HTML5 History Mode

The default mode for vue-router is hash mode - it uses the URL hash to simulate a full URL so that the page won't be reloaded when the URL changes.

To get rid of the hash, we can use the router's history mode, which leverages the history.pushState API to achieve URL navigation without a page reload:

const router = new VueRouter({
  mode: 'history',
  routes: [...]
})

When using history mode, the URL will look "normal," e.g. http://oursite.com/user/id. Beautiful!

Here comes a problem, though: Since our app is a single page client side app, without a proper server configuration, the users will get a 404 error if they access http://oursite.com/user/id directly in their browser. Now that's ugly.

Not to worry: To fix the issue, all you need to do is add a simple catch-all fallback route to your server. If the URL doesn't match any static assets, it should serve the same index.html page that your app lives in. Beautiful, again!

Example Server Configurations

Apache

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteBase /
  RewriteRule ^index\.html$ - [L]
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
  RewriteRule . /index.html [L]
</IfModule>

nginx

location / {
  try_files $uri $uri/ /index.html;
}

Node.js (Express)

For Node.js/Express, consider using connect-history-api-fallback middleware.

Internet Information Services (IIS)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<configuration>
  <system.webServer>
    <rewrite>
      <rules>
        <rule name="Handle History Mode and custom 404/500" stopProcessing="true">
            <match url="(.*)" />
            <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAll">
              <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsFile" negate="true" />
              <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsDirectory" negate="true" />
            </conditions>
          <action type="Rewrite" url="index.html" />
        </rule>
      </rules>
    </rewrite>
      <httpErrors>     
          <remove statusCode="404" subStatusCode="-1" />                
          <remove statusCode="500" subStatusCode="-1" />
          <error statusCode="404" path="/survey/notfound" responseMode="ExecuteURL" />                
          <error statusCode="500" path="/survey/error" responseMode="ExecuteURL" />
      </httpErrors>
      <modules runAllManagedModulesForAllRequests="true"/>
  </system.webServer>
</configuration>

Caveat

There is a caveat to this: Your server will no longer report 404 errors as all not-found paths now serve up your index.html file. To get around the issue, you should implement a catch-all route within your Vue app to show a 404 page:

const router = new VueRouter({
  mode: 'history',
  routes: [
    { path: '*', component: NotFoundComponent }
  ]
})

Alternatively, if you are using a Node.js server, you can implement the fallback by using the router on the server side to match the incoming URL and respond with 404 if no route is matched.

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