• Helping visitors with .htaccess

    May 21 2007

    When I changed all my URLs, I put in place something to email me whenever there was a 404 (page not found). This way, if I screwed up something with my forwarding, I'd know.

    It turned out that people were getting 404s mostly for one of two mistakes. Either there was spaces in the URL (an error of copying and pasting perhaps?), or there was a trailing period at the end of the URL (probably from it being part of a sentence, and the period becoming part of the URL when auto-linked).

    The two broken URLs look like this:

    http://www.thefutureoftheweb.com/blog/helping-visitors-with-htac cess
    
    http://www.thefutureoftheweb.com/blog/helping-visitors-with-htaccess.
    

    I thought I'd make things easier for people by auto-correcting these two mistakes. I added a few lines to my .htaccess file like so:

    RewriteEngine on
    
    # remove spaces in URL as a favour to visitors
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} .+\s+.+
    RewriteRule ^(.+)\s+(.+)$ /$1$2 [L,R=301]
    
    # remove trailing periods on URL as a favour to visitors
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} \.+$
    RewriteRule ^(.*)\.+$ /$1 [L,R=301]
    

    Unlike my major changes the other day, I'm not obliged to maintain these rewrites forever — after all, they are still mistakes in the URL, and I'm not giving out URLs with spaces and dots in them on purpose. However, I'd rather bring people to the correct page if I can.

  • Comments

    1. Harmen Janssen at 8:08am on May 21, 2007

    That's a nice solution!
    It adds to the usability of your website, imho.

    Bookmarked :)

    Commenting is now closed. Come find me on Twitter.