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I keep a regular watch on the the Redirect Component and lately I have noticed a lot of 404s being registered that is a bit confusing.

For instance, there is a SEF link like /books/new-book which works fine. Now I see a 404 on /books/new-book/index.php even though nowhere in the site is there a link like that. I haven't messed about with the core .htaccess file although I have added a few custom redirect 301s none of which does anything to add/update index.php. I have tried recreating the scenario but failed and when sometimes there is a link in the referrer column, it is the exact same link as the 404ed link which makes little sense.

Could I be missing something rather obvious here or be able to test if it is indeed my Redirect 301s? Thanks.

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    Well, somewhere has to be a link to /books/new-book/index.php, at least for a short period of time. Have you checked your access log ? Maybe bots are running this url. Besides that it looks like something did just add 'index.php' to a current url. This can happen if you relative link to "index.php" without the right baseurl. – Nils Rückmann Feb 23 '15 at 11:25
  • Nils, I had a quick look at the a few days access logs and it is indeed the bots that seem to be finding these URLs with index.php. And as you mentioned, it might have been some links for a short period of time when there was a some of content with bad links. One thing I didn't quite understand is what you mean by "can happen if you relative link" to index.php without the right baseurl. The links on the site are either Joomla SEF or static links, so would you mind if you could give an example of the problem you mentioned. Thanks. – sifu Feb 23 '15 at 18:38
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    Well, there could be an extension which does not use JRoute. So if you have a link link <a href="index.php..."> without a proper baseurl information browser/bots might think you mean an index.php within a subdirectory – Nils Rückmann Feb 24 '15 at 7:56
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This is normal.

There are so many bots trawling the web for vulnerabilities that you will end up with thousands of urls stored in the database by the Redirect Component in a short period of time and most of these will be for urls that have never existed on your website.

It is probably best to only set "Collect URLs" to enabled in the "System - Redirect" plugin for a few days at a time to check for any legitimate redirects that need to be enabled. Sorting the list by the "404 Hits" column helps to find the legitimate broken links.

Once you have completed a session, there is now (since Joomla 3.5.0) a "Purge Unpublished" option in the component to purge the unwanted redirect urls from the database.

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