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Creating a redirect page

This is one that comes in handy a lot. Like many things in computing there are a number of ways to accomplish this. My favorite though is one fo the simplest.

But first, it’s probably worth asking why you would want a redirect page and just clarify what I mean. Let’s say you’ve moved your main site entry page. It used to be homepage.html and now it’s index.php. You don’t want traffic to be going to homepage.html and browsing the old site, or you want to get rid of it entirely and make them come to index.php. If they just bookmarked your domain name it’s probably no big deal, the webserver will automatically serve up the correct page, but IF they bookmarked homepage.html specifically (www.yourdomain.com/homepage.html) then your visitors will see an error 404 page not found. Some might be clever and remove the page name looking to see what else is there, but don’t count on that.

So you want a page that takes someone visiting it (say we name it homepage.html) and moves them to your main page. Here’s an easy way.

Create a very simple web document…

<html>
<head>

</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

That’s the minimum we need for a blank web page. Now, between <head> and </head> add a line like this.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” CONTENT=”5; URL=http://pageoraddressyouwanttoredirectto”>
</meta>

Basically this is a meta tag that redirects the browser automatically. It takes two variables after Content…. the first is how many seconds before the redirect and the second is the address that you’re redirecting to. Now, if you want someone to read a message on the page, you might choose 10 or 15 seconds. If you just want to move them, I’ll choose 0 sometimes. 5 is enough to read the text that we might place to explain.

Between the <body> and </body> tags insert a line like this.

<p> You are being redirected to the correct page. If you’re browser doesn’t automatically redirect please click the link below </p>
<a href=”http://pageoraddressyouwanttoredirectto”>My new Page</a>

At this point save it and your done. Of course, you can get fancier, theme it to match your new site, add a title, etc. etc. But it can be a VERY simple start and maybe hang on to those that are following outdated links (or search engine crawlers that might reindex your site.)

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Posted by on July 26, 2005.

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Categories: Web Hosting

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