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4SEF is the Next level of sh404SEF a Joomla 3 and Joomla 4 extension that offers SEF URLs creation and customization. If that sounds familiar, it's likely because this is what sh404SEF has been doing for about 15 years now and if you read this, there's a chance you've used sh404SEF at some point in your Joomla adventures!

sh404SEF however is not really capable of making the jump to Joomla 4, and it is also limited now in terms of pure SEO features.


Last year, 4SEO was released to take over all of sh404SEF SEO features and add many more. Now 4SEF is - nearly - ready to take over creating and managing SEF URLs for either Joomla 3 and Joomla 4 websites.

It's not a stripped-down version of sh404SEF, re-packaged for Joomla 4. 4SEF is using the same modern user interface that powers 4SEO, and all its code has been rewritten from scratch for better performance and some improved features, while retaining the same SEF URLs that sh404SEF produces.


SEF URLs are independent of the menu system

This is the main difference and benefit of 4SEF, and it has 3 consequences:

  • you do not need to crete menu items for articles or categories to have short and logical SEF URLs
  • you can link content from multiple places, and the same page will always have the same URL.


SEF URLs are stored to the database

This means:

  • you can see a list of pages on your site
  • you can manually customize them to your liking, in just one click - and 4SEF will automatically redirect the old URL to the new, custom one.


SEF URLs are permanent

As SEF URLs are not linked to menu items, you can change your menu items structure safely, without breaking all the links to your site found in the internet, and without loosing any SEO value the pages may have.

SEF URLs are only modified when you purposedly delete them from 4SEF SEF URLs list.


SEF URLs triggers real 404 error codes when missing

The native system tends to respond to some requests as if the page existed, while the URL is actually incorrect. This is sub-optimal in terms of SEO, where a real 404 error code should be returned whenever an incorrect or incomplete URL is used.


SEF URLs are configurable

You can decide to include or exclude one or more categories in SEF URLs, include IDs, include creation date, insert a prefix and multiple other options, per extension.

Again, the URL structure is decided by options you select in 4SEF configuration and not by the website menus structure.


4SEF is backward-compatible with sh404SEF

At least in most cases, 4SEF will create the same URLs, for the same content, as sh404SEF would have created.

This is true for Joomla native extensions and many 3rd-party extensions.

4SEF uses a plugin system to know how to build SEF URLs for extensions. When one is not available for a given extension, it falls back to using the Joomla URLs


4SEF does not know how to use SEF URLs plugin that may have been written for sh404SEF in order to build SEF URLs for specific extensions. These will have to be rewritten in accordance to 4SEF new plugin format.

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