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Posted 14 Jun 2010

Redirecting to WWW on ASP.NET 4.0 and IIS7

, 14 Jun 2010 CPOL
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Redirecting to WWW on ASP.NET 4.0 and IIS7

These days, most domains work both with and without the "www" prefix. However, this can actually hurt your ranking on search engines like Google.

The problem is that search engines like Google consider to be a different domain than So as you try and build your search-engine ranking by getting more and more links to your domain, it waters down those links if some use the "www" prefix and others do not.

It is better to have every link use exactly the same form of your domain. To this end, it is common to redirect requests to to If someone leaves off the prefix, the redirect will cause their browser to add it. And any links saved and published will use the form of the domain with the prefix.

I recently needed to implement this redirect for a couple of ASP.NET 4.0/IIS 7 sites but ran into a little difficulty. At first, it was recommended that I edit the .htaccess file, but that simply did not work. Apparently, it only works on older versions.

Next, I was told to download IIS 7 Remote Manager and make the changes there. Well, I assume that would work, but downloading, installing, and learning how to use a very large program just to perform a simple redirect seemed like overkill, to put it mildly.

If your site uses ASP.NET 4.0 and IIS 7, or later, there is a fairly painless way to redirect requests to the "www" version of your site by simply editing the web.config file.

Listing 1 shows the text that needs to be added somewhere within your <configuration> section.

    <clear />
    <rule name="WWW Rewrite" enabled="true">
      <match url="(.*)" />
          <add input="{HTTP_HOST}" negate="true"

            pattern="^www\.([.a-zA-Z0-9]+)$" />
        <action type="Redirect" url="http://www.{HTTP_HOST}/{R:0}"

          appendQueryString="true" redirectType="Permanent" />
Listing 1: Web.config setting to redirect to

Note that you will most likely see squiggly lines under the <rewrite> tag with a message that the tag is invalid. I got this message but, in fact, it worked just fine.

I found some information on the web about why I got the error but just haven't yet been able to spend time with something that appears to work just fine.

I'm a developer and this is a little out of my area of expertise so some other folks may be able to shed more light on the details of this approach. Still, if anyone comes at it from the point of view that I had, this is a great solution to look into to perform an important SEO function without digging into the depths of IIS.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Jonathan Wood
Black Belt Coder
United States United States
Jonathan Wood has been a software developer for more years than he cares to admit. His current focus is on using C# and ASP.NET MVC to develop website applications, and C++ and MFC to develop desktop applications. His consulting company, SoftCircuits, is known for producing various commercial and shareware products.

Having an entrepreneurial spirit, Jonathan also has a number of other online businesses that he built from scratch such as Black Belt Coder, Trail Calendar and others. He also has expertise in designing brands (including graphics and logos) and search-engine optimization (SEO).

Jonathan is always willing to discuss consulting work or joint ventures with people looking to develop software or online businesses.

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Comments and Discussions

BugIs negate="true" really required here? Pin
Ravinder Singh, PMP19-Dec-14 20:16
memberRavinder Singh, PMP19-Dec-14 20:16 
QuestionSir Pin
sabaaqeel31-Dec-13 2:19
membersabaaqeel31-Dec-13 2:19 

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