Redirect Links

Some sites use links to different domain that then redirect to their actual site, such as YouTube or Facebook. Why is that? And can't that be a security issue if a person just has to trust that an unfamiliar link will take them to the trusted site that they indended to go to?
 

Pupp

Member
It's pretty common. It's mainly used for analytics, like how many millions of people are clicking on Walmart.com everyday. For example Verizon does that. The bigger the company, the more likely they have the resources to actually figure out and use the analytics of millions of people clicking on their link from various search engines.
 
They can't collect user traffic directly at Walmart.com? And again can't this be a security issue for users? I can be told a link will forward me to a particular site, but it could go to a clone site that hacks my computer.
 

Pupp

Member
They can't collect traffic generated by search engines directly at, for example, Walmart.com. So there needs to be an intermediary between the search engine and company's website.

I don't know why big companies use a 3rd party company to analyze internet traffic. Most likely there is a host of reasons. It might be that Walmart owns the "company" that analyzes it's internet traffic. It can't be on Walmart.com's website, so it has to be named something, even if the actual IP address is at Walmart's headquarters, hypothetically anyway.
 

_Kyle_

Well-Known Member
Can't a virus attack upon going to a site? It might be too late?
A website itself can't give you a virus without you doing anything. You'd have to manually download the virus itself (which the site may try tricking you into), but then the virus couldn't do anything. Then you'd have to run it. Big corporate sites like Walmart and the such should never redirect to a virus (they'd potentially get into some big legal trouble). If you ever doubt the security of a website or if you're unsure something is a virus, don't download and run it. Some adblockers such as UBlock Origin can block a lot of known fraudulent sites, if you're worried (it's free too).

Also, as for the seperate domain, a lot of websites use an external service that tracks statistics, or they use a separate domain to exclusively track statistics to alleviate some of that load on their main website's servers.
 
Is there a list of the direct from domains that the more popular sites use? Many google searches link to direct pdf downloads versus going to an actual page. Couldn't a pdf file contain a virus if downloaded mistakenly? Or the site here which isn't so much a site as an application that my phone apparently download in order to use this forum?
 

voyagerfan99

Master of Turning Things Off and Back On Again
Staff member
Is there a list of the direct from domains that the more popular sites use? Many google searches link to direct pdf downloads versus going to an actual page. Couldn't a pdf file contain a virus if downloaded mistakenly? Or the site here which isn't so much a site as an application that my phone apparently download in order to use this forum?
Google isn't going to index malicious stuff. There's nothing explicitly wrong with a PDF. Just don't click any links or activate any add-ons that may come with it.
 

beers

Moderator
Staff member
Depends, anything can 302 to anything else though. Usually you would be trusting the destination URL such as youtube.com because they are the only ones with a signed certificate for that domain.

You can view any redirection URL results with CLI tools or something if you're skeptical.
─[[email protected]]─[~]
└──╼ $curl http://geha.gay --head --silent | grep Location
Location: http://meatspin.com
 

Pupp

Member
They can't collect user traffic directly at Walmart.com? And again can't this be a security issue for users? I can be told a link will forward me to a particular site, but it could go to a clone site that hacks my computer.
They collect all sorts of analytics at, say walmart.com, but they need an in-between address just for the clicks specifically from various search engines. The reason is that anyone can type in walmart.com into the address bar or use a bookmark, so in order to make sure they're analyzing traffic specifically from external links, they need an intermediary website. I'd think most of this sort of stuff would be done by companies that specializes in that type of analytics.
 
Last edited:
Top