There are times when it is necessary to delete or rename a web document. Generally, it is not a good idea to just delete pages from your site, as your pages are most likely listed in search engines. What this means people will get a 404 error when they attempt to visit that page.

You can set up a redirection using Metatags. Sometimes (as on a free hosting service) you have no choice – this is the only thing you can do. However, it has the disadvantage in that it is very obvious to your visitors and search engines are not happy with it at all.

A better choice, if you can edit your .htaccess file, is to use the Redirect command. An example of this is shown below.

Redirect /example.htm

This tells the browser if the page “example.htm” is specified (in the current directory) to redirect to the page “example.htm” instead. This is completely transparent to the visitor as well as search engines.

Another thing you can do is redirect files to another place. This is very useful if, for example, you’ve split your website up into two pieces but have external links which you do not control. As an example, suppose you had a site which included all kinds of jokes (adult and otherwise) and you then decided it would be wise to move the adult humor to a unique site which was protected against access by children.

However, to complicate matters, you have a number of sites which link to an image which you want to move. You do not have any control over those links.

You could use redirect to make the change for you, as shown below.

Redirect /images/adult.gif

The result is effectively changing all of the external links to the image to a different web site.