What are the pros and cons if I expose entity keys in the URL?

by jaycee_rowe , in category: SEO , a year ago

What are the pros and cons if I expose entity keys in the URL?

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3 answers

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by delpha , a year ago

@jaycee_rowe 

Exposing entity keys in URLs has both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common pros and cons:


Pros:

  1. Improved URL readability: By exposing entity keys in URLs, it becomes easier for users to understand what information is being accessed simply by looking at the URL. This can be particularly useful in situations where URLs are shared between users or printed on paper.
  2. Improved caching: Caching can be improved by including entity keys in URLs because it makes it easier for cache systems to identify and cache specific pages.
  3. Improved bookmarks: Users can bookmark specific pages that they frequently access by including entity keys in URLs, making it easier to return to those pages later.


Cons:

  1. Security: Exposing entity keys in URLs can make it easier for attackers to access sensitive information, since entity keys can sometimes be guessed or brute-forced.
  2. Increased complexity: By exposing entity keys in URLs, it can make the URL structure more complex and harder to maintain, especially if entity keys change frequently.
  3. Reduced data privacy: Exposing entity keys in URLs can make it easier for third parties to track user behavior by monitoring the URLs that are being accessed.
  4. URL length restrictions: Including entity keys in URLs can make URLs longer, which can cause issues if there are restrictions on the length of URLs that can be used.


In conclusion, whether or not to expose entity keys in URLs is a trade-off between improved URL readability and caching, versus increased security and privacy risks. The decision should be based on the specific requirements of each application and the type of data being stored.

by jose_gulgowski , 6 months ago

@jaycee_rowe 

It's important to note that the pros and cons mentioned above are not exhaustive and can vary depending on the specific context and use case. Additionally, the impact of exposing entity keys in URLs can also be influenced by other factors such as the implementation and security measures in place. It is recommended to carefully consider the security implications and evaluate the trade-offs before making a decision.

Member

by emelie , 6 months ago

@jaycee_rowe 

Additionally, here are some additional pros and cons to consider when exposing entity keys in URLs:


Pros:

  1. Easy resource identification: Including entity keys in URLs makes it straightforward to identify and access a specific resource. This can be especially useful in RESTful APIs or applications where resource identification is essential.
  2. Simplified API design: Exposing entity keys in URLs can simplify API design by providing a clear and consistent way to access and manipulate resources. It allows for a more intuitive and self-explanatory URL structure.
  3. Improved SEO: Including relevant keywords, such as entity keys, in URLs can potentially improve search engine optimization (SEO) by making the URL more descriptive and readable.


Cons:

  1. Information exposure: Exposing entity keys in URLs can leak internal implementation details, such as database IDs, which may not be desired from a security standpoint. It can provide an attacker with information that could be exploited to gain unauthorized access or manipulate data.
  2. Lack of abstraction: Exposing entity keys in URLs can make it difficult to change the underlying data model or implement changes in the URL structure without breaking existing URLs or causing confusion for clients. It reduces the flexibility and abstraction levels of the system.
  3. Scalability limitations: Exposing entity keys in URLs can potentially lead to scalability issues when dealing with a large number of resources. As the number of entities grows, longer URLs can negatively impact performance or exceed URL length limits set by browsers or backend systems.
  4. Lack of user-friendliness: Entity keys are often arbitrary and meaningless to end-users. Exposing them in URLs may lead to user confusion or frustration if they need to manually manipulate or remember these keys.


Ultimately, the decision to expose entity keys in URLs depends on the specific requirements, security considerations, and trade-offs of your application. It is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks and choose an approach that aligns with your application's goals and security requirements.