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301 Redirects, www and Non-www
What should we do - what can we expect?
webconnoisseur




msg:736172
 7:28 pm on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

There's been a lot of talk about using a 301 redirect so there aren't two versions of your site out there (www.widgets.com and widegets.com) - I believe it is also a way to avoid being hijacked. It seems like everyone is doing it now.

I have a couple things I would like to clarify on 301's via this example:

A site currently has no redirect - google sees both widgets.com (PR 7) and www.widgets.com (PR 6).

It seems like this site should do a 301 redirect to widgets.com (the higher PR ranking).

Here are my questions:
1) Might this give the site an overall boost in PR?
2) What is the short-term effect of making this change (could it change your rankings and for how long)?
3) Is www. better than non-www?

Also, if you recently made this change yourself - how did it go? Thanks for your help!

 

promis




msg:736262
 3:39 pm on Aug 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

My 380 supplemental results for non-www pages have toaday vanished from Google. I had set up a 301 redirect only 10 days ago from non-www to www.

g1smd




msg:736263
 6:47 pm on Aug 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

You might find that some of them come back for a week or two from time to time as Google juggles with the data that they have. Don't be alarmed if that happens. It will fix itself again after a while.

promis




msg:736264
 8:00 pm on Aug 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tip g1smd.

nfinland




msg:736265
 11:50 am on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I´m sorry if this is already mentioned (I could not find it anyway):

If one has a www.domain.com and the non www doesn´t show anything (or a error page) should one then also do a 301 redirect?

Thanks!

netfast




msg:736266
 1:23 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

dont worry

g1smd




msg:736267
 3:11 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

You only need the redirect if there are two different URLs that lead to the same content.

Sam1234




msg:736268
 5:47 pm on Aug 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks again to everyone for their advice. Can anyone recommend an ISP that allows 301 redirects with IIS and Front Page?

joergnw10




msg:736269
 1:23 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,
This is my second attempt to tackle the 301 issue (sort of stuck my head in the sand for a while, as I couldn't figure out how to do it).
My site is hosted on an NT server, the host says they can't do a 301 redirect for me and I don't have access to the server or a control panel or anything like that.
All my pages are html.
My idea was to change the intex.htm to index.asp and then put the code for the redirect on that page. Tried it and it didn't work. Did I have the wrong idea? Or if this should work - does anyone have the correct code to redirect non-www to www in asp?
Thanks!

Dayo_UK




msg:736270
 1:28 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>You only need the redirect if there are two different URLs that lead to the same content.

On different domains or sub-domains (I think)

Someone can back me up or rubbish that though.

joergnw10




msg:736271
 1:42 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I read I need the redirect if both versions are accessible. My site is listed in Google with and without "www" and I Suspect it would do much better if I could do this 301. My sites SERPS are rubbish in Google but really good everywhere else.

jlander




msg:736272
 6:23 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have the same problem as Joe. Last night I dispatched an email to my host and they responded that they do not support 301 redirects.

Hi Jim,

We do not support 301 Redirects. We do have an option for web forwarding. Web Forwarding allows you to point your domain name to any pre-existing web address.

For instance, you can have the domain yourdomain.com be forwarded to www.yourotherdomain.com/news.
The domain name will redirect (change from yourdomain.com to yourotherdomain.com when the website loads)

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

My question is this: If I have mydomain.com forwarded to www.mydomain.com/301.asp and put the 301 redirect back to www.mydomain.com, will that work?

g1smd




msg:736273
 6:55 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>> You only need the redirect if there are two different URLs that lead to the same content. <<<<

>> On different domains or sub-domains (I think) <<

>> Someone can back me up or rubbish that though. <<

If you have domain.com/sompage.html and www.domain.com/somepage.html then you need a redirect.

If you have www.domain.com/oldfolder/thepage.html and www.domain.com/newfolder/samepage.html then you also need a redirect.

You only need the redirect if there are two different URLs that lead to the same content.

oddsod




msg:736274
 7:08 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

My idea was to change the intex.htm to index.asp

That won't work. Two things to be aware of here.
1. If you put the code on an asp page it's going to be a 302 redirect rather than a 301 and that has the potential to cause you a lot more misery. The server has to return the 301 code before showing the page. If you put code on an asp page the server won't show a 301 - it'll show a 200 and the bot will get to the asp page and see a 302. The result the server returns when the bot asks for a page is a lower level result (for want of a better expression).
2. Avoid changing files to asp just so you can put a 302 in there (you can do a 302 just as easily in a htm file). asp will cause you more headaches than it is worth. If you ever want to move to a non-Windows hosting company they'll have to provide something like chillisoft to render your asp pages and chillisoft mangles the URLs like you won't believe. Don't change file extensions lightly.

301 is a problem with Windows hosts. They won't give you admin access and they don't want to do anything manually for fearing of destabilising everything. Google ISAPI_REWRITE. If your host won't install something like that for you - get the hell out and find another hosting company. I had the same problem, it's getting ridiculous with some of these Windows hosts.

I have a theory [webmasterworld.com] that you're more likely to face a dup content penalty if you're on Windows hosting than on Apache.

You only need the redirect if there are two different URLs that lead to the same content.

If I may add another example to your two excellent ones:
http://www.domain.com/index.htm and
http://www.domain.com/index.html and
http://www.domain.com/default.htm and
http://www.domain.com/index.asp
are all different pages. And if Google has found more than one index page in root you'll have even more problems than the standard www/non-www issue.

joergnw10




msg:736275
 7:44 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that, very helpful. I think I will change hosts then, as my contract is up for renewal in a couple of months time. Are there any potential problems changing from a Windows server to a different type?

g1smd




msg:736276
 8:19 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you go with Apache you will be able to configure a lot more things, and fix problems like this with a few lines of code in special files that handle redirects, set up password access for folders, block hot-linkers, and many more things.

Just do it.

DaveAtIFG




msg:736277
 8:26 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Be aware that an Apache server (and any other server) on a *nix op system is case sensitive and Windows servers are not. If you have been careless regarding case and directory names or file names, you could encounter numerous broken links when moving your site.

g1smd




msg:736278
 9:29 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I always check sites using Xenu LinkSleuth to find those sorts of problems.

joergnw10




msg:736279
 10:43 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's interesting. I use Dreamweaver - maybe you would be able to set it up to check the links?
But I will definitely change from the Windows server and my current host, even if I had to check every link myself.
Just for fun, here are the emails I received from my host when asking to set something up to redirect the "non-www" to the "www" for SEO-reasons:

1. "You will not need to have a redirect as your domain name will work with or with out the www."

After more detailed explanations:

2. "301 redirects do not work with our NT hosting only are UN and you would have to put them in place your self."

Well, if this is all they can come up with after I asked them for some help before renewing the contract.....

g1smd




msg:736280
 10:59 pm on Aug 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Pretty useless,...

... and fairly typical.

claus




msg:736281
 1:04 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Uhm... If you're on a Win server you typically have your dynmic files coded as "asp" or something. Those will generally not work on a *Nix server, as there you'll be using "php" or something else in stead.

However, if you just use non-dynamic files (as plain HTML + javascript + CSS) then there's no problem.

joergnw10




msg:736282
 4:47 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

thanks claus,
my pages are indeed just in html.

twebdonny




msg:736283
 4:31 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}!^www\.mydomain\.com
RewriteRule (.*) [mydomain.com...] [R=301,L]

works on all subdirectories, but not on root directory

how should I edit this so that the main directory
and the pages within it are forwarded?

Thanks

M0nKeY




msg:736284
 4:45 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

The stuff at the beginning of the thread about what your 404 page says is bunk, at least when it comes to apache.
It has no bearing on anything if your using a name based virtual server when "UseCanonicalName" is Off (the default, its very rare that anyone would ever have UseCanonicalName on).

ServerName foo.com
ServerAlias www.foo.com

acts exactly the same as

ServerName www.foo.com
ServerAlias foo.com

Most security conscious admins set ServerSignature Off so no domain is returned at all anyways. Why would you want everyone seeing what server your running and what modules you have installed?

M0nKeY




msg:736285
 4:53 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

twebdonny, this works fine on my domains including the root.

Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}!^www\.mydomain\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.mydomain.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]

twebdonny




msg:736286
 5:04 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ok, Thanks that does seem to be working now.

Anyone have any entries for preventing
dynamic pages, ie www.mydomain.com/?anytexthere
from being served?

Thanks

claus




msg:736287
 11:36 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Anyone have any entries for preventing dynamic pages, ie
>> www.mydomain.com/?anytexthere from being served?

I think you will find my post here most helpful:

How to catch a query string with Apache [webmasterworld.com]

twebdonny




msg:736288
 11:55 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

awesome, works like a champ, thanks Claus

Sam1234




msg:736289
 8:49 pm on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dave & others,

Thanks for all of the helpful information. I'm taking your advice and getting a new host. The hosting company I'm leaning towards said they can do a 301 redirect using an asp.net script (we'll have a windows 2003 server).

I'm hoping this will solve our duplicate content problem and our SERP results will start improving.

needinfo




msg:736290
 9:22 pm on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

my hosting company does not support most comands used in a .htaccess file including the redirect code shown before.
Can anybody reccommend an alternative way to using a .htaccess file apart from writing code on the homepage to do the same thing which will not Google to suspect that I am doing something spammy.

P.S. For both Windows running IIS/6.0 and Linux running Apache.

johnhh




msg:736291
 11:04 pm on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Been lurking here a bit.

Claus: great link - good post - I will take some time to reread that a few times when back from holiday.

We have sites on both unix and Microsoft servers.

We persuaded - very easily - our hosting company running the Microsoft servers with IIS to add to the control panel a choice of 301 or 302 redirects when we divert from our domainname.co.uk to domainname.com

They also added what they call "liketolike" option so www.domainname.co.uk/page.htm?variable=whatever diverts to www.domainname.com/page.htm?variable=whatever

And they are working on a rewrite ( to 'friendly' URL's )option for IIS as well.

Next up on my request list will be redirect options within the .com sites to mirror *nix options.

We had less problems with www/non www pages on the IIS than on the *nix server.

So it is possible - guess it depends on how helpful the hosting co's are. Paying a bit extra is worthwhile sometimes.

Will not post the hosts co's name here as against guidelines.

As part of the original question on this thread was 1) Might this give the site an overall boost in PR?

Noticed no difference - but then I never get that worried about it.

johnhh




msg:736292
 11:15 pm on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just to add: Watch out for the lower/upper case trap - as previously posted - developing on our version of Dreamweaver in Windows will not pick them up when checking links. so windows will find filename.HTM even if the link is written to filename.htm, Unix wil not.
Still being caught by this after x years!

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