Invalid patterns of exclusions

Certain patterns of exclusions cannot be handled and are automatically removed.

If you add invalid patterns, you will see the following admin notice:

invalid patterns notice

WP Rocket: The following pattern is invalid and has been removed.

This is because the exclusion fields are looking for a Regular Expression (regex) pattern. When that includes characters that have a special meaning, it can cause problems with the regex and will generate a warning in the website's error log.

The following are the special characters that may invalidate a pattern:

  • backslash: \
  • caret: ^
  • dollar sign: $
  • period or dot: .
  • vertical bar or pipe symbol: |
  • question mark: ?
  • asterisk or star: *
  • plus sign: +
  • opening parenthesis: (
  • closing parenthesis: )
  • opening square bracket: [
  • opening curly brace: {

If you need the Regular Expression to match literally any of the listed special characters, you should escape them by prepending them with a backslash \.


The following are examples of exclusions with special characters correctly validated:

  • unmatched\)closing\)parenthesis
  • my\(exclusions\]pattern

In a specific example, to match a script like the following:

		window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
		function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
		gtag('js', new Date());
		gtag('set', 'developer_id.dOGY3NW', true);

		gtag('config', 'UA-40478734-1', {
			'allow_google_signals': false,
			'link_attribution': false,
			'anonymize_ip': true,
		} );

If you choose to exclude this script from Delay JavaScript Execution and use  gtag( to do, you'll need to escape the parenthesis for the regular expression to match the script: gtag\(.

But if you want to exclude all files in the /wp-content/ directory you'll need to use (.*) without escaping, i.e. adding a backslash, the parenthesis:


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