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: "(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.
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 :
Redirects can also be automatically created when you move (rename) an existing page.
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 may edit the redirect to make it into an article. Also, if an existing redirect points to the wrong page, you may 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
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.
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:
When a section title is known to be the target of incoming links, the Wikipedia Manual of Style , so that such links will continue to work even if someone renames the section without creating an anchor with the old name. Technically, doing so results 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.
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.
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:
replacing Redirect page name with the name of the redirect page to link.
Most redirect pages are not placed in article categories. There are three types of redirect categorization that are helpful and useful:
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.
Additionally, there could exist (for example) links to the URL "" anywhere on the Internet. If so, then those links might not show up by checking for (clicking on) "WhatLinksHere for Attorneygate"—since those links might come from somewhere outside Wikipedia.
Therefore consider the deletion only of either really harmful redirects or of very 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):
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:
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).
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 or listing on Wikipedia:Requests for comments for further input.
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 specially 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.
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.
There is usually nothing wrong with linking to redirects to articles. Some editors are tempted, upon finding a link to a redirect page, to bypass the redirect and point the link directly at the target page. However, changing to a piped link is beneficial only in a few cases. Piping links solely to avoid redirects is generally a time-wasting exercise that can actually be detrimental. It is almost never helpful to replace
That is, editors should not change, for instance,
[[Franklin Roosevelt]] to
[[Franklin D. Roosevelt]] or
[[Franklin D. Roosevelt|Franklin Roosevelt]] just to "fix a redirect". However, it is perfectly acceptable to change it to
[[Franklin D. Roosevelt]] if for some reason it is preferred that "Franklin D. Roosevelt" actually appear in the visible text.
Avoid linking to titles that redirect straight back to the page on which the link is found. This situation may arise if a redirect is created from a red link on the page, or if the title was once a separate page but was merged.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 , but the URL shown by the browser will change to after the page loads.