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Mod Rewrite


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Nick_D

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 01:59 PM

We are shortly revamping our website which is in asp and we do not want to change the current urls (including file extensions).

One of the possible developers is proposing to write in php and has said the urls won't change; even though they'll be written in php he will mod rewrite them using Apache at server level so that the change will be invisible to search engines etc, and all previous links to the site will not be affected.

Is this correct, could the changeover be seemless without having to go through a re-index period?

Thanks for any advice,

Nick

#2 Randy

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:42 AM

Sure. Assuming the server supports mod_rewrite. The issue there being that typically .asp is on an IIS server. There is an Apache ASP module, but it's not quite the same as Microsoft's ASP. And IIS typically doesn't support mod_rewrite quite the same way a *nix server does unless some extra things are installed.

So the first question would be what kind of server is the site hosted on. Unix/Linux or IIS?

For that matter, the domain could be configured so that no mod_rewrite was even necessary. Meaning it could be set up at the domain level so that files with a .asp extension could be sent through the php parser.

There are a few different ways to do it. Though honestly these days I'm usually inclined to simply 301 redirect to the new real page addresses than to put the server under additional strain by rewriting every page url. The re-index period is so short these days I just don't see much if any outage if the 301's are set up properly.

#3 Nick_D

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 08:01 AM

Hi Randy,

thanks for the reply.

The server is IIS 6.0.
Could you possibly explain ( in not too technical terms if that's possible) the bit about

"set up at the domain level so that files with a .asp extension could be sent through the php parser."

We do not have a dedicated server, would this have any implication?

If we set up instant 301 redirects I thought that page rank (not necessarily TBPR) took 4 months to transfer?

Regards,

Nick

#4 Randy

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:09 AM

You're out of my area of expertise when you start talking about IIS servers. I understand them, but I don't run any. And like with all computers there are different ways to set them up. Long story short you're probably not going to have access to either .htaccess or true mod_rewrite as I know it. IIS doesn't support those natively. To get some for of mod_rewrite would require the ISAPI filters be installed on the server. ISAPI may or may not be on the server since there is a cost associated with making it available.

Since it's not a dedicated server you'll want to get in touch with your host to see if having .asp files sent to the php parser instead of the normal asp parser is possible. I assume you've clarified with your developer that he means the extensions are not going to change also? It's possible he's talking just about the file name and not the extension. If he's truly talking about the full file name and path remaining the same, and your host confirms they can have .asp files sent to the php engine, you should be okay. But if either of those isn't true you're probably going to be left doing some redirects from the .asp files to .php files.

FTR, it may take some time to get everything back in order where the search engines are concerned if you end up using 301 redirects. But it's a lot closer to being an immediate type of thing these days than it was even a couple of years ago. For good or ill, I end up getting called in on projects like this far too often. I just helped out on one a few weeks ago where the entire structure of a site was changing because they were changing their cart. My experience is if you make sure to mind your p's and q's with the redirects there is basically zero outage time. I haven't even seen abnormal traffic or ranking fluctuations with any of the redirects I've had to do in the last year or so. But I do make sure to redirect to the most related page I can.

#5 Nick_D

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:18 PM


Randy,

thankyou for the information, advice and your expertise.

Regards,

Nick

#6 Alan Perkins

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 03:48 AM

QUOTE(Nick_D)
The server is IIS 6.0.


Sure the current server is IIS 6.0, but is the new server? When I see this...

QUOTE
One of the possible developers is proposing to write in php and has said the urls won't change; even though they'll be written in php he will mod rewrite them using Apache at server level so that the change will be invisible to search engines etc, and all previous links to the site will not be affected.


... that says to me this developer plans to write the site on a *nix/Apache/PHP platform, and use mod_rewrite to handle requests for the old asp file extensions (something that would be best done with a 404 handler IMO).

To answer your original question:

QUOTE
Is this correct, could the changeover be seemless without having to go through a re-index period?


The answer is multi-part:
  • Yes, the changeover could be seamless (or almost seamless) if handled correctly
  • No, you would need to re-index but this is not a worry as re-indexing is happening all of the time anyway





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