URIs are forever

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I changed the format of my URLs well over a year ago and have been using mod_rewrite to redirect the old formats to the new. The other day, in a fit of organization, I started to comment and refactor my rewrite rules. Among other things, I figured that the format translation had outlived its usefulness. It had been more than a year; surely the old URLs weren’t being requested anymore. Apparently I was wrong.

After removing the translation rules, I started getting about three dozen 404 errors each day for the old URLs. I’ve now put the translation routines back. (Sub-lesson: use source control for your .htaccess files, not just your pages)

The moral of the story is that URLs never die. Once you put a document online, links will point to that address forever.

(Another related note. Could the CVS site use a worse title for their home page?)

Stephen DesRoches
June 24, 2003 9:08 AM

I have the same problem with files that have been gone for well over a year (maybe even 2). Still today I get refers mainly from google looking for those same pages/images daily. It's not going to give up.

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