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A URL redirect is a webserver function that sends a user from one URL to another. Redirects commonly take the form of an automated redirect that uses one of a series of status codes defined within the HTTP protocol.
A URL redirect may also be known as an HTTP code 3xx redirect, URL forwarding, domain redirection and domain forwarding.
Web users may be redirected from one URL to another for a variety of reasons, including:
Redirects can also be used for nefarious activities such as phishing or other attempts to cause problems for users and their computers. Redirects have also been used to subvert the results of search engine queries, but most search engines are now able to detect such attempts.
The various HTTP protocol 3xx series codes are the most common way to redirect a Web page and are embedded in the HTML of the page. Members of this series have the following attributes:
When a website visitor is redirected to a newly named website domain, the website address acquires a new URL. Businesses often transform their website’s original home page into a redirect page with a concurrent message briefly describing the redirect. Behind the scenes, a meta refresh tag is embedded into the website’s source code. Without a redirect, regular website visitors would receive a "404 - Not Found" error message.
Redirection can take place via a redirection service that operates through software to bring shorter link names to users. Permalinks are a type of redirection service.