|This page documents an English Wikipedia editing guideline.|
|This page in a nutshell: Redirects aid navigation and searching by allowing a page to be reached under alternative titles.|
A redirect is a page which automatically sends visitors to another page, usually an article or section of an article. For example, if you type "UK" in the search box or click on the wikilink UK, you will be taken to the article United Kingdom with a note at the top of the page (or on mobile, in a black message bar at the bottom): "(Redirected from ". This is because the page ) contains special wikitext which defines it as a redirect page and indicates the target article. It is also possible to redirect to a specific section of the target page, using more advanced syntax.
Redirect pages can contain other content below the redirect, such as redirect category templates, and category links (which provide a way to list article sections in categories).
Redirects are used to help people arrive more quickly at the page they want to read; this page contains guidance on how to use them properly. For technical help relating to how redirects work, see Help:Redirect. Other relevant pages are Wikipedia:Double redirects, Wikipedia:Hatnote § Redirect and WikiProject Redirect.
Reasons for creating and maintaining redirects include:
There are redirect templates to explain the reason for a redirect.
Note that redirects to other Wikimedia projects, other websites, or special pages do not work. These should be avoided or replaced with a ((soft redirect)) template. Soft redirects are also used in category space (using the ((category redirect)) template). Redirects from list titles to categories (e.g. a redirect from [[List of things]] to [[Category:Things]]) are highly discouraged.
To create a basic redirect using the source editor, type
#REDIRECT [[target page name here]] as the only text on the page. The capitalization of the word
REDIRECT doesn't matter. For instance, if you were redirecting from " " to "United Kingdom", this would be the entire body of :
#REDIRECT [[United Kingdom]]
To create a redirect using the VisualEditor:
Redirects can also be automatically created when you move (rename) an existing page.
If you can't create pages, you can request redirects at Wikipedia:Redirect wizard.
Sometimes an existing redirect should really be handled by a full article, per Category:Redirects with possibilities. For example, the name of a notable musician (who does not yet have an article) may instead be a redirect to an existing article about a band of which the musician is a member. In this case, you can edit the redirect to make it into an article. Also, if an existing redirect points to the wrong page, you can edit the redirect to point to a different page.
If you want to edit a redirect page you must use a special technique in order to get to the redirect page itself. This is because when you try to go straight to the redirect page and edit it, the redirect page will automatically redirect you to its target page (because this is what a redirect page is meant to do). Below is an example of why you might need to go to a redirect page itself (to do a small edit) and how to actually get there.
For example, say Trygve Halvdan Lie did not have his own article, and so this link was a redirect to the page Secretary-General of the United Nations. If, later on, the page Trygve Lie was created as a biography, the page Trygve Halvdan Lie should be changed to redirect to Trygve Lie per WP:COMMONNAME. To do this, go to the redirect page by clicking the existing redirect note on the target page, which in this case would read "(Redirected from)". Once there, you may click the "Edit" tab, and change the page from
#REDIRECT [[Secretary-General of the United Nations]]
#REDIRECT [[Trygve Lie]]
When adding or changing a redirect, always verify the links that already point there. For instance, if another person named Trygve Lie becomes very well known, it would make sense to make Trygve Lie a redirect to his page (after renaming the existing Trygve Lie page). Such a change cannot be made without changing all the preexisting links to Trygve Lie; these links can be found by clicking on What links here in the left hand menu.
See also: MOS:LINK2SECT
Most redirects are untargeted, i.e. they lead simply to a page, not to any specific section of the page. This is usually done when there is more than one possible name under which an article might be sought (for example, Cellphone redirects to the article Mobile phone). For deciding which should be the actual title of the article, see Article titles.
It is also possible to create a targeted redirect, i.e. a redirect to a particular point on the target page—either a section header or an anchor. For example, the page Malia Obama contains the code
#REDIRECT [[Family of Barack Obama#Malia and Sasha Obama]], which redirects to the Malia and Sasha Obama section in the article Family of Barack Obama. Therefore, entering "Malia Obama" will bring the searcher straight to the content that deals with "Malia and Sasha Obama".
Consider that when the target page is displayed, it is likely that the top of the page will not be shown, so the user may not see the helpful "(redirected from... )" text unless they know to scroll back to the top. This is less likely to cause confusion if the redirect is to a heading with the same name as the redirect.
The text given in the link on a targeted redirect page must exactly match the target section heading or anchor text, including capitalization and punctuation. (While spaces and underscores are interchangeable in the current implementation of the Wikimedia software, it is generally good practice and aids maintenance to use exactly the same spelling in links as is used in the corresponding targets also for these characters.) (In the absence of a match, the reader will simply be taken to the top of the target page.) It is often helpful to leave a hidden comment in the target text, to inform other editors that a section title is linked, so that if the title is altered, the redirect can be changed. For example:
==Vaccine overload== <!-- linked from redirect [[Vaccine overload]] -->
To ensure that a redirect will not break if a section title gets altered, or to create a redirect to a point on the page other than a section heading, create an explicit target anchor in the page, e.g., by using the ((anchor)) template. Alternative anchors for section headings are ideally placed directly in front of the name of the heading (but after the equals signs):
==((subst:Anchor|anchor name))Section title==
((subst:Anchor)) is preferable to simply using
((Anchor)) because otherwise, when the section is edited via its own "[ edit ]" link, the anchor markup and alternative section title(s) will appear as undesirable clutter at the beginning of revision history entries. Please see MOS:RENAMESECTION for further discussion of this.
The anchor text will not be visible on the page, but it will serve as a permanent marker of that place on the page. Editors should generally not remove or alter such anchors without checking all incoming links and redirects. If several logically independent aspects of a topic are discussed under a single section header and should be linked to, it is sometimes useful to define separate anchors for them, if the current amount of information doesn't justify a division into multiple sections already. This makes it easier to rearrange contents on a page as it develops since those anchors can be moved with their corresponding contents without a need to fix up incoming links.
For example, in the Google Search article, the text
((Anchor|calculator)) is placed at the point where Google Calculator is discussed. The title Google Calculator can then be redirected to Google Search#calculator.
When a section title is known to be the target of incoming links, the Wikipedia Manual of Style suggests creating a redundant anchor with the same name as the section title, so that such links will continue to work even if someone renames the section without creating an anchor with the old name. Technically, the redundant section and anchor names result in invalid HTML. However, when a document contains multiple tags with the same
id value, browsers are required to return the first one, so in practice, this is not a problem.
Be careful with anchor capitalization, as redirects are case-sensitive in standards-compliant browsers.
Main page: Wikipedia:Double redirects
The software will not follow chains of more than one redirect—this is called a double redirect. A redirect should not be left pointing to another redirect page.
Double redirects often arise after a page is moved (renamed)—after moving a page, check whether there are any redirects to the old title (using the link on the move result page, or using "What links here"), and change them to redirect straight to the new title. Double redirects are usually fixed by a bot in a few days; however, an editor should not leave behind any self-created double redirects.
Main page: MoS linking redirects
You can link to a redirect page just as you can link to an article page by placing the redirect page name within a set of double brackets, such as:
[[Redirect page name]]
replacing Redirect page name with the name of the redirect page to link.
To link to a redirect page without following the underlying redirect, use:
((No redirect|Redirect page name)) replacing Redirect page name with the name of the redirect page to link. Clicking on a no-redirect link will send the reader to the redirect page rather than the final redirect destination.
Main page: Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects
Most redirect pages are not placed in article categories. There are three types of redirect categorization that are helpful and useful:
When a page is renamed/moved, a redirect that is titled with the replaced page name is created and is automatically tagged with the ((R from move)) template. This sorts the redirect into Category:Redirects from moves.
To delete a redirect without replacing it with a new article, list it on redirects for discussion. See the deletion policy for details on how to nominate pages for deletion.
Listing is not necessary if you just want to replace a redirect with an article, or change where it points: see these instructions for help doing this. If you want to swap a redirect and an article, but are not able to move the article to the location of the redirect, please use Wikipedia:Requested moves to request help from an admin in doing that.
The major reasons why deletion of redirects is harmful are:
Therefore consider the deletion only of either harmful redirects or of recent ones.
You might want to delete a redirect if one or more of the following conditions is met (but note also the exceptions listed below this list):
suppressredirectuser right; available to page movers and admins), perform a round-robin move. If not, take the article to Requested moves.
However, avoid deleting such redirects if:
Just as article titles using non-neutral language are permitted in some circumstances, so are such redirects. Because redirects are less visible to readers, more latitude is allowed in their names, therefore perceived lack of neutrality in redirect names is not a sufficient reason for their deletion. In most cases, non-neutral but verifiable redirects should point to neutrally titled articles about the subject of the term. Non-neutral redirects may be tagged with
((R from non-neutral name)).
Non-neutral redirects are commonly created for three reasons:
The exceptions to this rule would be redirects that are not established terms and are unlikely to be useful, and therefore may be nominated for deletion, perhaps under deletion reason #3. However, if a redirect represents an established term that is used in multiple mainstream reliable sources, it should be kept even if non-neutral, as it will facilitate searches on such terms. Please keep in mind that RfD is not the place to resolve most editorial disputes.
Wikipedia follows the "principle of least astonishment"; after following a redirect, the reader's first question is likely to be: "Hang on ... I wanted to read about this. Why has the link taken me to that?" Make it clear to the reader that they have arrived in the right place.
Normally, we try to make sure that all "inbound redirects" other than misspellings or other obvious close variants of the article title are mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs of the article or section to which the redirect goes. It will often be appropriate to bold the redirected term. For example:
But insignificant or minor redirects can skip this:
If the redirected term could have other meanings, a hatnote (examples) should be placed at the top of the target article or targeted section that will direct readers to the other meanings or to a relevant disambiguation page. This is usually done using one of the redirect disambiguation templates (examples).
It may also be helpful to search the List of Categories for related terms.
See also: Wikipedia:Deletion policy § Redirection
Removing all content in a problematic article and replacing it with a redirect is common practice, known as blank-and-redirect. If other editors disagree with this blanking, its contents can be recovered from page history, as the article has not been deleted. If editors cannot agree, the content issues should be discussed at the relevant talk page, and other methods of dispute resolution should be used, such as restoring the article and nominating the article for Wikipedia:Articles for deletion.
To make it easier for other editors to find the history of the blanked article, it's good practice to add a short notice at the talk page of the target article, even if no content has been merged there. This is especially useful if the blanked article had few visits and infrequent edits. If the redirect replaces an article that has been deleted by an administrator, this notice is the only way for editors to know that a previous version of the article existed at all.
Most users believe that AfD should be used to settle controversial or contested cases of blanking and redirecting.
The template ((R with history)) should be added to the resulting redirect. If the topic of the article can be reasonably thought to describe a notable topic, mark the redirect with the template ((Redirect with possibilities)) to indicate that it could be expanded in the future. You may also consider turning the article into a stub by removing all unsourced content and keeping the valid references, instead of blanking it.
Note that certain forms of blanking are not allowed. Illegitimate blanking of valid content without reason is considered vandalism, a form of disruptive editing. Other forms of blank-and-redirect, although not vandalism, are still undesirable. If you want to rename the article by cutting and pasting text to a new article with a different title, you should instead move the page with the Move option. If you want to keep some content from the blanked article and add it to the target article, you should follow the instructions at Wikipedia:Merging § How to merge. Both processes will create proper links to the edit history, which is required by the Wikipedia license for legal reasons to preserve attribution of content to its authors.
A template can be redirected to another template in the same way, e.g., by entering the following markup at the top of a template T2:
This allows the template name T2 to be used instead of the actual template name T1. All the parameters of T1 will be respected by T2.
A redirect categorisation (rcat) template such as ((R from move)) may be added to T2 (on the third line below the
#REDIRECT line) as follows:
#REDIRECT [[Template:T1]] ((Redirect category shell| ((R from move)) ))
While template shortcut/alias redirects are common, they may infrequently cause confusion and make updating template calls more complicated. For example, if calls to T1 are to be changed to some new template NT1, articles must be searched for
((T1)) and a separate search must also be made for each of its aliases (including T2 in this example). Moreover, changes to syntax, corrections, scans and other processes (for example tag dating) must take into account all applicable redirects.
Sometimes, a redirect to an article pertaining to a very controversial topic will be fully or, more rarely, semi-protected indefinitely. This is done when any of the following criteria are met:
Redirects that are protected include Obama, Hitler, and 9/11. Soft redirects that are protected include obvious vandalism targets like dumbass and fatass.
Redirects in other namespaces may be protected for technical reasons or are protected under existing guidelines. For example, a template redirect (shorthand) used thousands of times qualifies it as a highly visible template, eligible for template protection.
This section is about technical issues with category redirects. For making "soft" category redirects, see Wikipedia:Categories for discussion § Redirecting categories.
Do not create inter-category redirects, by adding a line
#REDIRECT [[:Category:target category]] to a category page. Articles added to a "redirected" category do not show up in the target category, preventing proper categorization. What's worse, since redirected categories do not become "red links", editors won't be aware even when they add an article to a redirected category.
For an attempt to fix this issue in MediaWiki, see T5311.
Instead, "soft" redirects are used. It can be created by placing
((Category redirect|target)) in the category page. See Wikipedia:Categories for discussion#Redirecting categories.
Further information: Wikipedia:Page mover § Redirect suppression criteria
When a page is moved, a redirect is automatically left behind. Some groups of users (those who possess a
suppressredirect right) have the ability to prevent the redirect being created, by unchecking the box labelled "Leave a redirect behind." Currently these groups are administrators, bots, page movers, and global rollbackers. In some circumstances, a page should be moved, but a redirect from its current name is inappropriate, such as reverting page-move vandalism. Suppressing the redirect can avoid an extra action (page removal) and save time in these cases.
However, in general, the redirect will be a useful entry in the history, and it is best to leave it behind, unless there is a good reason to suppress the redirect, such as vandalism, userfying recently created malplaced items or freeing a title to be occupied immediately by another page (e.g., moving term to accurate term and term (disambiguation) to term). Redirects leave a trail to help readers find the old article, in case a new article is created at its previous location, and to prevent linkrot. Therefore, we usually neither suppress nor delete redirects. As Brion Vibber said, "Not breaking links helps everyone, especially us first and foremost". He also said that the removal of (file) redirects is "extremely user-hostile and makes the project less useful".
A Wikipedia redirect is not the same as an HTTP redirect—it does not generate an HTTP 302 (or other 30x) response. Instead, a page with almost the same content as the target of the redirect is generated by the MediaWiki software, differing in that a small-text note appears below the title of the page, identifying the name of the redirect used to get there (and linking to it in such a way that it can be accessed without the redirect, e.g. so it can be changed). When a user clicks on a redirect such as housecat, the page URL initially will be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Housecat, but the URL shown by the browser will change to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat after the page loads.