I am aware that having too many redirects in a .htaccess file can lead to a loss of performance in apache, this leads me to my question is there a faster way to configure redirects in apache particularly if i have several hundred? i am also having to use a cpanel server in this instance.
Can you put them into
httpd.conf instead of a
.htaccess file? At least this way, apache only has to parse them once.
Alternatively, look at Apache's RewriteMap directive in the mod_rewrite module. To quote:
For plain text and DBM format files the looked-up keys are cached in-core until the
mtimeof the mapfile changes or the server does a restart. This way you can have map-functions in rules which are used for every request. This is no problem, because the external lookup only happens once!
In the grand scheme of things, 'several hundred' isn't a lot - I've known .htaccess files to have several thousand redirects - not necessarily wise, but not impossible.