HttpHandler is the low level Request and Response API to service incoming HTTP requests. All handlers implement the
IHttpHandler interface. There is no need to use any extra namespace to use it as it contains in the
System.Web namespace. Handlers are somewhat analogous to Internet Server Application Programming Interface (ISAPI) extensions.
In this article, I am going to explain how to use
HttpHandler to create a SEO friendly as well as user friendly URL. During this article, I will create two .aspx file, one HandlerUrl.cs class file. I am assuming here that I have to show a different article based on the id I get from the request. But I will not get the id as querystring but as part of the name of the page like article1.aspx or article2.aspx. Here 1 and 2 is my article id. I will extract it and send into my page (showarticle.aspx) using
Server.Transfer method so that my URL in the browser will be like article1.aspx but internally it will be served as
I am going to show how to do this in a few steps.
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Step 1 - Create an HttpHandler
Right click your App_Code folder and add a .cs file named HandlerUrl.cs and write the following code:
public class DemoUrlHandler: IHttpHandler
public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)
string strUrl = System.IO.Path.GetFileName(context.Request.RawUrl.ToString());
int len = strUrl.IndexOf(".");
int sep = 7;
len -= sep;
string id = strUrl.Substring(sep, len);
HttpContext.Current.Server.Transfer("~/urlhandler/showArticle.aspx?id=" + id);
public bool IsReusable
As you can see, I have inherited
IHttpHandler interface into
DemoUrlHandler class file so I will have to implement two methods of it -
ProcessRequest is the method that handles my request and sends the request using
Server.Transfer to the showArticle.aspx specifying the id of as the querystring. I have done some calculations to extract the id from the name of the requested page.
Step 2- Add httpHandler into the web.config File
Go to your web.config file and add the handler for your request as below inside
<add verb="*" path="article/article*.aspx" type="UrlHandlerNameSpace.DemoUrlHandler"/>
In the above code,
- verb specifies whether the request will serve only
POST or all requests (*), I have specified that this handler should serve all kinds of the request.
- path specifies the path, when requested my handler should take action. In this case, I have specified that my handler should act when my requested URL contains "article/article*.aspx". You can specify wild card characters too, like I have specified here. Notice "*" between "article" and ".aspx" characters. It means that I am instructing that my handler should act irrespective of whatever characters come after "article" word in my page name.
- type specifies the URL handler class name preceded with namespace. Here, I have kept my handler class
Step 3 - Create a Page (default.aspx) to List Different URLs
For testing purposes, I have created a default.aspx page that will list different URLs like article1.aspx, article2.aspx, article3.aspx, etc. as displayed in the picture below:
Step 4 - Create a Page (showArticle.aspx) to Show Articles
This page will show my article based on the querystring passed to it from my handler.
protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
if (Request["id"] != null)
string title = "Title for Article " + Request["id"].ToString();
litPageTitle.Text = title;
this.Title = title;
Now make the default.aspx page as startup page and run your demo project. You should see the page like default.aspx above, try clicking one of the URLs and you will see the corresponding page (below image). Notice the address bar in the picture below. The URL is "/article/article8.aspx" but internally this page is being served by showarticle.aspx with querystring as 8 (/urlhandler/showarticle.aspx?id=8). In this way, you are not showing querystring in the browser, your URL is neat and clean. This page will be understood by the search engines as a complete stand along page rather than a page with different querystring value and will be given much more weightage than a single page with different querystring value.
To form a SEO friendly and user friendly URL, we don't need to use any third party component. Using ASP.NET
HttpHandler, we can do it easily by writing a small amount of code.
Thanks and happy coding!!!
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