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As explained here, WordPress has Automatic URL Redirects. However, it's not based on .htaccess which WordPress keeps to a minimum.

Let's say your "siteurl" setting (in the GUI) contains "www.". If a visitor didn't use "www", how and in which file does WordPress manage to detect that and redirect accordingly?

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  • It would seem the class is setup and some work within /wp-includes/class-wp-rewrite.php. I'm looking into it further and learning new stuff - that's always good. Jan 28 '20 at 23:47
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The literal answer to your question is that wordpress uses wp_redirect() to perform redirects. You can see the source here https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_redirect/

The implied part of your question -- about how wordpress decides when to do so -- is a bit more complicated and might be influenced by plugins such as yoast. But, for example, if wordpress's rewrite rules select a post which has a different canonical url from the requested url, wordpress may redirect to the canonical url.

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