Sometimes we need to redirect users from an old page to a new page. Or as what sometimes happens with church web sites, from a single page for one particular ministry, to an entire subsection of pages. The only problem is client-side redirects tend to break the user’s back-button functionality.
Take for example the following snippet which one might use on a page for one’s youth ministry, let’s call it uth.html for the sake of argument. What we’ve done is put a meta tag atop the page so it will redirect to a subdomain which contains a web log chock-full of youth-related pages:
While the above example works, it can also be a bit disorienting to see one screen come up and then flash away to something else. Combine this with the loss of the back button and you can frustrate a user big league. Especially if he or she hit a link to your redirecting page accidentally.
A better way is to leave the page uth.html where it stands, and instead modify your .htaccess page to change things on the server side. For example:
RewriteRule /uth\.html$ http://youth.redlandbaptist.org
Not only does this technique keep the client’s back-button happy, but it is equally useful for those times where you’ve redesigned your site, and are removing old content, or moving old content to a new subdirectory.