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Redirect Checker

Show each step of the redirect process to check the final destination of a URL or website.

What is a URL or domain name redirect and why would you want to do it?

A redirect is a way of automatically transferring you from one webpage to another without any user interaction.

Redirects are often used in social media with short links where you do not want the link to take up too much space compared to the accompanying text, for example https://t.ly/w1lT may automatically redirect you to https://www.example.com/a-very-long-page-name.

While social media is one use case for redirects, there are many more possibilities - for example the link example.com/tv could redirect to https://www.example.com/promos/exclusive-tv-only-deal. As you can see, using a short and memorable URL can be used in offline advertising to make it easy for your customers to find a webpage and adds the benefit of being able to track how many people visit these pages to verify marketing campaign performance.

Why would you want to check redirects?

There are many reasons for wanting to check the redirection flow before visiting a link, some examples include:

User tracking - Often redirects do not go straight from the initial page to the final page but take many steps along the way before reaching the final destination page. They can either redirect you to another page within the same website (domain name) or to another website or domain name altogether. This chain of redirects gives the opportunity for each intermediate site to track your behavior, set cookies, etc. This is often used in affiliate marketing where links contain codes which give publishers a portion of revenue for each referral they make.

Avoiding malware - It is possible for a redirect to take you from https://www.safe-site.com to https://www.first-evil-site.com/ to https://www.second-evil-site.com/virus. This chain of redirects gives the opportunity for each intermediate site to potentially deliver your browser harmful malware. Checking URLs for redirects before visiting them can uncover unwanted behavior.

Validating redirects - Web developers often need to check for redirects when building websites or online applications. Checking for redirects can sometimes be a frustrating problem because certain types of redirects like to cache their results which can be hard to clear and ensure things are still behaving as expected.

Discovering redirect loops - Checking redirects can also be useful if you get yourself into a redirect loop. This is where page1 redirects to page2, but page2 then redirects back to page1 resulting in an endless loop of redirects.

Removing intermediate redirects - Often redirects will redirect to redirects and can be chained many times until browsers give up. Each time a page is requested, additional overhead is created and slows down the total response time. If the redirect goes to another domain name, then this will also initiate an additional DNS lookup adding even more time to the response. If you can have the first step on a long redirect chain go directly to the final destination, you can improve response times and ensure browsers don't give up before reaching the final destination.

How do you check for redirects?

Checking the redirection steps of a URL is easy. You simply enter the initial URL or domain name into the search box at the top of the page and press the check redirects button. The tool will automatically visit the page, check if there is a redirect and what type of redirect it is and continue to the next page, repeating the process until the final page does not redirect any further.

The redirect checker tool on this page will allow you to see the full redirect process of any URL. It is considered the more verbose and technical version of the simpler URL unshortener tool which simply shows the final destination without any of the technical details.

How do you find the status code of a redirect?

When requesting a webpage, the website will respond with a HTTP status code - this code indicates the redirect type.

The underlying HTTP request and response may look something like the following (shortened to include the relevant sections only):

GET /about HTTP/1.1
Host: google.com
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://www.google.com/about

There are many different types of redirects but the most common are outlined below:

301 Moved Permanently - This indicates that the page requested has moved permanently and will not be returning. Browsers will remember this status, and if visiting the original URL again will not send the request to the server asking for the page but will automatically make the request to the destination in which it was moved. 301 redirects are the preferred redirect type that web developers use for SEO purposes when moving a page to a new location. This tells search engines to give all the value of the old page to the new page.

302 Found - This type of redirect is a little vague, as it indicates that the page requested as found but it is at another location. This type of redirect is often used in place of a temporary redirect where the initial page will likely come back in the future. This is often used when a webpage is under maintenance.

307 Temporary Redirect - This redirect is very specific that the page is temporary redirected and should not have the result remembered in the browser as the original page will come back at some point.

Example Redirects

The links below can be used to demonstrate the functionality of this tool.

https://www.whatsmydns.net/example-301-redirect - 301 redirect

https://www.whatsmydns.net/example-302-redirect - 302 redirect

https://www.whatsmydns.net/example-307-redirect - 307 redirect

https://www.whatsmydns.net/example-multi-redirect - Multiple redirect

https://t.ly/w1lT - URL shortener redirect

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