HTTP status code 301 is used to indicate that content has moved permanently, and that the returned URL should be used to access the requested content in future.

RFC 2616 says

Clients with link editing capabilities ought to automatically re-link references to the request-URI to one or more of the new references returned by the server, where possible.

Do any browsers actually implement this and change a bookmark's URL?

  • 3
    The "client with link editing capabilities" mentioned in the RFC may refer to a program that is both a web browser and a web page editor. That is, if you are viewing a page you have edit rights for and you open a link with an old URL that returns a 301 response, the browser-editor should update the link to use the new URL from the 301 response. (Although Amaya doesn't seem to use 301 responses to update links when I played around with it.) In other words, the RFC may not be talking about bookmarks at all.
    – Bavi_H
    Jun 12 '10 at 5:40

I tested the web browsers on my computer and none of them changed the address stored in the bookmark.

  • Internet Explorer 7 - no
  • Firefox 3.0 - no
  • Chrome 4.0 - no
  • Opera 10.01 - no

How I tested

First, I found some addresses that return a 301. For example, google.com returns a 301 to www.google.com

In each browser, I went to the bookmark editor, and manually created a bookmark for the old address. I visited the bookmark, then looked at the bookmark's properties to see if the address was updated to the new address.

While working on this, I came across a similar Stack Overflow question you may find interesting: Client Web Browser Behavior When Handling 301 Redirect.

  • Many thanks for that, and for finding the related SO question.
    – e100
    Jun 14 '10 at 10:46
  • Bavi_H, your test result is different here than in the similar question you refer, (where you actually state "yes" to Chrome and Opera). Could you please update your answers? May 1 '12 at 13:25
  • 1
    @Jesper Rønn-Jensen: The questions are asking about different things (if a bookmark address is changed; if the connection to the old server is skipped).
    – Bavi_H
    May 2 '12 at 2:52

I don't think so. They could at least ask you couldn't they?

"Such and such a site has updated their url. Would you like to update your bookmark?"


Chromium doesn't, but there was an issue raised for this https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=70377, which was closed due to inactivity and lack of feedback.

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