There are lots of times that you may see the string _rdr in a Facebook URL. Often it follows either a ? (question mark) or an & (ampersand), such as in facebook[dot]com/gettingstarted/rdr or http://www.facebook.com/gettingstarted/?step=friend_suggestions&_rdr. But what do they mean? Read on.
The first thing to understand is that, generally speaking, either a ? or a & are not part of the web address – they are things that get added on in order to provide the website’s server with additional information.
The ? can be thought of as telling the website “Attention, website server! The following data is for you to process.”
So, for example, if you do a search on our site, through the search box, for the term ‘monkey’, the results will be at this URL:
In this example, the ? is telling theinternetpatrol.com server “Attention, server! This person is searching for articles containing the term ‘monkey’.”
The “s=” on our system tells our server that the term following the “s=” is the search term; the ? has alerted our server to the fact that there is information to process – that information being the “s=monkey”.
The & is how you string together additional information.
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For example, you might see in a payment URL (such as a Paypal link):
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In this example, the data to the right of the ? is telling the payment processor that the customer’s email address is email@example.com, that there is no shipping, and that the customer is paying in USD (U.S. dollars).
This brings us to some of the most confusing Facebook URLs of all time (at least judging by the searches we get): what do “?_rdr” and “&_rdr”, such as in https://m.facebook.com/gettingstarted/?_rdr or https://m facebook com/gettingstarted/?step=friend_suggestions&_rdr, in a Facebook URL mean?
With your newfound understanding of ? and &, you can see that the _rdr is always following either a ? or a &, which means that it is data being passed to and collected by Facebook, or somehow used by the Facebook server.
Some have guessed that the “rdr” stands for “redirect” or “redirected”, as in “redirected from”.
But the reality is that nobody but Facebook actually knows what it stands for. (If you are someone who can prove us wrong, please do! Let us know in a comment what it stands for!)
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