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Redirect vs. Rewrite — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 15, 2024
Redirect refers to sending users from one URL to another, while rewrite modifies the URL or request path without changing the visible URL. Redirect changes the address seen by users, whereas rewrite changes the internal path.
Redirect vs. Rewrite — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Redirect and Rewrite


Key Differences

Redirect involves sending users from one URL to another, changing the address they see in their browser. Rewrite, on the other hand, modifies the URL or request path internally without changing what the user sees in their browser.
Redirects are visible to users and search engines, affecting SEO by passing ranking signals from the old URL to the new one. Permanent redirects (301) are used for permanently moved content, while temporary redirects (302) are for temporarily moved content. Rewrites, however, are invisible to users and do not directly affect SEO since the URL appears unchanged.
Redirects can result in an additional HTTP request-response cycle, potentially impacting page load time. Rewrites do not add this extra cycle since they occur entirely on the server side, making them more efficient in some scenarios.
Redirects are commonly used for website migrations, fixing broken links, or changing domain names. Rewrites are typically used to improve URL readability, hide query parameters, or maintain a consistent URL structure despite changes in the underlying technology or file structure.

Comparison Chart

User Visibility

Changes the URL seen by the user
URL appears unchanged to the user

HTTP Request

Adds an extra request-response cycle
No extra request-response cycle

SEO Impact

Can pass ranking signals to new URL
No direct impact on SEO

Common Use Cases

Migrations, fixing broken links, domain changes
Clean URLs, hiding file extensions


Client-side or server-side

Compare with Definitions


Passing ranking signals to the new URL.
The redirect helped retain search engine ranking.


Masking the underlying server technology or file structure.
The rewrite hid the .php extension from users.


Forwarding from one URL to another.
The site redirect sent visitors from to


Changing the request internally without altering the URL.
The URL rewrite mapped to


Indicating the URL has moved temporarily.
The maintenance page used a 302 redirect.


URL appears the same, so no SEO signals are passed.
The rewrite had no direct effect on SEO.


Indicating the URL has moved permanently.
They used a 301 redirect for the rebranded site.


No extra HTTP request-response cycle.
The rewrite processed the request more efficiently.


Changing the address in the browser’s address bar.
The redirect changed the URL to the new page.


To write again, especially in a different or improved form; revise.


To cause to move in a different direction or go to a different destination
Redirected the flight to Dallas.
Redirected the request to a different department.


To put (material submitted to a newspaper or magazine) in a form suitable for publishing.


To give directions for an alternate destination to (someone).


(Computers) To save (a usually altered file) over its most recent version in the same storage location.


To change the object or focus of (attention).


To make revisions in written material.


(Law) A redirect examination.


The act or an instance of rewriting.


(Sports) A deflection by one player of a shot or pass by a teammate, as in hockey.


Something rewritten.


(Computers) A website that serves only to guide users to another website, typically when a website at one URL has been moved to a different URL.


The act of writing again or anew.
The film script underwent a rewrite for the European market.


(transitive) To give new direction to, change the direction of.
Redirect output to /dev/null


Something that has been written again.


(transitive) To instruct to go, inquire, elsewhere.


(transitive) To write again, differently; to modify (a piece of writing or music, etc.).
The editor asked me to rewrite my article for a non-technical audience.


To substitute an address or pointer to a new location.


(transitive) To write out again (without changes).


(computing) To send to a new location by substituting an address or pointer. transivity?
You will be redirected shortly.


To write again.


A redirection.


Something that has been written again;
The rewrite was much better


(legal) An examination of a witness, following cross-examination, by the party that conducted the direct examination.


Write differently; alter the writing of;
The student rewrote his thesis


(computing) The substitution of one address or identifier for another one, so as to navigate to a different location.


Rewrite so as to make fit to suit a new or different purpose;
Re-write a play for use in schools


Applied to the examination of a witness, by the party calling him, after the cross-examination.


Creating user-friendly URLs.
They used a rewrite to make the URL simpler.


Channel into a new direction;
Redirect your attention to the danger from the fundamentalists

Common Curiosities

What is a 301 redirect?

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirection from one URL to another, used when content has permanently moved.

How does a rewrite work?

A rewrite modifies the request path internally without changing the visible URL in the browser.

Why use a 302 redirect?

A 302 redirect is used for temporary redirections, indicating the original URL will be back soon.

How do redirects affect SEO?

Redirects, especially 301s, can pass SEO ranking signals from the old URL to the new one.

What is a redirect in web development?

Redirect sends users from one URL to another, updating the browser's address bar.

Do rewrites impact SEO?

Rewrites do not directly impact SEO as the URL seen by users and search engines remains unchanged.

How do I implement a rewrite?

Rewrites are typically implemented using server configuration files like .htaccess in Apache.

What are clean URLs?

Clean URLs are user-friendly and descriptive URLs created using URL rewriting.

Can redirects slow down a website?

Redirects can add an extra HTTP request-response cycle, potentially impacting load times.

Why hide file extensions using rewrites?

Hiding file extensions can make URLs cleaner and protect the underlying technology.

When should I use a redirect?

Use redirects for content moves, domain changes, or fixing broken links.

What is the difference between client-side and server-side redirects?

Client-side redirects occur in the browser (e.g., via JavaScript), while server-side redirects are handled by the server.

Can redirects be automated?

Yes, redirects can be automated using server rules or scripts based on specific conditions.

What is a URL rewrite module?

A URL rewrite module is a server extension that enables URL rewriting, such as mod_rewrite in Apache.

Are there security concerns with redirects or rewrites?

Both can have security implications if not properly configured, potentially leading to vulnerabilities like open redirects or revealing sensitive server paths.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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