In general it is recommend to not use querystring in the url as search engines doesn't rank those pages well and give very low priority. To avoid querystring there are several third party component that can be used like ISAPI, url rewriter. However in this article, I am going to show you how to rewrite url using ASP.NET built in HttpHandler.
HttpHandler is the low level Request and Response API to service incoming Http requests. All handlers implement the IHttpHandler interface. There is no need to use any extra namespace to use it as it contains in the System.Web namespace. Handlers are somewhat analogous to Internet Server Application Programming Interface (ISAPI) extensions.
In this article, I am going to explain how to use HttpHandler to create a SEO friendly as well as user friendly url. During this article I will create two .aspx file, one HandlerUrl.cs class file. I am assuming here that I have to show different article based on the id I get from the request. But I will not get the id as querystring but as part of the name of the page like article1.aspx or article2.aspx. Here 1 and 2 is my article id. I will extract it and send into my page (showarticle.aspx) using Server.Transfer method so that my url in the browser will be like article1.aspx but internally it will be served as showarticle.aspx?id=1.
I am going to show how to do this in few steps
Step 1 - Create a HttpHandler
Right click your App_Code folder and add a .cs file named HandlerUrl.cs and write following code.
/// Demo url HttpHandler
public class DemoUrlHandler: IHttpHandler
/// Process my requet
/// <param name="context"></param>
public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)
// get the requested page name like article1.aspx
string strUrl = System.IO.Path.GetFileName(context.Request.RawUrl.ToString());
// get the page name without extension eg. "article1"
int len = strUrl.IndexOf(".");
// as the length of "article" is 7
int sep = 7;
// subtract the length of "article" word from the complete length of the page name to get the
// length of the id, as it may be 1, 100, 50000 (1 character lonr or 3 chars long or may be 5 chars long)
len -= sep;
// now get the exact id
string id = strUrl.Substring(sep, len);
// Now transfer the request to the actual page that will show the article based on the id
HttpContext.Current.Server.Transfer("~/urlhandler/showArticle.aspx?id=" + id);
public bool IsReusable
As you can see I have inherited IHttpHandler interface into DemoUrlHandler class file so I will have to implement two methods of it ProcessRequest and IsReusable. ProcessRequest is the method that handle my request and send the request using Server.Transfer to the showArticle.aspx specifying the id of as the querystring. I have done some calculations to extract the id from the name of the requested page.
Step 2- Add httpHandler into the web.config file
Go to your web.config file and add the handler for your request as below inside system.web tag.
<add verb="*" path="article/article*.aspx" type="UrlHandlerNameSpace.DemoUrlHandler"/>
In the above code,
specifies whether the request will serve only GET or POST or all request (*), I have specified that this handler should serve all kinds of the request.
specifies the path, when requested my hand;er should take action. In this case I have specified that my handler should act when my requested url contains "article/article*.aspx". You can specify wild chard characters too, like I have specified here. Notice "*" between "article" and ".aspx" characters. It means that I am instructing that my handler should act irrespective of whatever characters comes after "article" word in my page name.
specifies the url handler class name preceded with namespace. Here I have kept my handler class DemoUrlHandler inside UrlHandlerNameSpace namespace.
Step 3 - Create a page (default.aspx) to list different urls
For testing purpose I have created a default.aspx page that will list different urls like article1.aspx, article2.aspx, article3.aspx etc. as displayed in the picture below.
Step 4 - Create a page (showArticle.aspx) to Show artilces
This page will show my article based on the querystring passed to it from my handler.
protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
if (Request["id"] != null)
// Call your function to get data from database based on the id
// This is just a demo application so I am writing title based on the id
string title = "Title for Article " + Request["id"].ToString();
litPageTitle.Text = title;
this.Title = title;
Now make the default.aspx page as startup page and run your demo project. You should see the page like default.aspx above, try clicking one of the url and you will see corresponding page (below image). Notice the address bar in the picture below. The url is "/article/article8.aspx" but internally this page is being served by showarticle.aspx with querystring as 8 (/urlhandler/showarticle.aspx?id=8). In this way you are not showing querystring in the browser, your url is neat and clean. This page will be understood by the search engines as a complete stand along page rather than a page with different querystring value and will be givne much more weightage than single page with diifferent querystring value.
To form a SEO friendly and user friendly url we don't need to use any third party component, using ASP.NET HttpHandler we can do it easily by writing a little amount of code.
Thanks and happy coding !!!