25 Mar 2013

4 Tools to Trace and Control Redirect Paths While Browsing

If you have been looking for an efficient way to track redirects and headers, there is no better way that to do it while browsing. While I have mostly seen people recommending Firebug for this process, I believe other tools can actually be faster and simpler than that. Especially now that more developer tools are being released to fit this need.

These are the five I personally think are the best for tracking redirects while browsing. Some are extensions/add-ons, but others are website based and great for quick use and reference.


1. Header Checker Tool

Header Checker Tool

There is a quick reference guide on the page of the most commonly returned HTTP response codes (200, 301, 302, 404, 503), including a definition of each as well as links to more comprehensive code lists you can check out. Using the tool is very easy, you just put in the URL and run the check.


2. Redirect Detective

Redirect Detective

Here is a very simple, basic tool. It runs a URL and then shows you every redirect and meta-refresh until you get to the final landing point. I have used this one again and again to find the source of ads, but you might have another use for the information.

The two cool features:

  • Visualization
  • Cookie alert (see the screenshot above)

It doesn’t offer any advanced settings, but it is a great quickie tester if you just want to run for any redirects on your site. They have other tools to check out listed along the bottom that are also handy. These include an affiliate link tracer, a 301 tracker (handy for a very common error code), ad link tracker and a redirect tracer (different than the redirect tracker).

They don’t offer any other features and changes are rare but it is still a good site to keep in the bookmarks.


3. Redirect Path

Redirect Path

I want to start by telling you the best part about this Chrome extension: no spammy ads or withheld features that you have to pay to get access to. In a time when so many tools are being offered as Lite, it is nice to be able to get all of the benefits of a redirect tracker without being bullied into paying for it. It is also very simple, so anyone can use it without any fuss.

No more having to manually check header status codes, or spending ages moving down an unending path. Just install and go.


4. NoRedirect

NoRedirect

Stop DNS redirects and smart page redirects, review shortened URLS (like TinyURL) and a lot more with this helpful Firefox tool. The only criticism I have for this one is that it doesn’t offer any helpful manual on how to use it.

While those of us who have used redirect trackers in the past will be able to figure it out, this isn’t the best tool for beginners who have never had to do so before. This is a great tool for intermediate and advanced users, though…it has just what you need and nothing you don’t, and was clearly made by a developer who knows his stuff.

Do you know any browser specific redirect path trackers? Let us know in the comments.

Comments

  1. Toby Danylchuk March 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Interesting post, Ann. I’d be interested to know what are the most common reasons you’re using these tools?

    1. Peter Sundstrom March 27, 2013 at 1:41 AM

      Hi Toby.

      I’m the author of http://redirectdetective.com/

      My primary purpose for creating this tool was to check just where a redirected URL ends up.

      In the case of IM, some of the affiliate links go through quite a convoluted path.

      This can be useful if you are tracking down issues with affiliate links that aren’t working, or if you are curious as to what sites are being used to set affiliate cookies.

      Peter

  2. Adam Sherk March 27, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Nice roundup Ann. As a heads up, I noticed on your Header Checker Tool page the first paragraph in the About section is about the sitemap generator, not the header checker.

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