Auto redirects are a common occurrence on the web. You’ve probably been auto redirected many, many times before and never asked yourself, “Why?” or “What is an auto-redirect?”.
This can be bothersome; it’s at this point where most people tend to call support lines or submit reminder forms asking websites like these to fix their typo so they can land on the correct site. But what people don’t know is that there are websites out there specifically designed to trick them, and we’ll talk about them later in this article.
While auto redirects are widely used and generally unnoticeable, you should always keep in mind that they have two sides, just like everything else.
Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of auto redirects!
Do’s of Auto Redirects
As mentioned above, auto redirects are meant to be helpful and serve as a way to make web browsing better. Some auto redirects don’t interfere with your web browsing experience at all and can actually be helpful! So what kind of benefits do you get from using the useful kinds of auto redirects?
They make common operations on the web easier. For example, Facebook often uses an auto-redirect to take you through the process of logging in or signing up for an account. You can just click “next” and be taken directly to where you need to go without having to do anything else.
They give you things automatically. For example, if you set up your email to auto-forward messages from one account to another, that’s an auto-redirect at work. You don’t have to go through the website for your email provider; you’ll automatically be forwarded to where you need to be.
They stop other annoying advertising features from taking over the page you’re trying to get to. Sometimes, auto redirects can actually prevent a whole bunch of ads from popping up on a site. This is especially popular on news sites where auto redirects can help get you to the article you want.
The do’s of auto redirecting are all about increased usability. Auto redirects will allow you to bookmark an easier URL, take visitors directly to your 404 error page when they mistype your website address, take users straight to the login page if their account information fails to load, and redirect your users when they land on an out-of-date page.
Those are just a few of the many advantages to using auto redirects, but the more dangerous part is that many of us don’t know there’s a less than desirable side to auto redirects.
Don’ts of Auto Redirects
There are a few dangers associated with auto redirects that you should be aware of. Here are three of the biggest reasons to be careful with auto redirects:
1) They can take you to the wrong website. This is probably the most common danger associated with auto redirects. If you’re not paying attention, you might end up on a website that’s not what you intended to visit at all. This can be especially dangerous if you’re using a public computer or if you’re browsing on a mobile device. You might end up on a random site that looks legitimate but actually has a virus that can infect your computer. That’s why it’s very important to be careful with what you click on and take some steps to protect yourself. You must be aware of the risks!
2) They can track your movements online. Even if you’ve opted out of being tracked, some websites use auto redirects as a way to keep track of your movements online. This is especially true for websites that use auto redirects as a way to keep track of where their users are going. If you’re not careful, that could mean they’ll be able to collect information about everything from your location and age to what kinds of products or websites you like using. This can be used to make the ads you see online even more targeted, and who wants that?
3) They can mess with your account information. The third and final danger of auto redirects is that they can interfere with the accounts you’re trying to access. If you’ve ever typed in your account information and hit “submit” only to end up at a different website, that’s what we’re talking about. Auto redirects can mess up the login page or make it disappear altogether. That might mean that even if you entered your password correctly, you wouldn’t be able to log in. Imagine losing your privacy to an auto-redirect or losing access to your account! You probably think that’s pretty dangerous, and you’re right!
The do’s and don’ts of auto redirects are all about being aware of the risks. If you’re not careful, it can be easy to lose track of where you’ve ended up or to have your account information compromised. What’s more, many websites use auto redirects as a way to keep track of your movements online without your knowledge or approval.
The bottom line is that auto redirects can be a very convenient way to get from one website or page to another, but they also come with a few risks. Make sure you understand the dangers and take steps to protect yourself from them!