The Unnecessary Redirect

When a website redirects you to a new page, there’s always a slowdown. Even on a faster network, since each redirect starts a new connection, it never gets the chance to ramp up to full speed while you’re bouncing around from one intermediary to the next.

So why do so many websites redirect to index.cfm, index.asp, etc. instead of just changing the default in the site config so that www.example.com loads that page? I mean, it’s not terribly difficult, plus it makes your site easier to remember. Most importantly, it won’t break people’s bookmarks and links if you change the tech you’re using (from ColdFusion to ASP, or from ASP.Net to PHP, etc.)

Consider this scenario:

  1. Build site in PHP.
  2. Make home page redirect to http://www.example.com/index.php.
  3. Get lots of people to bookmark and link to http://www.example.com/index.php.
  4. Rebuild site in ColdFusion.
  5. Redirect home page to http://www.example.com/index.cfm.
  6. Watch all those old links and bookmarks break. Gee, I hope you have a good 404 page!
  7. Of course, you can fix it by adding another redirect….

Redirects have a lot of uses: keeping old links viable, sending downloads to the right mirror, correcting obvious typos, providing aliases that you expect people to guess…the list goes on. Even URL shorteners have their place. But this one is pretty much pointless.

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