Meta refresh – a life saver

At work I was facing a bit of a problem regarding the company website. And I’m sure there are more companies out there with this issue. Being a small company, we did not have our own website. We’re a subsidiary of a much bigger company abroad, and therefore they had a website, we referred all our customers to that site, and didn’t bother. But that’s surely not the way to go! As our sales are increasing, we require a more professional image. This isn’t just a handful of people who work directly for the parent company; it is a separate company in its own right and should act like it. So we decided to set up a website.

The company already has email hosting because all our business communication is done electronically. The hosting company seems good enough for our email needs, we get a nice system which can be managed through MS Outlook and a webmail interface. For this purpose we already owned a domain name with free 20mb hosting, without scripting support. Now that the website came into the picture; we were facing a dilemma. The web hosting solutions offered by our ISP are expensive and limiting; clearly they focus more on email and needs and wishes of small companies wanting a small (self made) brochure style website. We are aiming higher than that! With me being the in-house web designer, we have plans for a dynamic portal to match our competitors’ sites; requiring support for PHP and SQL amongst other things. And our ISP just didn’t have the right thing. But shifting our domain to a different host would create a lot of problems; we cannot go without email for even a moment! The system we use is appropriate for our needs, and we do not wish to scale down on that. But we do want a better web hosting for our site!

Solution: we bought a new domain name specifically for our new website. And the old one will remain as it is, because as part of our company email addresses, we suspect many people would still visit that domain, in search for our company site. So we have two domains, out of which one will be fully functional. How to get all visitors to come to the correct site? Easy: we put a Meta Refresh tag on the old site, which seamlessly forwards the visitors to the appropriate domain.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="0; URL=http://www.example.com">

Include the above code at the top of your webpage; inside the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags. Change the URL in the code to the domain you want to forward to and you’re done! The “0” next to CONTENT= refers to the number of seconds you want to display the old page. In our case we want our forward to be as quick as possible. And not just that, we don’t want to distract people by the fact that we’re forwarding; To visitors it looks like it’s all the same site. On the old domain we uploaded a page that looks identical to our website’s front page; when it redirects only very attentive visitors would notice that it looks like the site is refreshing.

Personally I’ve chosen to do it this way because it annoys me when you get to a page which says “You are being redirected to our new site at http://www.blah.com”. It looks unprofessional and messy. Visitors get spooked thinking they visited the wrong site and might close it. Therefore I prefer to have the same look and feel on both pages.

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2 Comments »

  1. Jack Said:

    Thanks for showing.

    Nice information.

  2. odzer Said:

    This is one of the most useful posts that I have come across in recent times. I have faced a similar dilemma a couple of times, I am surely going to keep it in mind if such a situation crops up again. Thank you!


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