Differences between unmasked and masked web redirection

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Both masked and unmasked web redirections have the same result: redirect a domain to a specific URL. The way that redirection is implemented is different.

For clarity's sake, we will define terms we will use in this article:

  • redirected domain will refer to the domain we want to redirect somewhere else
  • destination URL will refer to the URL we want to be redirected to
  • redirection server will refer to the server that handles the redirection

[edit] Basic differences

  • The biggest difference will be what the Navigation Toolbar on your browser will say:
    • with the unmasked web redirection, the destination URL will appear on the address bar as soon as we enter the redirected domain:

      Differences_between_redirections_01_EN.jpg will become Differences_between_redirections_02_EN.jpg

    • with the masked web redirection the redirected domain will stay on the address bar:

      Differences_between_redirections_01_EN.jpg will stay like that when the site is loaded Differences_between_redirections_03_EN.jpg

  • The masked web redirection includes a javascript code snippet that will delete the contents of the status bar so that it is not easy to see where the site is loading from.
  • As the website is loaded from the redirection server, the masked web redirection allows the definition of meta-tags.

[edit] Technical differences

In both cases, the redirected domains will be redirected through a redirection server. The redirection server will have an html page for each redirected domain that will forward the browser to the destination URL. The html code will be different for each redirection type.

We will use the following example: we want to forward domain.co.uk to www.amenworld.com'

  • The unmasked web redirection will use the meta-tags to redirect the domain:
<META HTTP-EQUIV=Refresh CONTENT="0; URL=http://www.amenworld.com"> 

In this case, the browser is told to make a new request for the URL specified in the code (http://www.amenworld.com).

  • The masked web redirection will use frames:
<frameset  rows="0,*" border="0" frameborder="0" framespacing="0">
<frame name="hidden" src="" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" noresize>
<frame name="content" src="http://www.amenworld.com" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="auto" frameborder="0">

Here, on the other hand, the browser will load the destination URL as part of the redirection html code. The redirection server will contain an html page with 2 frames: one empty and with length 0, and the second frame where it will load the destination URL (http://www.amenworld.com).

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