Durable Links in SharePoint allow users to open a document in WOPI (Web Application Open Platform Interface Protocol) using unique resource IDs that are assigned to each document. This allows users to rename or move their documents to new places without worrying about breaking the various links referring to the document.

Durable links are a great feature which allows the improvement of SEO and search based indexing to remain functional for documents even after they are renamed or moved to another document library.  Not only does this feature allow us to manage documents easily, but it also ensures that other services, whether it’s SharePoint or a 3rd party solution, continue to work seamlessly.

Causes for broken links can be any of the following:

  • Forgetting to change internal links while moving or renaming a web page.
  • Failing to update references to a SharePoint library or list after moving documents.
  • Restructuring libraries and lists without informing users.
  • Content migration from one location to another without implementing a Redirect Page.
  • Renaming files while archiving or organizing content.
  • Contents in the redirect destination are moved or renamed after the redirect has been implemented.

In this blog, I would like to discuss three common aspects of Durable Links: technical architecture, activating durable links, and illustration of durable links.

Technical Architecture

The technical architecture for durable links is based on DocID. When a document is requested by the end user, the WOPI, used by Office Online Server to view or edit the document, searches for the specific document in the SharePoint content database with the specified DocID. The document is then presented to the end user and they never see any of this technical plumbing.

sharepoint-docid

Activating Durable Links

Durable links can be activated on a SharePoint 2016 site collection as follows:

  1. Open the SharePoint 2016 site collection as Site Collection Administrator.
  2. Click on the Settings gear located on the top right of the SharePoint site collection and select Site Settings from the drop down menu.
    sharepoint-intranet-home
  3. Select Site Collection Features link from the Site Collection Administration section.
    sharepoint-site-collection-features
  4. Find and Activate the Document ID Service feature from the Site Collection features page.
    sharepoint-document-id-service

Illustration of Durable Links

The durable links can be tested on the site collection where we have already activated the Document ID Service feature.

In the example below a document exists with the title property Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet.docx and the absolute URL: https://<server>/Shared%20Documents/Lorem%20Ipsum%20Dolor%20Sit%20Amet.docx?d=w6143f2e64bb84649aef201322eacd269.

sharepoint-file-1

For demonstration purposes we will rename the above document to Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet (Final).docx with the absolute url:

https:///Shared%20Documents/Lorem%20Ipsum%20Dolor%20Sit%20Amet%20(Final).docx?d=w6143f2e64bb84649aef201322eacd269

sharepoint-file-2

In both scenarios, despite having been renamed, the link will return the correct document. This is due to the DocID assigned to the document (w6143f2e64bb84649aef201322eacd269) remaining the same.

Conclusion

Durable links are one of the most important features included in SharePoint 2016. I believe the use of Durable Links will greatly improve different aspects of SharePoint sites related to broken or dead links, as well as improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Moreover, Durable Links will have an important role to play when customizations are done to the SharePoint environments where the end user may move design related artifacts from one library to another. With Durable links, worrying about broken links will be a thing of the past.

If you’d like to learn more about SharePoint, or Durable Links, be sure to contact FMT using the form below. We’d be happy to help!