URL redirection, also called URL forwarding, is a World Wide Web
technique for making a web page available under more than one URL
address. When a web browser attempts to open a URL that already has been
redirected, a page with a different URL is opened. For example,
www.example.com is redirected to example.iana.org. Similarly, Domain
redirection or domain forwarding is when all pages in a URL domain are
redirected to a different domain, as when wikipedia.com and
wikipedia.net are automatically redirected to wikipedia.org. URL
redirection can be used for URL shortening, to prevent broken links when
web pages are moved, to allow multiple domain names belonging to the
same owner to refer to a single web site, to guide navigation into and
out of a website, for privacy protection, and for less innocuous
purposes such as phishing attacks.
A user might mis-type a URL—for example, "example.com" and
"exmaple.com". Organizations often register these "mis-spelled" domains
and re-direct them to the "correct" location: example.com. The addresses
example.com and example.net could both redirect to a single domain, or
web page, such as example.org. This technique is often used to "reserve"
other top-level domains (TLD) with the same name, or make it easier for
a true ".edu" or ".net" to redirect to a more recognizable ".com"
Web pages may be redirected to a new domain for three reasons:
- A site might desire, or need, to change its domain name.
- An author might move his or her individual pages to a new domain.
- Two web sites might merge.
With URL redirects, incoming links to an outdated URL can be sent to the
correct location. These links might be from other sites that have not
realized that there is a change or from bookmarks/favorites that users
have saved in their browsers.
The same applies to search engines. They often have the older/outdated
domain names and links in their database and will send search users to
these old URLs. By using a "moved permanently" redirect to the new URL,
visitors will still end up at the correct page. Also, in the next search
engine pass, the search engine should detect and use the newer URL.
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