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Create custom URLs using URL mapping

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OpenCities Product Team

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This task can be undertaken by users with the following roles: OC Power Publisher, OC Site Manager, and OC System Administrator.

URL Mapping is a useful tool that allows you to create shorter, more readable URLs for pages with long or complex URLs. You can use this feature to redirect, customize or trim an original URL address, which is necessary when promoting webpages in print or social media where you have less space for your message.

For example, you may need to promote an event on your social media accounts, but the full URL takes up too many characters and leaves you little space for other information. You could use URL Mapping to shorten a URL for:


And create a more straightforward and approachable URL, such as:


This new URL will redirect users to the original event page, which gives you more space in your communication to give other details and makes it easier for your community to type it into their browser if they need to.

Before we go through how to create them, let's first talk about the difference between URL Mapping, redirects, and creating URL addresses in the Settings tab.

URL Mapping, redirects, and creating URL address

On the surface, URL Mapping, redirects, and creating URL addresses all do the same thing; they make a redirect link site visitors can use to enter or navigate your site. But there are some differences in how they're best used.

  • URL Mapping is best used to create shorter, more readable URLs that your community can quickly enter into their browser and which are more palatable on social media. Additionally, they are helpful if your new OpenCities site has not been indexed by search engines yet; you can create URL Mappings for the top search results so that URLs for your old site link to your new site. This has the added benefit of redirecting users who might have old URLs bookmarked.
  • OC Redirect Pages are great for linking to internal or external pages while appearing in navigation menus, content lists, search results, and child links on landing pages. 
  • The Create URL address field in the Settings tab on any page is available to users with OC Site Manager or OC System Administrator roles. This option is helpful for ensuring that URLs for previous page versions can still link to the current version. For example, you may need to move a page from one section to another, and publishing the page in its new section will alter the URL. When you move and Publish the page, a new URL will be created in the Create URL address list, which will ensure that any site visitors who have the URL for the previous version will be redirected to the current version without encountering a 404 error page. Additionally, you can use this option for any users who have saved the URL to an archived or deleted page; adding a new URL here before you archive or delete the page will redirect them to a new page.

Create a URL Mapping

To create a URL Mapping:

  1. From the main menu, go to More > URL Mappings. You'll see a searchable list of previously created mappings.
  2. To create a new one, select Create Mapping.
  3. Fill out the necessary fields.
  4. Select Create Mapping to confirm and save your settings.


You can also Edit, Delete, or Deactivate an existing mapping by selecting the option from the cogwheel dropdown menu.

What to include in your URL Mapping

Use the following information to create your URL Mapping:

Field Function
Requested url

This field will display the domain of your site already. Enter your preferred URL in the text box provided. For the example above, you would enter Winter Magic Festival.

If the URL is already in use, you will be asked to choose another address.

Redirect to

Enter the URL you would like your Requested url to link to in this field.

You can either paste the URL directly into the field, use the content selector to navigate to the internal page you need, or start typing the Page name in the field and select the correct page from the list.


Redirect all URLs that start with the requested URL path

If this is checked, all URLs with additional information added onto the mapping will also redirect to the specified address.

With the example above, [Public]/Winter-Magic-Festival/Winter/Events will redirect to the Winter Magic Festival event page.

Keep the requested URL after redirect

Check this box to ensure that the shortened URL remains in the browser after the page loads.

Please note that this function is only effective when redirecting to pages within the same domain and will not work for redirects to pages in a subsite. 

Activate date

Set an activate date for your URL Mapping. By default, the mapping will activate as soon as it's created.

However, you can set an activate date to correspond to when the URL is relevant, such as a mapping for an event that happens throughout the month of December.

Deactivate date Set a date for the URL Mapping to deactivate. If you don't set a Deactivate date, the mapping will continue indefinitely.

What else?

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