Addicted to novelty since 2001

Incredibly Dull Site Note and Request

I’ve got a tedious issue which I’ve been ignoring, but probably should get sorted out. I’ve discussed it with a number of bright people, who have proposed solutions which I’ve either forgotten or discarded for reasons I’ve forgotten. Here’s the deal:

I’ve got about 3000 entries, each of which is an old-school, numbered URL, such as (I’m just using db.com to shorten the line):

db.com/archives/002994.html

I’d like to switch to the newer, basename model, where the URL for this entry might look like:

db.com/archives/incredibly_dull_site_note_and_request.html

Obviously, I want to retain the search engine juice associated with the old entries (and, as I understand it, Google frowns on duplicated content). Plus, I don’t want two copies of each entry floating around should I choose to, say, reopen comments on old entries.

If I switch to the basename system, all past entries will be rebuilt. As such, I’ll need to set up some kind of redirect from say basename.html to 00xxxx.html. All future URLs can be basenames.

I know there’s a way to do this via (I think) your Apache server’s httpd.conf file, but that’s not viable. I don’t want to add 3000 lines to a file that apparently loads every time somebody hits my site. One alternative is to replace all of the archived basename entries with redirects to the numbered entries, but I’m no coder, so I can’t automagically generate the 3000 files needed for that.

Has anybody else confronted this issue, and created an elegant or relatively painless solution? Hey Anil, any brilliant ideas?

UPDATE: Thanks for the suggestions–we’re working on a solution, and I’ll update after I get back from Manning Park (where I’m going overnight for a wedding).

2 Responses to “Incredibly Dull Site Note and Request”

  1. Elliott Back

    Apache provides one easy way, which is using an .htaccess file and a mod_rewrite directive. Check out Rewrite Map for more on this. The other way? Just create a hell of a lot of symlinks…

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