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Mastering AEM Dispatcher Part 5: Managing Redirects Like a Master

Mastering

Most websites have a large number of redirects which they need to manage. Perficient/Digital just contributed a feature to ACS AEM Commons, the Redirect Map Manager, which makes managing these redirects a breeze.
First, though why do websites need so many redirects? Redirects can come from:

  • Legacy or Moved Pages / Assets
  • Landing Page Vanities
  • External Redirects

Most websites will end up with hundreds if not thousands of redirects, many of which are poorly documented or understood.
 

Redirect Management Options

 
There are several different options of how to manage these redirects in the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform, but all of them have some limitations or downsides.
 

Option 1: Redirects in Apache

For a server admin, the easiest route is using Apache httpd Redirect Map text files or rewrites. Unfortunately, these incur significant downsides, including:

  • Requires Downtime – Updates here require apache restarts to work
  • Administrative Overhead – Due to downtime and server access requirements, making changes in Apache requires a CAB process or at least infrastructure support to perform the update
  • Performance for very large files – Performance can be impacted for very large files when adding redirects in a text or conf file as these are not optimized for performance
Customer Experience and Design - Build a Better Customer Experience with AEM on Microsoft Azure
Build a Better Customer Experience with AEM on Microsoft Azure

Businesses leveraging the two technologies together would now be able to harness their data for critical insights and predictions, connect customer touchpoints across their business, and drive brand loyalty and growth.

Get the Guide

 

Option 2: AEM Vanities

AEM Vanities are convenient, as they are authorable, but they do have several limitations:

  • Performance – Large number of vanities can cause performance issues for your AEM instance
  • Maintainability – There’s not a great feature for seeing and maintaining the list of vanities, so it’s a page, by page process
  • Cross-site / domain capabilities – To redirect to an external pag eusing a vanity, you need to first set up the vanity and then have the page redirect to the external site. This is a double redirect which is not preferred for SEO

 

Option 3: Redirects in CDN / Load Balancer

For teams using a Content Distribution Network (CDN) or Load Balancer, many of these tools offer a GUI for managing redirects. This can be an attractive option, however, it also has a few downsides

  • Additional Costs / Tools – Deploying a CDN or Load Balancer may not always be required and may incur additional costs, especially to deploy a solution with administrative capabilities
  • Not in Marketing Control – Although the CDN or Load Balancer may have an administrative interface, it probably will not be accessible to marketeters, so there will still need to be an IT request process to make redirect updates

 

The Solution: Redirect Map Manager

 
The Redirect Map Manager allows marketers and administrators to easily add vanities, external redirects and legacy mappings as simply as editing dialogs in AEM.
This tool allows administrators to upload a Redirect Map file into AEM and then automatically combines this file with redirects generated from properties in AEM Pages and Assets. The tool supports multiple configurations, so you can support vanity, legacy and external redirects, all through the same mechanism!
 
Configuring Redirect Map Manager
 
The all of these redirects are then downloaded by Apache and converted into a DB, which can be updated with zero downtime! Because this DB is set up as an optimized Hashed lookup, this solution scales better than conf or text files.
Finally, from an adminstrative perspective, the Redirect Map Manager has a preview where administrators can check the file, get the path to the published file and see any errors. The process will validate for entries containing whitespace (which cause issues in Redirect Maps), excludes them and displayed in a warning in preview.
 
Redirect Map Manager Preview
 
Read more about setting up, configuring and using the Redirect Map Manager on the ACS AEM Commons website.
 

Get Redirect Map Manager

 
This new tool is available in the latest version of ACS AEM Commons, version 3.13.0.
Get the Latest Version
 
This is the fifth post in the Mastering the AEM Dispatcher series. In the previous post, we discussed sharing content with SSI. In the next post, we’ll discuss some improvements to the Redirect Map Manager.
 

About the Author

Dan is a certified Adobe Digital Marketing Technologist, Architect, and Advisor, having led multiple successful digital marketing programs on the Adobe Experience Cloud. He's passionate about solving complex problems and building innovative digital marketing solutions. Dan is a PMC Member of the Apache Sling project, frequent Adobe Beta participant and committer to ACS AEM Commons, allowing a unique insight into the cutting edge of the Adobe Experience Cloud platform.

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Thoughts on “Mastering AEM Dispatcher Part 5: Managing Redirects Like a Master”

  1. Shubhankar Banik

    Can the redirect map file be uploaded to this post?
    I am trying to upload a simple text file with key-value pair combinations, its not getting in preview section.
    Any lead !!!!

  2. Looks good, can we have thousands of redirects in place and how do they impact the performance. Lets say 15000 !

  3. Yes, you absolutely can. I can say with certainty that having 11,106 has absolutely no noticeable impact on site performance, though it does make the Redirect Map Manager UI a bit slow to load. If you are going to go that route, I’d consider if there’s some way to you can split the redirect map into different groups as this will make it easier to manage.

  4. Hi Dan,
    Is there a way we can select the type of redirects(301 or 302) in the redirect manager?
    Thanks,
    Prateek

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