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Context: As you might know, Wordpress' permalink structure enforces a trailing slash at the end of URLs (so /about becomes /about/ etc.)

I've always found this useful -- keeps URLs nice and uniform.

My client's Wordpress site is hosted on Pantheon, which seems great except for one thing:

Their platform runs on Nginx, and for whatever reason that means the trailing slash permalink rule is not enforceable. (according to their support).

This means /about and /about/ both render in the browser. The canonical tag is set and points to /about/ -- but to me, that's still messy.

Support's best answer was for me to write PHP redirects (which would have to be done on a 1:1 basis, for every URL on the site. This, to me, is not acceptable. It's a basic issue and should be solvable -- but it's apparently not with Nginx.

I'm considering moving the site to a Linux host in order to resolve this issue, but I can't find any definitive info on this.

Is it beneficial for SEO to solve the trailing slash issue and move to an Apache host? Or would it be a negligible improvement since there are already canonical tags (self-referencing) in place?

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The SEO benefits of redirecting to add trailing slashes would be negligible. The existing canonical tags take care of the issue sufficiently.

  • All the links on the site should have the trailing slash.
  • All the URLs in the XML sitemap should have the trailing slash.
  • The canonical tag will point search engines to the trailing slash if search engine bots ever find the version without it.

Most of the time search engine bots won't ever try to fetch the URLs without trailing slashes. The only reason they would is if they found links to them. Even if they fetch without the trailing slash, they will be directed by the canonical URL to index your preferred URL with the trailing slash.

In the worst case, search engines might choose not to honor the canonical tag. They might choose the version without the trailing slash as the version they index. Even that wouldn't be a problem. It shouldn't hurt SEO. Users will still get sent a working version of the page.

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