D7.9 introduced 404 fast paths which don't fully bootstrap drupal on 404's for certain file types if it's enabled, thus saving some bandwidth / computation. More info is available here: http://drupal.org/node/1296384

By default this excludes only certain file types such as .jpg, .txt., etc., looks like this:

$conf['404_fast_paths_exclude'] = '/\/(?:styles)\//';
$conf['404_fast_paths'] = '/\.(?:txt|png|gif|jpeg|css|js|ico|swf|flv|cgi|bat|pl|dll|exe|asp)$/i';

I want to use this for all paths. Are there any repercussions to that?

I tried changing it to

$conf['404_fast_paths'] = '/*$/i'; 

However, this returns a warning:

Warning: preg_match() Compilation failed: nothing to repeat at offset 0 in drupal_fast_404() (line 2484 of /cms/main/includes/bootstrap.inc).

So what should the syntax look like up there to both work and not generate a warning?

Alternatively, if there isn't a solution to this specific question, is there a way I can speed up 404's for all Drupal pages, would it better to use the Fast 404 contributed module for instance?


2 Answers 2


You used "/*$/i" as regular expression, but there is nothing before the asterisk; in other words, you are not saying what can be repeated zero or more times. Valid regular expressions expressions such as "/.*/i", "/[a-zA-Z]*/i", "/(foo|bar)*/i".

drupal_fast_404() is called by drupal_deliver_html_page() when the result of menu_execute_active_handler() is MENU_NOT_FOUND, which means Drupal is asked to look for a path without any menu callback associated. drupal_fast_404() first checks that $_GET['q'] doesn't match the regular expression contained in the "404_fast_paths_exclude" Drupal variable; if it doesn't match that regular expression, then it checks $_GET['q'] matches the regular expression contained in the "404_fast_paths" Drupal variable. The default value for that variable is '/\.(?:txt|png|gif|jpe?g|css|js|ico|swf|flv|cgi|bat|pl|dll|exe|asp)$/i' which means the fast 404 page is returned when the request is for a file with the following extensions:

  • .txt
  • .png, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg
  • .css, .js
  • .ico, .swf, .flv
  • .cgi, .bat, .pl, .dll, .exe, .asp

If you want the fast 404 pages be used in any case, I would not touch the value of the "404_fast_paths_exclude" Drupal variable, and change the content of the "404_fast_paths" Drupal variable to '/.*/i', which would match any path that causes a 404 error, excluding the ones containing "styles."

  • Upvoted you, although it should be noted that this doesn't work in the context of Drupal and what I am trying to accomplish, which is why it is a Drupal question. If one uses this syntax and drupal_fast_404() called in settings.php it will return all pages as 404 Not Found. However, commenting out the drupal_fast_404() call there along with using this syntax does work (something I figured out after asking the question). Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 6:55

To exclude additional paths, this seems to work:

$conf['404_fast_paths_exclude'] = '/\/(?:styles)\/|robots\.txt|(?:another-dir)\//';

where 'another-dir' can be the child of a longer path (as is styles).

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