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Redirecting a list of paths in IIS to a new location

We often do redirects like the following to move all paths from one relative location to another.

  
    
  



If you need more fine grained control of what url goes where, you can use a redirect map. A redirect map allows one to define a key value pair of old locations to new locations.

Here's a simple example of a rewrite map.
<rewritemaps>
  <rewritemap defaultValue="https://example.com/new" name="Redirects">
      <add key="/full/relative/path/some-page" value="https://example.com/new/page" />
      <add key="/full/relative/path/another-page" value="https://example.com/another/page" />
      <add key="/full/relative/path/new-exciting-post" value="https://example/com/old/news" />
  </rewritemap>
</rewritemaps>


You can then define that map inside a web.config to be used to reroute traffic.

<!--  Web.Config Configuration File Example for a multiple page redirect map.
  Notice you must use full relative urls for the key values.  -->
<configuration>
  <system.webServer>
  <rewrite>
    <rewritemaps configSource="rewritemaps.config"></rewriteMaps>
      <rules>
        <clear />
        <rule name="RemoveTrailingSlashRule1" stopProcessing="true">
        <match url="(.*)/$" />
        <conditions>
          <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsDirectory" negate="true" />
          <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsFile" negate="true" />
        </conditions>
        <action type="Redirect" url="{R:1}" />
        </rule>   
        <rule name="Redirect rule1 for Redirects" stopProcessing="true">
          <match url="^files/?" negate="true" />
          <conditions>
            <add input="{Redirects:{REQUEST_URI}}" pattern="(.+)" />
          </conditions>
          <action type="Redirect" url="{C:1}" appendQueryString="False" redirectType="Permanent" />
        </rule>
      </rules>
    </rewrite>
  </system.webServer>
</configuration>


This example is pretty straight-forward. There are three non-standard things in the example above.

Trailing Slashes
Because my system was moving over paths which resolved with both with and without the trailing slash in the url, I had to add an extra rule to remove trailing slashes, or else I would have needed rules for both some-page and some-page/.

Excluding Certain Paths from Redirections
In the example above I wanted to redirect everything except the content within the files/ directory. These files I found were being used by other applications and the best solution was to continue to serve these as an archive. This exclusion allowed all but those files to be redirected. If you wish to redirect all requests you could remove or modify the <match negate="true" url="^files/?"> line.

Global Catch All
There were lots of extra paths (like blog tag specific urls) that no longer resolved. By adding a defaultValue to the rewrite map I was able to grab all these exceptions and route them to the new homepage.



Pitfalls to Avoid
  • The way this rule condition is written it is testing for the full relative path, not the location of the web.config. Though the web.config may be located at /full/relative/path/web.config, you still need to have the full relative path in the rewritemap (there maybe sassier way to write the condition to avoid this).
  • The rewriteMap name ("Redirects" in this example) is reused in the condition input, if this does not match the rule will fail.
  • Browsers cache redirects and 301 redirects update search engines, so use incognito or private mode when testing and you might wait to add the redirectType="Permanent" to the action until you are sure you have everything all set.

Microsoft has some more good examples and documentation of rewrite maps at docs.microsoft.com/en-us/iis/extensions/url-rewrite-module/using-rewrite-maps-in-url-rewrite-module.

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