As a follow-up to my previous post on redirection behavior of the Alexa Top 50 sites, my coworkers suggested that I run the same analysis when accessing those sites from a mobile browser.

Of course I didn't gather the data in the first study manually and the only way to fetch the contents of a URL from the command line is curl, obviously. So, the first step in conducting this data analysis was reading the curl man page to figure out how to include a custom user-agent string in requests:

-A, --user-agent

(HTTP) Specify the User-Agent string to send to the HTTP server. To encode blanks in the string, surround the string with single quote marks. This can also be set with the -H, --header option of course.

If this option is used several times, the last one will be used.

I chose to use the UA String from Fenix:

Mozilla/5.0 (Android 9; Mobile; rv:71.0) Gecko/71.0 Firefox/71.0

The results were surprising: Only 15 of the Alexa Top 50 used HTTP redirects to send a mobile user to a custom mobile-friendly URL. The other 35, presumably,

  • Use JS redirection to send the user to a mobile-friendly version of their website;
  • Use responsive design to build their website;
  • Give the same user experience to desktop users and mobile users.

As before, the results are available online.