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Pretty URLs (aka SEO-friendly URLs)

By default, EoS alpha is using a standard URL format where requests are built of several components:

  • The default script URL - typically http://your.domain.com/index.php
  • a request string that tells the forum what to do. A request string always begins with ?action=, topic= or board= describing the main action, followed by one or more parameters in the form name=value, separated by semicolons. A full URL therefore looks like http://your.domain.com/index.php?topic=2101.msg101 or http://your.domain.com/index.php?action=profile;u=10.


While this is sufficient, many prefer a more descriptive and readable URL format, where things like topic- or member names are actually part of the URL. This is usually known as the "pretty" or SEO-friendly URL format and is what most blogs or CMS-driven sites use nowadays. EoS Alpha supports such a URL format through a modified version of the SimpleSEF plugin, originally written for SMF. This component is integral part of the software, but its functionality is disabled by default, because, on most servers, additional configuration is needed to enable such an URL format.

A typical URL with pretty URLs enabled may look like:

http://forum.miranda.or.at/topics/development-road-map-and-current-status-2073.0.html
http://forum.miranda.or.at/profile/nightwish-1

Topic- or member names are part of the URL

Internally, the forum is still using the conventional URL format, but an additional layer can convert them (in both directions) to decode query strings and re-encode traditional URLs into the more readable format.

Advantages

  • URLs look better and are easier to recognize
  • Search engines *may* prefer more descriptive URLs where the name of the page is part of the URL instead of having just a numerical topic information in it.

Disadvantages

  • Additional server configuration is required
  • May not work in all server environments
  • A small performance penalty caused by the necessary URL conversions.

How to enable pretty URLs in EoS Alpha

First, read how to set up the required rewrite rules for your server configuration. This is mandatory and must be done properly, otherwise the feature cannot be enabled without rendering your forum unusable. Therefore, make absolutely sure, the rewrite rules are working. It's also good advice to put your forum into maintenance mode before beginning to play with that feature.

Once you have completed step one, you can then go to the admin panel? and enable the option Enable pretty (aka SEO-friendly) URLs for your forum. setting which can be found on the Features and Options tab.

Once done, additional settings for this feature become available on the Board URLs tab in the admin area. These settings all have reasonable defaults and it should not be needed to change them.

I did something wrong, my forum doesn't work and I cannot access the admin panel

This can happen when you enable pretty URLs without properly configuring your server. In that case you want to:

  • revert the configuration changes you've done to your web server
  • edit Settings.php (can be found in the root directory of your forum installation) and add
Code: php
$force_disable_sef = true;

This setting will force-disable pretty URLs and you must remove it before you want to test them again. It can, however, not take any influence on the rewrite rules of your web server, so the most important thing is to fix your web server configuration. 99% of all problems with the URL format are caused by broken server configurations.

Related read

set up rewrite rules.


Last modified: Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 03:57 CET, by Nightwish


Category: EoSAlpha

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