What is URL Forwarding?

From a web user’s view point, URL forwarding (also known as URL redirection) is when the web page that comes up in your browser is different from the page you entered in the address line of your browser.

URL stands for Universal Resource Locator, which in plain English simply refers to a specific page anywhere on the Web.

Forwarding works using automated instructions in a file on a Web server. When your browser passes on your instructions to bring up a page on your screen, the web server file effectively tells the browser to display another URL on your screen instead.

There are several reasons why URL forwarding is used. For example, the web page you are looking for may no longer exist, so the webmaster has arranged things so that your URL request is automatically forwarded to the new page.

Or the site owner is using a free hosting service like this one. The page address is complicated and difficult to remember. So the site owner registers an easy to remember domain name instead and then points his domain to his free hosting web site using the URL forwarding service provided by his domain name registrar.

URL forwarding generally comes in two flavours, ‘plain’ and ‘masked’. When you are redirected using ‘plain’ URL forwarding, the real web address for the page appears in your browser’s address bar. But with ‘masked’ forwarding, different information will be displayed in your browser.

For example, say you tell your browser to find http://www.some-domain.com. The owner of Some-Domain.Com has set up masked URL forwarding for his web site so that any visitors are automatically redirected to this URL:

But because it is ‘masked’, the text displayed in your browser’s address bar is: http://www.some-domain.com.

Much easier to remember, eh?

If the site owner had selected ‘plain’ url forwarding, the long, unmemorable url: http://dx77/johnsmith555-878…. would have been displayed instead.

Most domain name registrars offer URL forwarding service.

But take care… Some domain service providers charge extra while others offer URL forwarding for free.

Two services which come with FREE URL forwarding are: