An infinite redirect is a group of 2 or more redirects strung together in a chain that never resolves to a URL that breaks the redirect chain with a non-redirecting HTTP status.

Search engines will typically give up following after 4-5 redirects, so even if the redirect chain does resolve eventually if there are too many redirection steps search engines will still treat it as if it were an infinite redirect.

Why should we avoid Infinite Redirect

Infinite redirects are problematic because some pages may never be accessible by humans or search engines therefore never get indexed, they will waste a search engine's crawl budget, and cause usability issues.

Types of Infinite Redirect

There are two types of infinite redirects:

  • Looped Redirect — when the redirects form in a loop, by one URL in the chain redirecting to a URL earlier in the chain.

  • Infinite Redirect — It continues redirecting forever without recursively calling a URL already in the chain.

Looped Redirect Example:

URL | Redirect Target
http://www.example.com/page-1 > http://www.example.com/page-2
http://www.example.com/page-2 > http://www.example.com/page-3
http://www.example.com/page-3 > http://www.example.com/page-1

In this example, we can see that when we get to page-3, we will go back to page-1 and begin the loop again. We will never exit the loop.

Infinite Redirect Example:

URL | Redirect Target
http://www.example.com/page-1 > http://www.example.com/page-2
http://www.example.com/page-2 > http://www.example.com/page-3
http://www.example.com/page-3 > http://www.example.com/page-4
http://www.example.com/page-4 > http://www.example.com/page-5
http://www.example.com/page-5 > http://www.example.com/page-6
http://www.example.com/page-6 > http://www.example.com/page-7
http://www.example.com/page-7 > http://www.example.com/page-8
http://www.example.com/page-8 > http://www.example.com/page-9
http://www.example.com/page-9 > http://www.example.com/page-10
http://www.example.com/page-10 > http://www.example.com/page-11
etc. > etc.

In this example, we can see the redirects will continue indefinitely.

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