- Affected components: Wikimedia site configuration.
- Engineer for implementation: @Krinkle, @Ladsgroup.
- Code steward: Core Platform Team.
- Accessing wiki projects by domain results in a redirect. (Subpar performance)
- Address bars, urls and search results for our projects prominently expose the inconsistent naming conventions of each wiki. (Subpar user experience)
- SEO. "Avoid Landing Page Redirects", Google PageSpeed, https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/AvoidRedirects.
- Difficulties with tooling. Performance tests are difficult to write in a way that targets a normal view of a main page without a redirect, due to the url not being deterministic or consistent. (Current workarounds: Using a ?whatever query string, which will serve the Main Page as the default title without redirect).
- Monitoring such as "Is the Main Page for all projects up and responding content?" is not trivial, as simplistic tools do not follow redirects or consider a 301 it as success, even if the actual page with a random url is returning an error. In some places, Main_Page as a redirect is sometimes deleted, leading to false alarms.
Serve the main page of WMF wikis from a consistent URL, one that does not vary by wiki configuration, site language, or local interface message overrides.
- Traffic team. (assert potential routing impact)
- Reading Web team. (about SEO, and reader user experience)
- Performance team. (believed to improve performance)
- Core Platform Team. (core behaviour being utilised that previously has only been used by low-traffic wikis and third-parties)
- Wikimedia communities via Tech News and Community Engagement team. (identify potential impact on technical workflows we may not be aware of, so that we may help accommodate those)
The URL to WMF wiki main page varies by wiki configuration (site language, or hooks), and interface message overrides locally to the wiki. For example:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (default localised page name for EN)
- https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoofdpagina (default localised page name for NL)
- https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Hauptseite (overridden by community to a different namespace)
- https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Main_Page (local override)
- https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki (local override)
- https://fixcopyright.wikimedia.org/ (wmf-config hook)
The following are HTTP 301 redirects to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page:
The following are HTTP 301 redirects to https://fixcopyright.wikimedia.org/:
Examples of affected links:
- Portals, such as https://www.wikipedia.org and https://www.wikimedia.org.
- Language links in the sidebar of the main pages themselves.
- Interwiki links, such as [[mw:]], or [[wikitech:]].
- Browsing directly by entering the hostname of a wiki project.
- Browsing by changing homepage address of one project into another (usually leads to a 404 Not Found, as "Wikipedia:Hauptseite" would not exist on nl.wikipedia.org).
From Navigation Timing, over February 2019:
-- sampled views to enwiki/Main_Page SELECT COUNT(*),SUM(event.redirecting) FROM event.NavigationTiming WHERE year=2019 AND month=2 AND wiki="enwiki" AND event.revId=870437359 AND event.action="view" AND event.isOversample=false; -- sampled views to enwiki/Main_Page that involved a redirect SELECT COUNT(*),SUM(event.redirecting) FROM event.NavigationTiming WHERE year=2019 AND month=2 AND wiki="enwiki" AND event.revId=870437359 AND event.action="view" AND event.isOversample=false AND event.redirecting != 0;
|Sampled views||Sampled views (redirected)||Time spent redirecting|
This is from a 1:1000 sampling. This means that in February 2019, the Main Page had an estimated 31 million views from Grade A web browsers that completed their page load. Of these, over 9.7 million page views (30.5%) experienced a redirect. They cumulatively spent 233,344 hours (or over 27 years) waiting for a redirect (about 0.1 s each, on average).
I'd like us to consider changing the canonical URL to a the main page of Wikimedia wikis to be the domain root. This means https://www.wikidata.org/ would serve what we currently see at https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Main_Page, for example.
MediaWiki provides a hook that allows the canonical url for a given title to be customised. This has been in use at translatewiki.net since 2015 (written about on Nixlas' blog, source code), and also used at WMF for the Fix Copyright campaign in 2018.
- https://translatewiki.net uses Special:TwnMainPage as their home page.
- https://fixcopyright.wikimedia.org uses the Main_Page article as their home page.
Once configured, all canonical access to the main page is automatically reflected accordingly by MediaWiki.
- The link to the main page in the sidebar and on the logo will point to this.
- When browsing from the talk page, what links here, history page, contributions, search results, it points to the canonical url.
- When creating an internal link to it in wikitext like [[Main_Page]] this results in the correct HTML for an anchor link to the canonical url (e.g. <a href="/" title="Main Page">Main Page</a>).
- When editing the main page, the purges sent to the CDN layer will be for the canonical url, as expected.
- When manually browsing to /wiki/Main_Page,
MediaWiki's router normalises this to the canonical url in the form of a HTTP 301 redirect.MediaWiki will serve the page as usual without redirect, and <link re=canonical> set to the canonical url, the same way we do for other non-canonical urls and article redirects (per T120085#5345448).