Client-side redirection

A client-side redirection is a means of navigating from one URL to another, conducted by the web browser (i.e. on the client-side). Compare with server-side redirection.

How they work

Techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Meta Refresh
  • JavaScript
  • Flash
  • Java Applet

For example, a common JavaScript redirection might look like this:

<script>
location.href='http://www.example.com/';
</script>

Criticism

Client-side redirections are most notable because they ‘break the back button’ – pressing back after a client-side redirection will usually send the browser immediately forward again, effectively preventing the user from navigating back.

In addition, and often more crucially, most client-side redirections are not spiderable, meaning search engines can’t navigate them, and therefore significantly impairing SEO. Similarly, they impair accessibility – by requiring the specialist technology they use to be installed, fewer people can follow them. For example, users without JavaScript enabled cannot follow the redirection described above.

In the vast majority of cases, client-side redirections are not required, and server-side redirections should be used instead, circumventing all of these problems.

In Sitebeam

Sitebeam tests for the use of client-side redirections via the Redirections test.

Further reading

Was this article helpful? Contact our support team if you have a question.