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Dynamic404 static rules and testing

One of our more popular extensions, Dynamic404, has recently gotten a couple of additions, that might prove extremely useful to your site: Static rules and testing abilities - the first making Dynamic404 able to redirect anything, not just errors; the second allowing you to finetune everything. Let's dive into these two features.

Introduction to Dynamic404

The Joomla 3 core contains the com_redirect component which allows you to redirect specific URLs into others. This is useful when you have a small site with few 404 errors, because it allows you to quickly create redirects for those URLs that are obsolete. However, if you have a larger site - say 50+ pages - than adding these redirect rules manually becomes a cumbersome job.

Instead of wasting that time, you can opt for our Dynamic404 component which allows you to automatically redirect your visitors from a Not Found page to the proper new page. We use Dynamic404 ourselves as well, and have numerous times changed our URL structure without any drop in SEO ranking - Dynamic404 simply takes care of the migration.

Dynamic404 also offers the ability to find better matches using various plugins, plus it also offers an optimized error-page which can include your own template styling as well.

Only errors ... or static rules

The name Dynamic404 basically says what is being done: It makes static 404 Not Found errors more dynamic and tries to help visitors find the right page. for this, the Dynamic404 plugin is fired whenever Joomla triggers an error. In the past, we received various requests of users that actually wanted to redirect non-errors: In other words, they wanted to redirect an URL, regardless of whether that URL triggered an error not. This was not possible with Dynamic404 ... until now.

We have labeled this new feature static rules, which sounds a bit vague on purpose. In the Dynamic404 backend, there already was the ability to create new rules. However, these rules were only search for whenever an error was triggered. In other words, Dynamic404 has no performance overhead when no error is fired. A static rule changes this: A static rules is always loaded in the Joomla startup procedure, regardless of whether there is an error or not. This allows you to create a redirect rule that is always loaded and checked for. The cool thing is you can redirect whatever you want to redirect. However, there is a performance issue, so keep the number of static rules to a minimum if you can.

Testing which URL triggers which results

When Dynamic404 is called upon, the current URL is taken and examined. Next, based on the current URL, Dynamic404 tries to find proper matches. For instance, if the alias of an article matches the last part of the URL, then this will be considered a very good match - with a high matching percentage. Or if the last part is the same, but with only some of the segments (the various parts separated with a dash -) matching but in the wrong order, this is considered a match with a lesser matching percentage.

In the end, the match with the highest percentage is listed in the top, if you have configured Dynamic404 not to redirect automatically. Or alternatively, this best match is automatically redirected to. So the matching algorithm determines the matching percentage, which again determines what is done with a specific error. In the past, it was kind of difficult to see which rules were created by which mechanisms resulting in which percentages.

Now, Dynamic404 contains a new feature of a separate backend Test Matches which allows you to copy and paste a URL to your Joomla backend, and see how Dynamic404 would respond to this. It has already helped us quite a bit when analysing problems that users have encountered. But even better, we think it is also a great tool for you to optimize the rules as well!

Convinced?

Hopefully you can see that Dynamic404 can be a useful addition to your site. Do you want to see more? Check out the Dynamic404 page for more details?

Written by Jisse Reitsma op 11 October 2015

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