Table of Contents

    Your Ultimate Guide To Redirecting A URL

    URL

    Whether you are changing your current domain or fixing an underperforming page, the process of redirecting a URL will come in handy every now and then. While it is true that a new website will probably not need it, knowing how to work with redirects will prove to be a useful skill as your website grows.

    Read on to find out everything about URL redirection, the types, how they can be used, and three ways to set one up on your own. 

    What Is A Redirect?

    The method of sending visitors from one URL to another one is called a redirect. This is typically used to bridge visitors over from old pages to new pages, as a result of following an outdated link, for example.

    Such action is essential for preventing your visitors from stumbling upon a 404 Error page which can create a negative user experience, and have an impact on your website’s SEO. 

    Why Do Website Owners Need It?

    URL redirection is a useful tool, in various ways: 

    • When moving to a new domain, you can create a global redirection from your old URLs 
    • When you have duplicate content, you can redirect your visitors to the original and therefore protect your SEO efforts and avoid penalties from Google
    • You can strengthen your brand’s position online by purchasing several domain names related to your central one, and redirecting them to the main URL

    The Three Types

    Take a look at the three types of redirects to understand how they work.

    301

    Typically called the ‘permanent redirect’, 301 redirect can be applied at the server and browser levels. It is recommended for fixing URLs without losing the SEO leverage as this redirect is indexed by search engines.

    302

    This is a temporary URL redirection method, which is used only when business owners want to reuse the prior URL. For instance, if you are renovating a website or split-testing multiple versions of landing pages, using this URL redirect is a smart choice. That being said, 302 is not used as often as the 301 type.

    Meta Refresh

    This is considered to be a nuisance redirect from the perspective of visitors. In this case, the server data is not updated and visitors are made to wait with a message that says that the old page does not exist anymore. Experts recommend against using this method.  

    How To Set Up A Redirect 

    Now that you know what a website redirect is, it is time to learn how to set one up. Take a look at the following three ways to set up URL redirection. 

    Through cPanel 

    Generally, the redirect option is specified on the cPanel of your hosting software. For example, on A2 Hosting, you can see an option to choose 301/302 redirects under the ‘Domains’ function. 

    Once you make the choice of redirect type, specify the source URL, which is the domain you want to take the visitors from. For example, your source address could be www.mayasgarden.com/Pottery. 

    Next, go to the tab that says ‘Redirects to’ and add the URL of the domain/page you want to take your visitors to. For example, your destination URL could be www.mayagaia.com/pottery-encyclopedia/.

    Finally, choose whether to redirect with or without www and other settings and click on ‘Add’.  

    Use A WordPress Plugin 

    WP business owners have an easier alternative by using plugins. All you need to do is select a good plugin for redirecting, add it, and activate it. To do so, click on ‘Install now’ and proceed to click on ‘Activate’. 

    You will find unique instructions for every plugin and reading through will help you navigate it for URL redirects. To do so, head over to ‘Installed plugins’ and open ‘Settings’ to review the setup guide. Once complete, the redirection option will be available under ‘Tools’. You can then click on the plugin to reroute old URLs effortlessly.

    Here are the top redirect plugins for WP:

    • Redirection
    • Safe Redirect Manager
    • WP 404 Auto Redirect to Similar Post
    • WordPress Ultimate Redirect Plugin
    • SEO Redirection 

    Via HTML Meta Tag 

    Another easy way to set up a redirect is directly from the source address if you already have FTP entry to the new page. Using this method, the webmaster will edit the HTML files of the source URL by adding some code to the <head> section. 

    Here are the steps:

    1. Edit the source HTML file of the page
    2. Insert this code as shown in the example below:

    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="2;url=http://www.anotherwebsite.com/" /> 

    Example:

    <html>

    <head>

    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="2;url=http://www.anotherwebsite.com/" />

    <title>old page</title>

    </head>

    <body>

    This is the page that the redirect will take place from

    </body>

    </html>

    1. Your redirect is set up

    Summing Up 

    Redirecting visitors from an old URL to a new one is a smart way to reroute your visitors and guard your SEO traction. This may seem highly technical at first, but as you can see any website owner can create a redirect in a variety of ways, and in no time.