Pretty URLs in AngularJS: Removing the #

Chris Sevilleja

By default, AngularJS will route URLs with a hashtag.

For example:

  • http://example.com/
  • http://example.com/#/about
  • http://example.com/#/contact

It is very easy to get clean URLs and remove the hashtag from the URL.

There are 2 things that need to be done.

  1. Configuring $locationProvider
  2. Setting our base for relative links

$location Service

In Angular, the $location service parses the URL in the address bar and makes changes to your application and vice versa.

I would highly recommend reading through the official Angular $location docs to get a feel for the $location service and what it provides.

$locationProvider and html5Mode

We will use the $locationProvider module and set html5Mode to true.

We will do this when defining your Angular application and configuring your routes.


angular.module('scotchy', [])

    .config(function($routeProvider, $locationProvider) {

        $routeProvider
            .when('/', {
                templateUrl : 'partials/home.html',
                controller : mainController
            })
            .when('/about', {
                templateUrl : 'partials/about.html',
                controller : mainController
            })
            .when('/contact', {
                templateUrl : 'partials/contact.html',
                controller : mainController
            });

        // use the HTML5 History API
        $locationProvider.html5Mode(true);
    });

What is the HTML5 History API? It is a standardized way to manipulate the browser history using a script. This lets Angular change the routing and URLs of our pages without refreshing the page. For more information on this, here is a good HTML5 History API Article.

Setting For Relative Links

To link around your application using relative links, you will need to set a <base> in the <head> of your document.


<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">

    <base href="/">
</head>

There are plenty of other ways to configure this and the HTML5 mode set to true should automatically resolve relative links. This has just always worked for me. If your root of your application is different than the url (for instance /my-base, then use that as your base.

Fallback for Older Browsers

The $location service will automatically fallback to the hashbang method for browsers that do not support the HTML5 History API.

This happens transparently to you and you won't have to configure anything for it to work. From the Angular $location docs, you can see the fallback method and how it works.

hashbang_vs_regular_url

In Conclusion

This is a simple way to get pretty URLs and remove the hashtag in your Angular application. Have fun making those super clean and super fast Angular apps!

Chris Sevilleja

151 posts

Co-founder of Scotch.io. Slapping the keyboard until something good happens.