I just wanted to clarify something; my boss often messes up and tells a customer to go to a specific directory; i.e. mysite.co.uk/directory/ instead of the actual correct URL mysite.co.uk/this_page.html.

As the customer is normally about to look at the page I add a 301 redirect in the .htaccess page so it redirects them from the non-existent directory to the correct page.

Is this a sensible idea, will it eventually lead to slowing down the load time of the website and does it affect any SEO or ranking?

  • 1
    It's probably more sensible than telling your boss that he's doing something wrong ;-) I don't think the redirect would impact your website or SEO performance.
    – dan
    Oct 3, 2013 at 15:37
  • Haha, I have told him, he's not a IT inclined person though and gets bored... @Zistoloen was it Necessary to add in some of those edits, some of them are eactly the same as they were?
    – Switchfire
    Oct 3, 2013 at 15:59
  • @Switchfire: community works to force one formatting for all posts to keep the website homogeneous.
    – Zistoloen
    Oct 3, 2013 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


will it eventually lead to slowing down the load time of the website

Adding thousands of rules to your .htaccess file is not a good idea. If the .htaccess file gets too big, then it could impact the performance of the webserver. I routinely see .htaccess files with hundreds of lines and they perform just fine. You would have to add lots of these rules to get to the point where there would be performance problems.

does it affect any SEO or ranking

Google will likely never know that these redirects are in place as they are meant just for users that are told about incorrect URLs. As such, there is almost no chance that they will affect how your site ranks either positively or negatively. If somebody does link to one of these URLs that redirects, then Googlebot could find that URL and crawl it. In such a case, having the redirect is better than not having it because Googlebot would otherwise encounter a 404 error and not pass authority to your website from the link.

Besides adding redirects to your .htaccess, you could think about enabling MultiViews on your Apache server. With MultiViews, /this_page.html can also be accessed as /this_page which might eliminate the need for many of your redirects. Unfortunately, MultiViews creates duplicate content by serving the same page at different URLs instead of issuing redirects. From an SEO standpoint, you'd want to make sure you have rel canonical meta tags on all your pages before you started using MultiViews.


I think it may impact your SEO performance: when Google get 404 responce and at the same time 301 responce, it may make it think you try to manipulate some factors, and it may cause some sanctions.

  • 5
    You can't get a 301 and 404. You get one or the other. Oct 4, 2013 at 13:56

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