This is the documentation for the unsupported version 1.5. Please consider upgrading your code to the latest stable version

External Links Extension

This extension can detect links to external sites and adjust the markup accordingly:


This extension is bundled with league/commonmark. This library can be installed via Composer:

composer require league/commonmark

See the installation section for more details.


Configure your Environment as usual and simply add the ExternalLinkExtension provided by this package:

use League\CommonMark\CommonMarkConverter;
use League\CommonMark\Environment;
use League\CommonMark\Extension\ExternalLink\ExternalLinkExtension;

// Obtain a pre-configured Environment with all the CommonMark parsers/renderers ready-to-go
$environment = Environment::createCommonMarkEnvironment();

// Add this extension
$environment->addExtension(new ExternalLinkExtension());

// Set your configuration
$config = [
    'external_link' => [
        'internal_hosts' => '', // TODO: Don't forget to set this!
        'open_in_new_window' => true,
        'html_class' => 'external-link',
        'nofollow' => '',
        'noopener' => 'external',
        'noreferrer' => 'external',

// Instantiate the converter engine and start converting some Markdown!
$converter = new CommonMarkConverter($config, $environment);
echo $converter->convertToHtml('I successfully installed the <> project!');


This extension supports three configuration options under the external_link configuration:


This option defines a list of hosts which are considered non-external and should not receive the external link treatment.

This can be a single host name, like '', which must match exactly.

Wildcard matching is also supported using regular expression like '/(^|\.)example\.com$/'. Note that you must use / characters to delimit your regex.

This configuration option also accepts an array of multiple strings and/or regexes:

$config = [
    'external_link' => [
        'internal_hosts' => ['', '', '/(^|\.)google\.com$/],

By default, if this option is not provided, all links will be considered external.


This option (which defaults to false) determines whether any external links should open in a new tab/window.


This option allows you to provide a string containing one or more HTML classes that should be added to the external link <a> tags: No classes are added by default.

nofollow, noopener, and noreferrer

These options allow you to configure whether a rel attribute should be applied to links. Each of these options can be set to one of the following string values:

Unless you override these options, nofollow defaults to '' and the others default to 'external'.

Advanced Rendering

When an external link is detected, the ExternalLinkProcessor will set the external data option on the Link node to either true or false. You can therefore create a custom link renderer which checks this value and behaves accordingly:

use League\CommonMark\ElementRendererInterface;
use League\CommonMark\HtmlElement;
use League\CommonMark\Inline\Element\AbstractInline;
use League\CommonMark\Inline\Element\Link;
use League\CommonMark\Inline\Renderer\InlineRendererInterface;

class MyCustomLinkRenderer implements InlineRendererInterface

     * @param Link                     $inline
     * @param ElementRendererInterface $htmlRenderer
     * @return HtmlElement
    public function render(AbstractInline $inline, ElementRendererInterface $htmlRenderer)
        if (!($inline instanceof Link)) {
            throw new \InvalidArgumentException('Incompatible inline type: ' . \get_class($inline));

        if ($inline->getData('external')) {
            // This is an external link - render it accordingly
        } else {
            // This is an internal link

        // ...

Adding Icons

You can also use CSS to add a custom icon by targeting the html_class given in the configuration:

$config = [
    'external_link' => [
        'html_class' => 'external',
 * Custom SVG Icon.
a.external::after {
  display: inline-block;
  content: "";
   * Octicon Link External (
   * [Pro Tip] Use an SVG URL encoder (
  background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg xmlns='' aria-hidden='true' style='-ms-transform:rotate(360deg);-webkit-transform:rotate(360deg)' viewBox='0 0 12 16' transform='rotate(360)'%3E%3Cpath fill-rule='evenodd' d='M11 10h1v3c0 .55-.45 1-1 1H1c-.55 0-1-.45-1-1V3c0-.55.45-1 1-1h3v1H1v10h10v-3zM6 2l2.25 2.25L5 7.5 6.5 9l3.25-3.25L12 8V2H6z' fill='%23626262'/%3E%3C/svg%3E");
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-size: 1em;

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