Removing individual entries from the auto-complete list

Wrong entry in a form

Have you ever typed out something wrong in the Google search form and, every time you search for something similar, that wrong term frustratingly comes up in the autocomplete list?

Well, it’s very easy to clear the autocomplete list by clearing the browser cache of saved form and search history. But, what if you wanted to delete only the misspelled term, and leave the other terms intact?

Just type in the form ’til the misspelled term shows up in the autocomplete list. Then select the misspelled term using the cursor or up/down arrows and then press ‘Delete’. This way, only the misspelled term will be deleted.

WWW or no-WWW?

Webmasters often face this dilemma – to include www in front of their domain or to exclude it. This is an oft-argued about topic in many webmasters’ discussion forums. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages on both sides.

Advantages :
Not using WWW :

  • WWW is actually a subdomain. Would you like users to access your site using a subdomain?
  • WWW, as pointed out by No-WWW.org, is deprecated. There is no purpose of typing www into the address bar except following a premeditated custom.
  • Users have to type less into the address bat to access your website.
  • Long domain names look better without the www.
  • According to some, not using www has a geekyness or coolness factor associated with it.

Using WWW :

  • People tend to trust sites which use WWW. Many take a WWW at the front of the domain name to be a sign of reliability and trust.
  • Most of the biggest players in the web industry use a WWW before their domain names.

Disadvantages :

Not using WWW :

  • People tend to think that sites not using www are unreliable and unscrupulous.
  • Not using WWW presents some difficulties while load balancing. The most common load balancing setup involves duplicating the files and the databases across different servers and pointing the WWW subdomain to those servers using CNAME records. But according to DNS specifications, bare domain names cannot have CNAME records. So, what is commonly done is, the domain is pointed to the different servers using A records instead of CNAME records. This essentially results in load sharing, not load balancing. In this configuration, the user won’t automatically load the page from the least loaded server, instead the requested page will be randomly served by any of the server.

Using WWW :

  • There is actually no feasible disadvantage of using WWW. However, we can say that while requesting a page, using www, we actually have to type out 3 extra Ws, and those three extra Ws are sent to the DNS servers for resolving. However, in this age of gigabit communication, such things hardly matter.

Now you’ll have to choose what you should implement for you website: WWW or no-WWW. Here are the .htaccess codes for redirecting users from www to non-www URLs and vice versa :

Redirection Codes :

WWW to Non-WWW :

    [sourcecode language=”text”]Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.+)$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://%1/$1 [R=301,L][/sourcecode]

Non-WWW to WWW :

    [sourcecode language=”text”]Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301,L][/sourcecode]

However, there is a common misconceptions about WWW/Non-WWW :

Q. Having both WWW and Non-WWW URLs valid is bad for SEO and will result in penalization.

A. This isn’t sufficient evidence to support this statement. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! have algorithms that are intelligent enough to know that www and non-www versions of a website are same. However, in some rare cases, it has been found that www and non-www versions of a page have different pageranks. So, it’s best to specify your preference (www/ non-www) using Google Webmaster Tools and direct all traffic to either www or non-www versions of your site.

Going offline for a few months

As you can see, the last months witnessed a decrease in posting activity here at Tech TitBits. It was because I was extremely busy preparing for my IIT entrance examinations. For the same reason, I won’t be able to post articles here for some time from now.

I’ll be probably back in April, so you’ll know when to update the feed in your RSS reader.

phpBB: Redirect broken links after uninstalling an SEO mod

SEO mods beautify your URLs and make them more spider friendly. But what happens when you uninstall an SEO mod? These SEOed URLs becomes broken and return an error code of ‘404 Not Found’. And these obsolete links can be very harmful for your Search Engine Results Page(SERP) rankings.

I’ve got emails from concerned phpBB forum administrators saying that their position in the SERPs have taken a dip after they had uninstalled their SEO mods and used my phpBB robots.txt duplicate indexing fix. What they need to do is redirect these broken links to the vanilla phpBB links. Using some simple rewrite rules, we can redirect those broken links to their proper place. And we’ll return a ‘301 Permanently Moved’ header so that the threads eventually recover their pagerank and SERP positions.
I’ll be using dcz’s Advanced phpBB3 SEO mod Rewrite as an example. This rewrites the URLs as follows :
[sourcecode language=”text”]viewforum.php?f=XX => any-keywords-fXX.html
viewforum.php?f=XX&start=YY => any-keywords-fXX-YY.html
viewtopic.php?f=XX&t=YY => any-keywords-fXX/topic-title-tYY.html
viewtopic.php?f=XX&t=YY&start=ZZ => any-keywords-fXX/topic-title-tYY-ZZ.html
viewtopic.php?p=XX => postXX.html
memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=XX => memberXX.html[/sourcecode]

To redirect the broken/obsolete URLs, you need to add the following piece of code to your .htaccess file at the root of the forum :
[sourcecode language=”text”]Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^[^/\.]+-f([0-9]+)\.html?$ /viewforum.php?f=$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^[^/\.]+-f([0-9]+)-([0-9]+)\.html?$ /viewforum.php?f=$1&start=$2 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^[^/\.]+-f([0-9]+)/[^/\.]+-t([0-9]+)\.html?$ /viewtopic.php?f=$1&t=$2 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^[^/\.]+-f([0-9]+)/[^/\.]+-t([0-9]+)-([0-9]+)\.html?$ /viewtopic.php?f=$1&t=$2&start=$3 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^post([0-9]+)\.html?$ /viewtopic.php?p=$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^member([0-9]+)\.html?$ /memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=$1 [R=301,L][/sourcecode]

These rules will ensure that those SEOed URLs are 301 redirected to the proper phpBB vanilla URLs, and you’ll eventually recover your pagerank and SERP position.

If you have a problem or you need mod_rewrite rules for another variant of an SEO mod, leave a comment and I’ll help you.

How to avoid restarting your computer after a software install

Many a times, a program you just installed refuses to work without a restart. It’s genuinely annoying to restart your computer again just to use the software. Well, there’s a workaround.

Most of these programs demands a restart because they want the Windows Registry to be re-read. An actual restart is required only for hardware changes, or for system level software like operating system patches or drivers. Most of the other programs should be satisfied by a registry re-read. To force a registry re-read you just have to terminate and restart the Windows Explorer process(explorer.exe).

To do this, press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Esc]. The Windows task manager opens up. Select the Processes tab and terminate the ‘explorer.exe’ process by right-clicking on it.

Terminating explorer.exe process

After this we need to restart the explorer.exe process. Go to ‘File>Run’ in Windows task manager itself and type in explorer.exe. The Windows Explorer process will be started and the registry will be re-read in the process.

To make this process simpler, we can take the help of a batch file. Type the following commands into an empty text file and save it as ‘reg_read.bat’.(Notice the .bat at the end)

@echo off
taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
explorer.exe

This batch file terminates the explorer.exe process and then restarts it.

Now, whenever you need to make windows reread the registry to avoid a restart after you install a new program, double click on ‘reg_read.bat’ and start using the software right away.

Note : It is recommended that you perform an actual restart after installing Windows patches, hotfixes and drivers.