We all know the pain of clicking on a link and getting the dreaded “404 Error: Page Not Found”. It usually happens when someone links to someone else’s webpage and then that page is renamed or deleted. The Web is an ever-evolving source of tons of information, so we shouldn’t keep old pages around just to make sure this never happens. But what do you do when you do rename or delete a page? How do you update all those old links?
The answer is: you don’t have to! That’s right – through the magic of web server configuration, we can seamlessly hijack requests for nonexistent pages and send visitors to the new location!
Here, try it out. After you click on this link to the old Office of Student Activities website (http://www.iwu.edu/studact/), take a look at the URL bar in your browser. You’ve been seamlessly redirected to the new page!
But wait – there’s more!
Let’s say you’re making a poster or a mailing, and you want to link to a really awesome YouTube video. You wouldn’t expect readers to manually type in a URL like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FWUp2HCxr8, would you? Of course not! So, what do you do?
Here’s the solution:
- Copy and paste the old or complicated URL into an email.
- Figure out what you want the simpler new URL to be (and make sure it doesn’t already exist). It has to begin with iwu.edu.
- Send me an email!
As soon as I see your email, I’ll add it to the server configuration and you’ll be all set!
Some other examples of redirects we already have in place:
- http://www.iwu.edu/facebook takes you to http://www.facebook.com/illinoiswesleyan
- http://www.iwu.edu/gift takes you to https://secure.imodules.com/s/653/index.aspx?sid=653&gid=1&pgid=963&cid=1878
- http://www.iwu.edu/economics/about/Major_Requirements.html takes you to http://www.iwu.edu/economics/courses/
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or comment on this blog post.