URL Chopping test

What does it do?

Tests whether URLs (web addresses) work when pieces are chopped off them.

Example results

Example of URL chopping test results

Why is it important?

It is surprisingly common for users (generally more tech-savvy users) to manually modify URLs, by chopping sections off them, like so:

www.example.com/news/article1

Becomes:

www.example.com/news/

Some search engines also undertake URL chopping automatically to try and discover more pages. Other tools do this for users – for example the popular Google Toolbar provides a button which does the same thing.

How is it measured?

For each page tested, all possible chopped URLs (separated by forward slashes) are tested to see whether they return valid webpages or errors. The score is based on the proportion of tested URLs which handled being chopped successfully, with a perfect 10 being awarded to sites with none.

A correct response is either:

  • A webpage
  • A redirection to a webpage

Many websites don’t handle these correctly, and instead return an error.

Technical explanation

Any HTTP status code errors in the response count as an invalid response, e.g. 404, 500, etc. Redirections are considered valid responses.

How to improve this score

Wherever possible, ensure your website handles these common potential URLs intelligently. If there is an appropriate page, redirect the user to it using a server-side redirection.

How to use this test effectively

This test is relatively low priority, but a useful item to check and improve on an occasional basis.

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