Understanding Redirects

What is a Redirect?

A redirect is a behind-the-scenes instruction that a website provides to a visitor's browser letting the browser know the original URL location requested is actually named something else or located somewhere else, and it sends the browser to that new location.

Redirect Gotchas

The redirect system does NOT work with files of any type UNLESS the original file no longer exists on the site.

Why would you use a Redirect?
  • A page has changed location within a site
    • /blog/article1 is now located at /news/article1
  • The site's domain name (oldsitename.com) has changed (newsitename.com)
    • oldsitename.com changes to newsitename.com
  • A page has changed its name
    • /research/facultyperson-hall changes to /research/mrak-hall
  • A page no longer exists, the link is broken, or visitors commonly enter a URL that is close to the actual URL but is incorrect so it fails
    • proactively create a redirect to send the visitor to a useful location in your site
  • A vanity URL needs to be changed when changing domains
    • https://oldsitename.ucdavis.edu/conference to https://conference.newsite.ucdavis.edu
Types of Redirects
  • Internal Redirect
    • a page changes its name inside the same domain
    • a page changes its location inside the same domain
    • Documentation
  • Domain Redirects
    • the domain has changed and specific pages need to be directed to a new spot
    • a vanity URL needs to be updated
    • Documentation
  • Fix 404 pages
  • Create a Custom 404 Page for your site
    • A passive, useful means of helping visitors who land on your page to have a better chance of locating the information they are looking for.
    • Documentation