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Question About 301 Redirect file
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Carolin
Arizona
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October 14, 2014 - 11:18 pm
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Rick..

How long do you think it is important to have 301 redirect files in place? I am guessing forever is best, but here is the situation – 

I am redoing an old Thesis 2.0 website and have the “work-in-progress-new-Thesis 2.1-version” on a dev space.

When the old Thesis 2.0 website was originally set up about a year and a half ago, there was a custom .htaccess file with a large number of 301 re-directs from pages on a yet older Joomla site that the new site replaced, to take care of SEO issues.

The live site has worked /and is still working fine with the custom .htaccess (after initially having some issues that we dealt with back when it was installed. You probably don’t remember, but back then you had helped me set up the live site, and we had some weird issues with the .htaccess file, but finally got it to function. Since then it has worked fine all this time.)

Tonight I was working on the “new-work-in-progress” site doing some plugin updates. Presumably one of the plugins created some weird issue and I was frozen out of the website with a 500 error.  After trying to decide what to do about this I ended up deleting the .htaccess file to see if that would resolve the issue.

Removing .htacess worked. I was back into the wp-admin and back to being able to work on the site.

But while things were resolved for now, I am now wondering if when I get this new re-done site finished I should have to worry about trying to figure out whatever the issue is that happened with the .htaccess file that caused things to go wonky and not work.

After more than a year and a half, would it be reasonably safe to think that the old 301 redirect issues have been resolved with Google from those old ancient pages that we were redirecting? Might it be safe to think I should be ok for SEO issues and not have to worry about putting that old info back into an .htaccess?

What would you advise in this situation?

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Carolin
Arizona
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October 15, 2014 - 10:47 am
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Rick

After we talked in the Q&A this morning about this issue I went back on the site via FTP and put the old .htaccess file back on. Immediately the site went back to the 500 error mode and would not function.

So it would seem there is some sort of ongoing conflict with the .htaccess file and the plugin that seemed to be the culprit – Connections. At least the 500 error issue happened immediately after I did an upgrade on that plugin, so I am pointing the finger at it at the moment as being the culprit.

I’ll go back to the drawing board and work more to figure out the issue, so the .htaccess file with all the redirect links will work before I take the site live.

Maybe this will mean I need to consider moving away from the Connections plugin to a different directory plugin. While the Connections plugin does it’s job of being a directory plugin, it has historically been a “needy” plugin, lots of upgrades and a couple times in the past I remember there were times the plugin did not even work when upgraded, and had to be restored to an earlier version. So maybe it is time for me to re-evaluate it’s future on my site and find a replacement. 

But I know after our conversation this AM at Q&A I will need to keep all those 301 redirects indefinitely  – so I’ll put that in the plan of work I have to do.

 

Thanks for your input on this. Appreciate it.

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Rick Anderson
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October 15, 2014 - 12:00 pm
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It would be worth looking at the htaccess file to see if there is something in it that might give the plugin heartburn

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Carolin
Arizona
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October 15, 2014 - 12:17 pm
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Definitely — I plan to look at it carefully. Unfortunately it is a file that is miles long- there are dozens of redirects. It is likely going to be a real pain to find the “needle in the haystack” — but I plan to give it a try.

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Rick Anderson
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October 15, 2014 - 2:30 pm
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It is unlikely that the problem resides in the redirect section

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Carolin
Arizona
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October 15, 2014 - 2:34 pm
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The only data besides all the long list of redirect information is this data below. It is the same data in both the file that is now malfunctioning as well as the new .htaccess file that Hostgater created when I removed the problem file from the server. There is no other data on the file at all. If it is not in the redirect info then there seems no where else to look??

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ – [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>

# END WordPress

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Carolin
Arizona
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October 15, 2014 - 4:44 pm
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I think I resolved this problem —

While the same code was existing on both the old .htaccess file and the new one that the server created after I renamed the old file. Upon looking at the code more closely I realized that while the code was the same there was one spacing issue that was different on the corrupted file and the new one. —

This code — <IfModule mod_rewrite.c> on the corrupt file was now sitting up on the line beside the code – # BEGIN WordPress – instead of directly below it.

I changed the code on on the corrupt file to have –  <IfModule mod_rewrite.c> – sitting directly under – # BEGIN WordPress  – instead of beside it — matching how the new file has the code organized — saved it.

Then FTP’d up the slightly edited file and VOILA! the site worked again with the old original .htaccess file with all the redirect info.

Do you think the plugin caused that change in the spacing of the code? or is this all just some random occurrence that happened at the same time the Connections plugin was being updated?

Whichever is the reason — I am just so grateful that the old .htaccess file with the redirect information is working again!  smile

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Rick Anderson
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October 16, 2014 - 7:14 am
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I’m guessing it is a random error in the copying or compression process.

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Carolin
Arizona
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October 16, 2014 - 9:33 am
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Yes, apparently it was some weird, random issue — the developer of the Connections plugin got back to me and confirmed that the plugin does not write or even read from the .htaccess file. Sorry I pointed my finger at the plugin as the culprit, but since the error happened right when I was upgrading, it seemed like the reason.

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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