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Minimize Redirects

Minimize Redirects

What is a Redirect?

It is a method that is used to take the visitor from one URL to another URL. Redirecting can be done in several ways but each method affects the page loading speed. 

Reason why redirects are used?

  • To direct the user to the new location of a resource. 
  • Tracking the clicks, and impressions and log referring pages.
  • To retain multiple domains, and allow for "user-friendly" or "vanity" domains and URLs.
  • To create a connection between the various country-code top-level domains, between different parts of a site or application, different security policies, different protocols.
  • Adding trailing slash to URL directory names to make content accessible to browser.

The reason to apply redirects may be crucial from your point of view but it It is imperative to reduce the number of redirects especially for resources that are needed to start your homepage. You should avoid it in every possible case except when it is technically unavoidable. 

How redirects affect the page load speed?

Redirects adds round-trip-time latency and triggers additional HTTP requests and consequently causes the pages to load slower. These are one single most time waster in the code.

Primarily mobile users are greatly affected by the number of redirects because they are not using a reliable network as compared to the desktop users.

Server-Side Redirects (Fast & Cachable)

There are two common redirects 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary). These both server side redirects that use HTTP in order to explain that a page and resource has moved. Web browser is able to handle these types of redirects quickly than the client-side redirects. 

Client-Side Redirects (Slow & Non-Cacheable)

Redirects such as http-equiv="refresh" attribute or javascript can create performance issues and add longer waiting times. Therefore, these should be avoided in all the possible cases. 

What type of redirects assist in SEO?

Most preferred redirect on the web is 301 redirect. This type redirects the site from non-www to www version of the webpage. This type of redirect is recommended to aid Google in understanding the site in a better way.

Google suggestions…

  • Avoid linking of linking that has redirect on it. This is the case when you have manually created a link but has not changed the text link pointing to the new resource. 
  • No need to create more than one redirect to get to any of the resources. 

Points to consider…

  • Webpage not only loads the HTML, but it also loads other files such as CSS files, images and external scripts. It is important to ensure that all resources are being called in a manner that they do not create a redirect. This means that if your site is using "www", ensure that you are calling CSS, JS and other files using "www"
  • Do check the old redirects in .htaccess file or other server configuration files. It may happen that the redirects may exist for content that does not even exist anymore.

How to remove redirects?

To remove the redirects follow the steps below:

  1. Search the redirect.
  2. Check the reason of its existence
  3. Check how it is affecting others or others are affecting it.
  4. Remove if not required
  5. Update the redirect if is affecting others or others are affected by it.
  6. Use HSTS to remove SSL redirect. 

Clean the redirect chains

This means there may be a case when you have a redirect from non-www to www but later on you directed to https version. 

For instance: A user typing "example.com" is redirected to "www.example.com" then redirects to "https:www.example.com"   Here you need to ensure that non-www should not redirect to www but instead to https directly.

Conclusion

This means article discussed the importance of certain redirects and the downsides of keeping a large number of redirects. This article also suggested the ways in which redirects can be avoided and thus becoming a factor in improving the performance of the site. 

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