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Rerouting Old Page Links With .htaccess

- 1 answer

I have a website which we moved from custom cms to WordPress about 2 years ago, and for the purpose of getting the old page rank back I want to set up redirects with mod_rewrite, because some page links did change, so here is my case:

  1. Old page was not secure, so we moved to https
  2. WordPress uses W3 Total Cache and Yoast SEO plugins (if that changes anything)
  3. Domain is the same as it was
  4. Final URL needs a trailing slash for a page to display properly

So basically I want to do the following (beware of minor changes in URLs):

  1. Redirect http://example.com/category_one to https://example.com/category-one/.
  2. Redirect http://example.com/category_one/sub_page_one to https://example.com/category-one/subpage-one/.

I managed to get the first of those redirects working, but the second one doesn't get rewritten, but my knowledge is limited here, so I'd be happy of a working example on how to "chain" both rewrites.

EDIT:

Here is my current .htaccess:

ErrorDocument 401 default

# BEGIN W3TC Browser Cache
<IfModule mod_mime.c>
    AddType text/css .css
    AddType text/x-component .htc
    AddType application/x-javascript .js
    AddType application/javascript .js2
    AddType text/javascript .js3
    AddType text/x-js .js4
    AddType text/html .html .htm
    AddType text/richtext .rtf .rtx
    AddType text/plain .txt
    AddType text/xsd .xsd
    AddType text/xsl .xsl
    AddType text/xml .xml
    AddType video/asf .asf .asx .wax .wmv .wmx
    AddType video/avi .avi
    AddType image/bmp .bmp
    AddType application/java .class
    AddType video/divx .divx
    AddType application/msword .doc .docx
    AddType application/vnd.ms-fontobject .eot
    AddType application/x-msdownload .exe
    AddType image/gif .gif
    AddType application/x-gzip .gz .gzip
    AddType image/x-icon .ico
    AddType image/jpeg .jpg .jpeg .jpe
    AddType image/webp .webp
    AddType application/json .json
    AddType application/vnd.ms-access .mdb
    AddType audio/midi .mid .midi
    AddType video/quicktime .mov .qt
    AddType audio/mpeg .mp3 .m4a
    AddType video/mp4 .mp4 .m4v
    AddType video/mpeg .mpeg .mpg .mpe
    AddType video/webm .webm
    AddType application/vnd.ms-project .mpp
    AddType application/x-font-otf .otf
    AddType application/vnd.ms-opentype ._otf
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.database .odb
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.chart .odc
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.formula .odf
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.graphics .odg
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.presentation .odp
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet .ods
    AddType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text .odt
    AddType audio/ogg .ogg
    AddType application/pdf .pdf
    AddType image/png .png
    AddType application/vnd.ms-powerpoint .pot .pps .ppt .pptx
    AddType audio/x-realaudio .ra .ram
    AddType image/svg+xml .svg .svgz
    AddType application/x-shockwave-flash .swf
    AddType application/x-tar .tar
    AddType image/tiff .tif .tiff
    AddType application/x-font-ttf .ttf .ttc
    AddType application/vnd.ms-opentype ._ttf
    AddType audio/wav .wav
    AddType audio/wma .wma
    AddType application/vnd.ms-write .wri
    AddType application/font-woff .woff
    AddType application/font-woff2 .woff2
    AddType application/vnd.ms-excel .xla .xls .xlsx .xlt .xlw
    AddType application/zip .zip
</IfModule>
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
    ExpiresActive On
    ExpiresByType text/css A31536000
    ExpiresByType text/x-component A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-javascript A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/javascript A31536000
    ExpiresByType text/javascript A31536000
    ExpiresByType text/x-js A31536000
    ExpiresByType text/html A3600
    ExpiresByType text/richtext A3600
    ExpiresByType text/plain A3600
    ExpiresByType text/xsd A3600
    ExpiresByType text/xsl A3600
    ExpiresByType text/xml A3600
    ExpiresByType video/asf A31536000
    ExpiresByType video/avi A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/bmp A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/java A31536000
    ExpiresByType video/divx A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/msword A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-fontobject A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-msdownload A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/gif A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-gzip A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/x-icon A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/webp A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/json A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-access A31536000
    ExpiresByType audio/midi A31536000
    ExpiresByType video/quicktime A31536000
    ExpiresByType audio/mpeg A31536000
    ExpiresByType video/mp4 A31536000
    ExpiresByType video/mpeg A31536000
    ExpiresByType video/webm A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-project A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-font-otf A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-opentype A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.database A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.chart A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.formula A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.graphics A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.presentation A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text A31536000
    ExpiresByType audio/ogg A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/pdf A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/png A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-powerpoint A31536000
    ExpiresByType audio/x-realaudio A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/svg+xml A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-tar A31536000
    ExpiresByType image/tiff A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/x-font-ttf A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-opentype A31536000
    ExpiresByType audio/wav A31536000
    ExpiresByType audio/wma A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-write A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/font-woff A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/font-woff2 A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/vnd.ms-excel A31536000
    ExpiresByType application/zip A31536000
</IfModule>
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
        AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css text/x-component application/x-javascript application/javascript text/javascript text/x-js text/html text/richtext text/plain text/xsd text/xsl text/xml image/bmp application/java application/msword application/vnd.ms-fontobject application/x-msdownload image/x-icon application/json application/vnd.ms-access video/webm application/vnd.ms-project application/x-font-otf application/vnd.ms-opentype application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.database application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.chart application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.formula application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.graphics application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.presentation application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text audio/ogg application/pdf application/vnd.ms-powerpoint image/svg+xml application/x-shockwave-flash image/tiff application/x-font-ttf application/vnd.ms-opentype audio/wav application/vnd.ms-write application/font-woff application/font-woff2 application/vnd.ms-excel
    <IfModule mod_mime.c>
        # DEFLATE by extension
        AddOutputFilter DEFLATE js css htm html xml
    </IfModule>
</IfModule>
<FilesMatch "\.(css|htc|less|js|js2|js3|js4|CSS|HTC|LESS|JS|JS2|JS3|JS4)$">
    FileETag MTime Size
    <IfModule mod_headers.c>
        Header set Pragma "public"
        Header append Cache-Control "public"
         Header unset Set-Cookie
    </IfModule>
</FilesMatch>
<FilesMatch "\.(html|htm|rtf|rtx|txt|xsd|xsl|xml|HTML|HTM|RTF|RTX|TXT|XSD|XSL|XML)$">
    FileETag MTime Size
    <IfModule mod_headers.c>
        Header append Vary User-Agent env=!dont-vary
        Header set Pragma "public"
        Header append Cache-Control "public"
    </IfModule>
</FilesMatch>
<FilesMatch "\.(asf|asx|wax|wmv|wmx|avi|bmp|class|divx|doc|docx|eot|exe|gif|gz|gzip|ico|jpg|jpeg|jpe|webp|json|mdb|mid|midi|mov|qt|mp3|m4a|mp4|m4v|mpeg|mpg|mpe|webm|mpp|otf|_otf|odb|odc|odf|odg|odp|ods|odt|ogg|pdf|png|pot|pps|ppt|pptx|ra|ram|svg|svgz|swf|tar|tif|tiff|ttf|ttc|_ttf|wav|wma|wri|woff|woff2|xla|xls|xlsx|xlt|xlw|zip|ASF|ASX|WAX|WMV|WMX|AVI|BMP|CLASS|DIVX|DOC|DOCX|EOT|EXE|GIF|GZ|GZIP|ICO|JPG|JPEG|JPE|WEBP|JSON|MDB|MID|MIDI|MOV|QT|MP3|M4A|MP4|M4V|MPEG|MPG|MPE|WEBM|MPP|OTF|_OTF|ODB|ODC|ODF|ODG|ODP|ODS|ODT|OGG|PDF|PNG|POT|PPS|PPT|PPTX|RA|RAM|SVG|SVGZ|SWF|TAR|TIF|TIFF|TTF|TTC|_TTF|WAV|WMA|WRI|WOFF|WOFF2|XLA|XLS|XLSX|XLT|XLW|ZIP)$">
    FileETag MTime Size
    <IfModule mod_headers.c>
        Header set Pragma "public"
        Header append Cache-Control "public"
         Header unset Set-Cookie
    </IfModule>
</FilesMatch>
<FilesMatch "\.(bmp|class|doc|docx|eot|exe|ico|json|mdb|webm|mpp|otf|_otf|odb|odc|odf|odg|odp|ods|odt|ogg|pdf|pot|pps|ppt|pptx|svg|svgz|swf|tif|tiff|ttf|ttc|_ttf|wav|wri|woff|woff2|xla|xls|xlsx|xlt|xlw|BMP|CLASS|DOC|DOCX|EOT|EXE|ICO|JSON|MDB|WEBM|MPP|OTF|_OTF|ODB|ODC|ODF|ODG|ODP|ODS|ODT|OGG|PDF|POT|PPS|PPT|PPTX|SVG|SVGZ|SWF|TIF|TIFF|TTF|TTC|_TTF|WAV|WRI|WOFF|WOFF2|XLA|XLS|XLSX|XLT|XLW)$">
    <IfModule mod_headers.c>
         Header unset Last-Modified
    </IfModule>
</FilesMatch>
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
    Header set Referrer-Policy ""
</IfModule>
# END W3TC Browser Cache

# BEGIN Old Site Redirects
Redirect 301 /category_one/sub_page_one/ /category-one/subpage-one/
Redirect 301 /category_one/ /category-one/

Redirect 301 /category_two/ /category-two/
Redirect 301 /category_two/sub_page_two/ /category-two/subpage-two/
# END Old Site Redirects

# BEGIN W3TC Page Cache core
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{HTTPS} =on
    RewriteRule .* - [E=W3TC_SSL:_ssl]
    RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} =443
    RewriteRule .* - [E=W3TC_SSL:_ssl]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} =https [NC]
    RewriteRule .* - [E=W3TC_SSL:_ssl]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP:Accept-Encoding} gzip
    RewriteRule .* - [E=W3TC_ENC:_gzip]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_COOKIE} w3tc_preview [NC]
    RewriteRule .* - [E=W3TC_PREVIEW:_preview]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} !=POST
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} =""
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_COOKIE} !(comment_author|wp\-postpass|w3tc_logged_out|wordpress_logged_in|wptouch_switch_toggle) [NC]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} \/$
    RewriteCond "%{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/%{HTTP_HOST}/%{REQUEST_URI}/_index%{ENV:W3TC_SSL}%{ENV:W3TC_PREVIEW}.html%{ENV:W3TC_ENC}" -F
    RewriteRule .* "/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/%{HTTP_HOST}/%{REQUEST_URI}/_index%{ENV:W3TC_SSL}%{ENV:W3TC_PREVIEW}.html%{ENV:W3TC_ENC}" [L]
</IfModule>
# END W3TC Page Cache core
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress

As you can see, I tried with normal Redirect, but what happens is URL http://example.com/category_one/sub_page_one/ redirects to https://example.com/category-one/sub_page_one/, so the desired result is only partial.

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Answer

I managed to get the first of those redirects working

Although there's nothing in the .htaccess file you posted that appears to do this?

As you can see, I tried with normal Redirect, but what happens is URL http://example.com/category_one/sub_page_one/ redirects to https://example.com/category-one/sub_page_one/

Again, the directives you posted in the question won't perform such a redirect?! There's nothing that specifically redirects HTTP to HTTPS? So, if you are seeing such a redirect you are either seeing a cached response or WordPress itself is performing this redirect. (Although the category-two redirect(s) would produce such a result since they are in the wrong order - see below).

(Aside: In your example URLs you appear to be converting underscores (_) to hyphens (-) in the URL-path, however, you don't state this as a requirement and the resulting URL in your last (edited) example still contains underscores. So, I assume this is not a specific requirement and that source and target URLs can simply be different.)

You should avoid mixing mod_alias Redirect directives and mod_rewrite RewriteRule directives. The simpler Redirect directive is prefix matching and always executes after mod-rewrite, despite the apparent order in the config file.

The order of these directives can also be important. They may need to be in order of specificity (depending on the directive and/or regex used). If there is any ambiguity then the most specific rule needs to be first.

# BEGIN Old Site Redirects
Redirect 301 /category_one/sub_page_one/ /category-one/subpage-one/
Redirect 301 /category_one/ /category-one/

Redirect 301 /category_two/ /category-two/
Redirect 301 /category_two/sub_page_two/ /category-two/subpage-two/
# END Old Site Redirects

Due to the prefix-matching nature of the Redirect directive, the last two rules are in the wrong order. The 4th rule will never get processed, and a request for /category_two/sub_page_two/ would get redirected to /category-two/sub_page_two/ (everything after the match is appended to the target).

Try changing the above to the following instead:

# BEGIN Old Site Redirects
RewriteRule ^category_one/?$ https://example.com/category-one/ [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^category_one/sub_page_one/?$ https://example.com/category-one/subpage-one/ [R=301,L]

RewriteRule ^category_two/?$ https://example.com/category-two/ [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^category_two/sub_page_two/?$ https://example.com/category-two/subpage-two/ [R=301,L]
# END Old Site Redirects

There is no slash prefix on the RewriteRulepattern when used in .htaccess. The regex /?$ allows for an optional trailing slash on the requested URL.

These directives also force HTTPS. (Rather than allowing WordPress to do this later (2nd redirect) - if that is how it is configured.)

Since these directives match specific URLs, the order is not important.

Test with 302 (temporary) redirects first to avoid potential caching issues associated with 301 (permanent) redirects.

You will need to clear your browser cache before testing.

However, if you have many "old" URLs then it would be more efficient to process this later in your application logic (ie. when your application determines that the request is not valid).

we moved from custom cms to WordPress about 2 years ago

You've had no redirects from "old" to "new" URLs in the past 2 years? It might be a bit late to get "the old page rank back". Have you confirmed (from your logs) that these "old" URLs are still being requested?

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source: stackoverflow.com
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