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How not to clobber your redirects

Written by Kristina Bethea
Customer Success Engineer at MindTouch
This page applies to:MindTouch Responsive

If you are planning on moving content around or renaming pages, your biggest concerns are likely persistent redirects and links so that your users can get to the content they were expecting to find. Your web analytics and users are not fond of 404 (page not found) messages, and neither are we. So, there are some things to consider when moving and renaming pages if you want to avoid clobbering your redirected pages and links.

In this article read about the following scenarios:

Redirect clobbering explained

Redirect clobbering? What is that?! You most likely encounter a redirect clobbering when you come across broken redirects and links on your site. Admittedly, it can be pretty difficult to understand why your site has broken links when redirecting to an existing page. Doesn't MindTouch automatically update redirects? Yes! But there are scenarios that can break your redirects, which may lead to broken links.


Getting a warning to contact MindTouch Support?

As you'll find in this article, there a few ways to potentially clobber a redirect within MindTouch, which can lead to broken links within your content. If you're seeing the following warning (or a variation thereof), realize that you're being alerted to a redirect clobber:

If you see this warning while performing basic operations, we recommend reaching out to MindTouch Support to discuss the operation you're trying to perform. Our team will be more than happy to work with you to ensure you can successfully move forward without clobbering any redirects. Don't hesitate to contact us!

Contact MindTouch Support

What happens when you rename a page

When you rename a page, you may think that all you do is change some words in a title, but renaming affects so much more. Renaming a page causes a page to be redirected to a new URL. The redirect happens without you knowing. MindTouch takes care of the redirect behind the scenes. All you have to do is rename the page, and anyone accessing the page via the original URL is automatically redirected to the new page. So, if you keep in mind that renaming a page essentially puts redirects in place, you have to also keep in mind that renaming pages can have huge consequences for content that links to the page and the page's children

Action #1  You rename page A1 (with child a1) to A2.

Original parent page Original parent URL Renamed parent page Redirected parent URL
 A1  https://domain/location/A1  A2
(formerly A1)
(redirected from https://domain/location/A1)
Original child page Original child URL Child page title (unaffected) Redirected child URL (affected)
       a1   https://domain/location/A1/a1        a1 https://domain/location/A2/a1
(redirected from https://domain/location/A1/a1)

Expected result

  • The child page is redirected along with its parent. 
  • Any user visiting the original parent page URL https://domain/location/A1 is automatically redirected to https://domain/location/A2
  • Users visiting either https://domain/location/A1 or https://domain/location/A2 will see the original parent page.
  • Any user visiting the original child page URL https://domain/location/A1/a1 is automatically redirected to https://domain/location/A2/a1.
  • Users visiting either https://domain/location/A1/a1 or https://domain/location/A2/a1 will see the original child page.


What happens when you give a page the original title of a renamed page

important note   If you give a page the same title as a redirected page, you are essentially replacing the redirected page, and any redirect on that page is voided.

During the structuring of your MindTouch site a lot of moving and renaming can occur. One of the actions that can cause redirects to fail and links to be broken is if new pages get the same as a page that is being redirected. 

Action #1  You renamed page A1 and thus redirected the page and its child a1 (see the previous section on renaming a page).

Action #2  Create a new page with the title A1.

Redirected parent page Redirected parent URL Newly created page New page URL
(formerly A1)
(redirected from https://domain/location/A1)
(overwrites the original page at https://domain/location/A1 and its redirect)
Redirected child page Redirected child URL    
       a1   https://domain/location/A2/a1
(redirected from https://domain/location/A1/a1)


Expected result

important note   Redirect clobbered!

  • The newly created page at https://domain/location/A1 overwrites the original page along with its redirect.
  • The redirect from the original parent page https://domain/location/A1 to https://domain/location/A2 is voided
  • Any user visiting https://domain/location/A1 sees the newly created page
  • Any user visiting https://domain/location/A2 sees the original parent page
  • The original child page at URL https://domain/location/A1/a1 no longer exists, and users will encounter a 404 (page not found).
  • Any user visiting https://domain/location/A2/a1. sees the original child page.



What happens when you promote and rename a child to its former parent 

During your structure tasks, you may find yourself in the position of moving a page that has child pages and then later moving the child page up in the hierarchy and renaming it to its former parent page.

Action #1  You move page A1 with child a1 to another location on your site.

Original parent page Original parent URL Moved parent page Moved parent URL
 A1  https://domain/location1/A1  A1 https://domain/location2/A1
(redirected from https://domain/location1/A1)
Original child page Original child URL Moved child page Moved child URL
       a1   https://domain/location1/A1/a1        a1   https://domain/location2/A1/a1
(redirected from https://domain/location1/A1/a1)

Expected result  

  • The parent page A1 and its child page a1 are moved (and thus redirected) to its new location.
  • The original parent page  https://domain/location1/A1 is redirected to https://domain/location2/A1. 
  • Users visiting either https://domain/location1/A1 or https://domain/location1/A2 will see the original parent page.
  • The original child page https://domain/location1/A1/a1 is redirected to https://domain/location2/A1/a1.
  • Users visiting either https://domain/location1/A1/a1 or https://domain/location2/A1/a1 will see the original child page.



Action #2  You move (promote) child a1 from location2 to its parent's original location1 and simultaneously rename it to the parent's original name A1.

Moved parent page Moved parent URL Moved (promoted) and renamed child page New URL of moved (promoted) and renamed child page 
(see Action #1)
(redirected from https://domain/location1/A1)
(formerly a1 at
ormerly at https://domain/location2/A1/a1; overwrites the original parent page at https://domain/location1/A1 and its redirect)
Moved child page Moved child URL   Child page
(see Action #1) 
(redirected from https://domain/location1/A1/a1)


Expected result

important note   Redirect clobbered!

  • The newly moved child page URL  https://domain/location2/A1/a1 is redirected to https://domain/location1/A1.
  • The newly moved child page at https://domain/location1/A1 overwrites the original parent page along with its redirect.
  • The redirect from the original parent page https://domain/location1/A1 to https://domain/location2/A1 is voided
  • Any user visiting https://domain/location1/A1 sees the newly moved child page. 
  • Any user visiting https://domain/location2/A1 sees the now no longer redirected parent page. 
  • The original child page at URL https://domain/location1/A1/a1 no longer exists, and users will encounter a 404 (page not found).


What's next

Learn how to manually add a redirect in MindTouch.


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