Prior to the proliferation of content management systems that we see today, well-crafted websites were typically built using a logical directory structure to keep things organized.

This is where the slashes (/) come into play for a URL. Each slash designates a step up or down in a file directory hierarchy.

In our modern, dynamic content management systems, we don't use directories in the same way that an old directory-driven site does, but the hierarchical structure is still something that can be helpful for your user's navigation. Given that we're using database records instead of directories, though, we have to build this out in a different way.

The URL path settings tab on a node submission form contains some tools that help ensure a consistent, logical URL structure is both created and managed. When these tools are used together with some good planning, a permitted user is able to automatically set redirects when they change the location or title of their page, or even bulk update entire swaths of node paths.

On the flip side, unchecking the Generate automatic URL alias checkbox will enable a user to hand set a URL path, but it also disables some of these safeguards that we've put into place. We strongly advise against this as it can introduce issues into the system.

That being said, let's take a look at some path management tools that you can leverage on your Drupal site.