that match the current request method are stored, resulting in less routes to scan through when trying to find a match.

Custom Placeholders

You can create your own placeholders that can be used in your routes file to fully customize the experience and readability.

You add new placeholders with the addPlaceholder method. The first parameter is the string to be used as the placeholder. The second parameter is the Regular Expression pattern it should be replaced with. This must be called before you add the route:

$routes->addPlaceholder('uuid', '[0-9a-f]{8}-[0-9a-f]{4}-[0-9a-f]{4}-[0-9a-f]{4}-[0-9a-f]{12}');
$routes->add('users/(:uuid)', 'Users::show/$1');

Regular Expressions

If you prefer you can use regular expressions to define your routing rules. Any valid regular expression is allowed, as are back-references.

In the above example, a URI similar to products/shirts/123 would instead call the “Shirts” controller class and the “id_123” method.

With regular expressions, you can also catch a segment containing a forward slash (‘/’), which would usually represent the delimiter between multiple segments.

For example, if a user accesses a password protected area of your web application and you wish to be able to redirect them back to the same page after they log in, you may find this example useful:

$routes->add('login/(.+)', 'Auth::login/$1');

For those of you who don’t know regular expressions and want to learn more about them, regular-expressions.info might be a good starting point.


Note: You can also mix and match wildcards with regular expressions.


You can use an anonymous function, or Closure, as the destination that a route maps to. This function will be executed when the user visits that URI. This is handy for quickly executing small tasks, or even just showing a simple view:

$routes->add('feed', function()
                $rss = new RSSFeeder();
                return $rss->feed('general');

Mapping multiple routes

While the add() method is simple to use, it is often handier to work with multiple routes at once, using the map() method. Instead of calling the add() method for each route that you need to add, you can define an array of routes and then pass it as the first parameter to the map() method:

$routes = [];
$routes['product/(:num)']      = 'Catalog::productLookupById';
$routes['product/(:alphanum)'] = 'Catalog::productLookupByName';


Redirecting Routes

Any site that lives long enough is bound to have pages that move. You can specify routes that should redirect to other routes with the addRedirect() method. The first parameter is the URI pattern for the old route. The second parameter is either the new URI to redirect to, or the name of a named route. The third parameter is the HTTP status code that should be sent along with the redirect. The default value is 302 which is a temporary redirect and is recommended in most cases:

$routes->add('users/profile', 'Users::profile', ['as' => 'profile']);

// Redirect to a named route
$routes->addRedirect('users/about', 'profile');
// Redirect to a URI
$routes->addRedirect('users/about', 'users/profile');

If a redirect route is matched during a page load, the user will be immediately redirected to the new page before a controller can be loaded.

Grouping Routes

You can group your routes under a common name with the group() method. The group name becomes a segment that appears prior to the routes defined inside of the group. This allows you to reduce the typing needed to build out an extensive set of routes that all share the opening string, like when building an admin area:

$routes->group('admin', function($routes)
        $routes->add('users', 'Admin\Users::index');
        $routes->add('blog',  'Admin\Blog::index');

This would prefix the ‘users’ and ‘blog” URIs with “admin”, handling URLs like /admin/users and /admin/blog. It is possible to nest groups within groups for finer organization if you need it:

$routes->group('admin', function($routes)
        $routes->group('users', function($routes)
                $routes->add('list', 'Admin\Users::list');


This would handle the URL at admin/users/list.

Environment Restrictions

You can create a set of routes that will only be viewable under a certain environment. This allows you to create tools that only the developer can use on their local machines that are not reachable on testing or production servers. This can be done with the environment() method. The first parameter is the name of the environment. Any routes defined within this closure are only accessible from the given environment:

$routes->environment('development', function($routes)
        $routes->add('builder', 'Tools\Builder::index');

Reverse Routing

Reverse routing allows you to define the controller and method, as well as any parameters, that a link should go to, and have the router lookup the current route to it. This allows route definitions to change without you having to update your application code. This is typically used within views to create links.

For example, if you have a route to a photo gallery that you want to link to, you can use the route_to() helper function to get the current route that should be used. The first parameter is the fully qualified Controller and method, separated by a double colon (::), much like you would use when writing the initial route itself. Any parameters that should be passed to the route are passed in next:

// The route is defined as:
$routes->add('users/(:id)/gallery(:any)', 'App\Controllers\Galleries::showUserGallery/$1/$2');

// Generate the relative URL to link to user ID 15, gallery 12
// Generates: /users/15/gallery/12
<a href="<?= route_to('App\Controllers\Galleries::showUserGallery', 15, 12) ?>">View Gallery</a>

Using Named Routes

You can name routes to make your application less fragile. This applies a name to a route that can be called later, and even if the route definition changes, all of the links in your application built with route_to will still work without you having to make any changes. A route is named by passing in the as option with the name of the route:

// The route is defined as:
$routes->add('users/(:id)/gallery(:any)', 'Galleries::showUserGallery/$1/$2', ['as' => 'user_gallery');

    // Generate the relative URL to link to user ID 15, gallery 12
    // Generates: /users/15/gallery/12
    <a href="<?= route_to('user_gallery', 15, 12) ?>">View Gallery</a>

This has the added benefit of making the views more readable, too.

Using HTTP verbs in routes

It is possible to use HTTP verbs (request method) to define your routing rules. This is particularly useful when building RESTFUL applications. You can use any standard HTTP verb (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc). Each verb has its own method you can use:

$routes->get('products', 'Product::feature');
$routes->post('products', 'Product::feature');
$routes->put('products/(:num)', 'Product::feature');
$routes->delete('products/(:num)', 'Product::feature');

You can supply multiple verbs that a route should match by passing them in as an array to the match method:

$routes->match(['get', 'put'], 'products', 'Product::feature');

Command-Line only Routes

You can create routes that work only from the command-line, and are inaccessible from the web browser, with the cli() method. This is great for building cronjobs or CLI-only tools. Any route created by any of the HTTP-verb-based route methods will also be inaccessible from the CLI, but routes created by the any() method will still be available from the command line:

$routes->cli('migrate', 'App\Database::migrate');

Resource Routes

You can quickly create a handful of RESTful routes for a single resource with the resource() method. This creates the five most common routes needed for full CRUD of a resource: create a new resource, update an existing one, list all of that resource, show a single resource, and delete a single resource. The first parameter is the resource name:


// Equivalent to the following:
$routes->get('photos',               'Photos::listAll');
$routes->get('photos/(:segment)',    'Photos::show/$1');
$routes->post('photos',              'Photos::create');
$routes->put('photos/(:segment)',    'Photos::update/$1');
$routes->delete('photos/(:segment)', 'Photos::delete/$1');

The second parameter accepts an array of options that can be used to modify the routes that are generated. While these routes are geared toward API-usage, where more methods are allowed, you can pass in the ‘websafe’ option to have it generate update and delete methods that work with HTML forms:

$routes->resource('photos', ['websafe' => 1]);

// The following equivalent routes are created:
$routes->post('photos/(:segment)',        'Photos::update/$1');
$routes->post('photos/(:segment)/delete', 'Photos::delete/$1');

Change the Controller Used

You can specify the controller that should be used by passing in the controller option with the name of the controller that should be used:

$routes->resources('photos', ['controller' =>'App\Gallery']);

// Would create routes like:
$routes->get('photos', 'App\Gallery::listAll');

Change the Placeholder Used

By default, the segment placeholder is used when a resource ID is needed. You can change this by passing in the placeholder option with the new string to use:

$routes->resources('photos', ['placeholder' => '(:id)']);

// Generates routes like:
$routes->get('photos/(:id)', 'Photos::show/$1');

Limit the Routes Made

You can restrict the routes generated with the only option. This should be an array of method names that should be created. Only routes that match one of these methods will be created. The rest will be ignored:

$routes->resources('photos', ['only' => ['listAll', 'show']]);

Valid methods are: listAll, show, create, update, and delete.

Global Options

All of the methods for creating a route (add, get, post, resources, etc) can take an array of options that can modify the generated routes, or further restrict them. The $options array is always the last parameter:

$routes->add('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->get('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->post('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->put('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->head('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->options('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->delete('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->patch('from', 'to', $options);
$routes->match(['get', 'put'], 'from', 'to', $options);
$routes->resources('photos', $options);
$routes->map($array, $options);
$routes->group('name', $options, function());

Assigning Namespace

While a default namespace will be prepended to the generated controllers (see below), you can also specify a different namespace to be used in any options array, with the namespace option. The value should be the namespace you want modified:

// Routes to \Admin\Users::index()
$routes->add('admin/users', 'Users::index', ['namespace' => 'Admin']);

The new namespace is only applied during that call for any methods that create a single route, like get, post, etc. For any methods that create multiple routes, the new namespace is attached to all routes generated by that function or, in the case of group(), all routes generated while in the closure.

Limit to Hostname

You can restrict groups of routes to function only in certain domain or sub-domains of your application by passing the “hostname” option along with the desired domain to allow it on as part of the options array:

$collection->get('from', 'to', ['hostname' => 'accounts.example.com']);

This example would only allow the specified hosts to work if the domain exactly matched “accounts.example.com”. It would not work under the main site at “example.com”.

Limit to Subdomains

When the subdomain option is present, the system will restrict the routes to only be available on that sub-domain. The route will only be matched if the subdomain is the one the application is being viewed through:

// Limit to media.example.com
$routes->add('from', 'to', ['subdomain' => 'media']);

You can restrict it to any subdomain by setting the value to an asterisk, (*). If you are viewing from a URL that does not have any subdomain present, this will not be matched:

// Limit to any sub-domain
$routes->add('from', 'to', ['subdomain' => '*']);


The system is not perfect and should be tested for your specific domain before being used in production. Most domains should work fine but some edge case ones, especially with a period in the domain itself (not used to separate suffixes or www) can potentially lead to false positives.

Offsetting the Matched Parameters

You can offset the matched parameters in your route by any numeric value with the offset option, with the value being the number of segments to offset.

This can be beneficial when developing API’s with the first URI segment being the version number. It can also be used when the first parameter is a language string:

$routes->get('users/(:num)', 'users/show/$1', ['offset' => 1]);

// Creates:
$routes['users/(:num)'] = 'users/show/$2';

Routes Configuration Options

The RoutesCollection class provides several options that affect all routes, and can be modified to meet your application’s needs. These options are available at the top of /application/Config/Routes.php.

Default Namespace

When matching a controller to a route, the router will add the default namespace value to the front of the controller specified by the route. By default, this value is empty, which leaves each route to specify the fully namespaced controller:


// Controller is \Users
    $routes->add('users', 'Users::index');

    // Controller is \Admin\Users
    $routes->add('users', 'Admin\Users::index');

If your controllers are not explicitly namespaced, there is no need to change this. If you namespace your controllers, then you can change this value to save typing:


// Controller is \App\Users
$routes->add('users', 'Users::index');

// Controller is \App\Admin\Users
$routes->add('users', 'Admin\Users::index');

Default Controller

When a user visits the root of your site (i.e. example.com) the controller to use is determined by the value set by the setDefaultController() method, unless a route exists for it explicitly. The default value for this is Home which matches the controller at /application/Controllers/Home.php:

// example.com routes to application/Controllers/Welcome.php

The default controller is also used when no matching route has been found, and the URI would point to a directory in the controllers directory. For example, if the user visits example.com/admin, if a controller was found at /application/Controllers/admin/Home.php it would be used.

Default Method

This works similar to the default controller setting, but is used to determine the default method that is used when a controller is found that matches the URI, but no segment exists for the method. The default value is index:


In this example, if the user were to visit example.com/products, and a Products controller existed, the Products::listAll() method would be executed.

Translate URI Dashes

This option enables you to automatically replace dashes (‘-‘) with underscores in the controller and method URI segments, thus saving you additional route entries if you need to do that. This is required, because the dash isn’t a valid class or method name character and would cause a fatal error if you try to use it:


Use Defined Routes Only

When no defined route is found that matches the URI, the system will attempt to match that URI against the controllers and methods as described above. You can disable this automatic matching, and restrict routes to only those defined by you, by setting the setAutoRoute() option to false:


404 Override

When a page is not found that matches the current URI, the system will show a generic 404 view. You can change what happens by specifying an action to happen with the set404Override() option. The value can be either a valid class/method pair, just like you would show in any route, or a Closure:

// Would execute the show404 method of the App\Errors class

// Will display a custom view
    echo view('my_errors/not_found.html');