Path Aliases

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Every web page that you visit has an address, or URL, that is listed in the address bar of your web browser. If you've paid attention to the URLs in your web browser, then you've probably seen quite a few that look as though they span a paragraph in length. This doesn't affect the visitor's ability to get to the page. After all, clicking on a link is clicking a link, regardless of its size. However, if the person tries to remember the link, or needs to write it down, then it gets ugly. Beyond that, it's nice to have URLs that are actually meaningful for the search engine 'spiders' that crawl the Web and index everything.

This begs the question, "where do the URLs come from?" The answer, with regards to Drupal, is that they are created by the software, and they're not pretty. Here is the URL for the Soul Reading page that we just looked at.

Not very helpful at all, is it? Fortunately, we can make this link much nicer to look at, and much more meaningful. Drupal comes with a Path module. The term 'path' refers to the portion of the URL that follows the domain name: node/15 in the example above. The Path module allows us to create an alias path. The original path will still exist and be usable (Drupal will continue to use it internally), but the path that is presented to the site visitor (and the search engines) will be the alias. Let's create an alias for one of our articles.

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