Moving files, was: Re: OFF-TOPIC: Provider blues -Reply

Charles Peyton Taylor (
Tue, 03 Sep 1996 13:54:45 -0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 1996 13:54:45 -0800
From: Charles Peyton Taylor <>
Subject:  Moving files, was: Re: OFF-TOPIC: Provider blues -Reply

I think a dummy file is *WORSE* than just deleting a file. If you 
use an automatic link-checker (as I do) you will never know that 
a Link is about to go away, or that the information is no longer 
there, with a dummy web page.  The best thing to do is have the 
server redirect the file to another location.  That way, the move
will get the attention of those of us who have a *lot* of links 
to look after.

The automatic link checker I use is MOMspider:

Information on HTTP redirects is somewhere in 
the HTTP protocol.  I don't see an on-line verion 
of the spec, but it's available at

Here's a snippet of the redirection section:

    10.3 Redirection 3xx

    This class of status code indicates that further action needs to be
    taken by the user agent in order to fulfill the request. The action
    required MAY be carried out by the user agent without interaction with
    the user if and only if the method used in the second request is GET or
    HEAD. A user agent SHOULD NOT automatically redirect a request more than
    5 times, since such redirections usually indicate an infinite loop.

See your server documention for information about how to 
do a re-direct.

The NCSA server can be made to redirect either from one of 
the server's configuration files, or from an .htaccess file 
in the directory in which the old file was located.

For more information about redirection with the NCSA server:

Sorry if this was verbose, but I have a lot of links to check, and if
people would just re-direct for about a month (takes about two seconds 
to do with an NCSA web server),  it would save me (and many others) a 
lot of pain.  I also believe that more and more links will be checked
(and possibly even updated) in this way in the future.

Charles Taylor

>>> Stuart Young <> 09/03/96 06:11am >>>
>On Thu, 22 Aug 1996, Shawn Steele wrote:
>> > Now the fun part. It won't mirror the deleting of files. You
>> > actually have to call or email someone to delete files from a site
>> > If you rename a file, you end up with the old AND the new on the live
>> > server. Talk about Ghost page mania. You should have seen us until we
>> > finally straightened out what was going on... <s>
>>  > Ick!  IMHO deleting files in the first place is a really bad thing to
>> do.  They stay with the indexes and as people's links FOREVER! (or at
>> least close to it.)  Renaming is almost worse because then you haven't
>> even gotten rid of the content.  (Which, presumably, would be the
>> reason to delete a file.)  We try hard to make sure that pages we
>> create will stay there and not vanish in the future.
>I would suggest the easiest way if you 'do' change your site to this  extent is
>create a 'dummy' file that tells the user the page has been  replaced, and/or
>points them to a new page that corresponds to their  topic of interest, or
>alternatively, the head of that section or the home  page.
>I doubt that overwriting files would be a problem...
>| Stuart Young (aka Cefiar)  - You may be human, but you're still animals! |
>| - If you've done 6 impossible things, write HTML |