How Joomla’s Redirect Manager System Plugin Works

Today, Saturday the 18th of April 2014, is a historic day. We are going to do what no man (or group of men) has ever done. We are going to unveal a great secret. We are going to explain how Joomla’s Redirect Manager system plugin works!

Yes, that dramatic introduction was necessary, because there’s not a single reference online or offline, official or unofficial, explaining how Joomla’s Redirect Manager works!

So how does Joomla’s Redirect Manager work?

A common misconception about Joomla’s Redirect Manager is that it works the following way:

  • You go to the Redirect Manager component by clicking on Components -> Redirect.
  • You click on New on the top right.

  • You enter your old URL in the Source URL and the new URL (the URL you want the old URL to redirect to) in the Destination URL.

  • You click on Save on the top right and then you visit the old URL on your trusted browser expecting a glorious 301 redirect to the destination (new) URL but nothing happens!

  • You do the same thing over and over again, making sure that you’re entering the old URL exactly as it is in the Redirect Manager, but still nothing works!

  • You give up on the Redirect Manager and you do your redirects either in the .htaccess file or through a 3rd party extension such as sh404SEF.

  • You start wondering why-oh-why does Joomla have a built-in extension that doesn’t even work, and even start suspecting the stability of Joomla.

  • You begin experiencing terrible nightmares about this issue and you start seeking professional help! (OK, this is a joke! If it’s not then you should really take it easy).

As you can see, using the Redirect Manager typically ends up in frustration and complete abandonment of the extension. The thing is, the extension actually really works, but the majority of people don’t even know how.

So, how does the Redirect Manager really work?

Here’s a concise and accurate definition of how the Redirect Manager system plugin works: “The Redirect Manager system plugin redirects from a Source URL that generates a 404 error to the Destination URL. ” In other words, don’t expect the Redirect Manager to redirect a page that already exists on your website to another page; in order for the magic to happen, the Source URL must yield a 404 error. There are some other obvious conditions for the Redirect Manager to do its job properly:

  • There must not be any condition(s) in the .htaccess file that redirects 404 pages to other pages. Such a condition will run prior to the Redirect Manager system plugin and thus, the plugin will not work because it won’t see any 404 page.
  • The Redirect Manager system plugin must be enabled (Duh!).

  • The Source URL must generate a 404 error on the Joomla website. In other words, the 404 error must be generated by the Joomla website, and not by Apache, this is because the Redirect Manager system plugin does all its work in the handleError event that is triggered when an error (non-fatal) happens on the Joomla website.

If you’re still having problems with the Redirect Manager extension and you need help, then please contact us. Our fees are right, our work is professional, we know our Joomla, and we are the friendliest programmers on planet Earth.

5 Responses to “How Joomla’s Redirect Manager System Plugin Works”
  1. Comment by Dawid — September 21, 2014 @ 9:08 am

    Much thanks for this article, I have got exactly similar problem. And I did follow the same steps as you described and wonder why this just doesn’t work – I was sure that it will be neccessary to set .htaccess. Than I found your site – again – one of very few really useful and truthful websites about joomla and its issues.

    By the way I switched all my own sites to WordPress. No more hair pulling! No more over complicated code, mess, bugs, seo problems, poor db queries performance and quarreling on joomla forums. It’s sad as I used to work with joomla several years, but it’s nothing compared to WordPress (I know you make living with joomla, but need to be honest). I have contact with joomla only with some clients sites.

    Nevertheless thanks very much once again for really good advices!

  2. Comment by Fadi — September 21, 2014 @ 10:03 am

    Hi Dawid,

    Sorry you feel that way about Joomla. We know about the problems within the community and that’s why we published a post about it here:

  3. Comment by Geejay — September 26, 2014 @ 7:37 am


  4. Comment by Eoin Oliver — April 27, 2015 @ 5:25 am

    How can I check if my website is truly throwing a 404 error? It says “error 404” on the page, but it is styled as part of my template, hence I think that may be the reason it’s not working.

  5. Comment by Fadi — April 29, 2015 @ 11:55 am

    Hi Eoin,

    There are some online tools that will display the HTTP code that your page is returning. By the way, it is important to return a 404 error when the page is a 404, lest you will risk having some indexing issues with Google. Check this post for more on the subject.

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