I have been using the Simple URLs plugin for as long as I can remember needing a redirection plugin until recently. I logged into one of the sites I manage and noticed that the sidebar in the dashboard looked a little different because the Simple URL link had changed to Lasso Lite / Simple URLs.
I was caught off guard by this change (As I live on the edge and have auto-updates turned on for WordPress Core, Themes, and plugins), so I was not expecting this or knowing what was up with it. After looking into it a little bit, a new company took over the plugin and rebranded it to fit their product line, link cloaking for affiliate links. And don’t get me wrong, that’s more or less what I used the plugin for initially, but I am not a fan of the new bloat that has been added to the plugin or the nagging about upgrading to a Pro version which in the grand scheme of things is NOT affordable, especially when running this plugin across many sites.
I started looking into replacement plugins and came across Redirection; this plugin is installed across many sites and seems to be the go-to for plugins like this… and best of all, it was free! I installed it on a test site and start poking around. While it does precisely what it is supposed to, I did not like the interface compared to the old Simple URLs plugin. This interface seemed like a developer created; not knocking the creator of the plugin as it works great it’s just that it could look a little nicer in terms of how you add new links since I manage some sites where I am not the main updater I needed to step back and see if this would work or keep looking for another solution.
While sitting back and thinking if this would work or not, I recalled seeing something about redirection within the RankMath SEO plugin that I also have installed across all the sites that I manage. They indeed have a redirection section built into the plugin, so the logical choice was to use this if the interface was “pretty” enough. After adding in a few links to test with, I decided that while it was a little more than I needed in terms of the interface, it would do.
I began adding in all the redirects and then removing the old plugin, it was a little time-consuming at first, but once I started going, it was not too bad. I was disappointed to see that even after creating a CSV file for import, it kept telling me that a column was missing even though I created the import directly from a CSV export from RankMath ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In the end, I am glad that I was able to minimize plugins and keep the redirection running. A little sad that the Simple URLs plugin is no longer with us, and the new version has a paid model with an overly complicated interface that is unnecessary. If I had not had the redirection section in RankMath, I likely would have added the redirects directly to the NGINX config to keep things minimal. However, if I had gone that route, I would be left in charge of making redirect additions, updates, or deletions.
*I should note the interface with all of the plugins I have mentioned is “fine,” but really was just looking for one that had a simple old link / new link kind of interface