How to Set Up 301 Redirects in WordPress

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Friday September 29, 2023
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Web Hosting - 301 Redirects

Whether you're establishing a fresh link structure or transferring your WordPress site to a new domain, it's essential to configure 301 redirects in WordPress. This allows you to permanently relocate a web page to a different URL while preserving its search engine ranking authority.

This article will provide insights into the significance of 301 redirects for enhancing WordPress SEO and present various techniques for implementing them. These methods include leveraging redirection plugins, utilizing a PHP script, or editing your site's .htaccess file. We will also show you how to set up a 301 redirect using your Hostney Control Panel.

What Does a 301 Redirect Mean in WordPress?

A 301 redirect is an HTTP status code that a web server sends to a browser, indicating that a web page has been permanently relocated to a different location. When visitors attempt to access the old URL, they are automatically redirected to the new one. This mechanism is crucial for maintaining your website's traffic, preserving link equity, and ensuring the continuity of its SEO value.

Opting for a permanent redirect over a temporary one offers numerous advantages to your WordPress website:

  • Better user experience. When visitors arrive at your website via outdated links, they could encounter a 404 error or irrelevant content. Redirects guarantee a seamless journey to the intended destination URL, eliminating any disruptions.
  • Maintained SEO impact. Search engines acknowledge 301 redirects as enduring modifications and will transfer the link authority from the old page to the new one. In the absence of permanent redirection rules, your website could suffer a decline in search engine rankings and the accumulated credibility it has gained.
  • Refreshed URLs. Broken links can be a source of frustration for users and can harm your website's credibility. When you're reorganizing your entire website or making changes to its URL structure, 301 redirects guarantee that all links direct visitors to the appropriate pages.
  • Reduced duplicate content. When several URLs present identical content, search engines can face challenges in determining the authoritative version. Redirecting duplicate URLs to the preferred version enhances the visibility of your WordPress blog in search results.
  • Enhanced content quality. As time passes, blog posts may become obsolete, inaccurate, or no longer in line with your current objectives. By employing 301 redirects, you have the ability to enhance your existing WordPress content by substituting underperforming articles with updated ones.

How to Set Up 301 Redirects Using the 301 Redirects Plugin

Utilizing the '301 Redirects' plugin is a highly recommended option for efficiently directing users from the source URL to the new destination.

In addition to facilitating permanent 301 redirects, its free version also grants you the capability to configure temporary 302 and 307 redirects:

  1. Access your WordPress dashboard and proceed to install the 301 Redirects plugin.
  2. After installation and activation of the plugin, navigate to the Settings menu and locate 301 Redirects.
  3. Go to Redirect Rules and select one of the available redirect types - 301, 302, or 307.
  4. Input your existing page or post URL in the Redirect From field.
  5. Beneath Redirect To, set the drop-down menu to Custom and input the new link.
  6. Finally, click the Save button to implement the redirect.

How to Set Up 301 Redirects Manually by Editing the .htaccess File

If you're proficient in coding, manually editing the .htaccess file presents another feasible choice.

Here are the steps to locate the .htaccess file in your website's root directory and establish a 301 redirect:

  1. Access your website's files using an FTP client, SCP client, or the File Manager.
  2. Navigate to your website's root directory and open the .htaccess file.
  3. After the line stating 'RewriteEngine on,' insert the following code snippet to establish a 301 redirect:

Redirect 301 /old-url/ https://www.example.com/new-url/

  1. Substitute '/old-url/' with the original URL and 'https://www.example.com/new-url/' with the destination URL.
  2. Save the .htaccess file.

You can also relocate your previous website to a different domain with the help of a .htaccess redirect:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^olddomain.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.olddomain.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://newdomain.com/$1 [L,R=301,NC]

Be sure to substitute both 'olddomain.com' and 'newdomain.com' with the domain names of your website.

How to Set Up 301 Redirects Using a PHP Script

Experienced users have the option to develop a PHP script for configuring 301 redirects in WordPress. This approach proves beneficial when handling numerous redirects.

  1. Gain access to your website's files by using an FTP client, SCP client, or the File Manager.
  2. Create a new file in your website's root directory and name it 'redirect.php'.
  3. Add the following code:
<?php
header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
header("Location: https://www.example.com/new-url/");
exit();
?>
  1. Substitute 'https://www.example.com/new-url/' with the desired new URL for redirection. You can include multiple sets of this code for various redirections.
  2. Save the file.

To verify the functionality of the 301 redirect, open your web browser and enter the address of your PHP script. It should resemble this:

https://www.yourwebsite.com/redirect.php

How to Set Up 301 Redirects Using Your Hostney Control Panel

Please ensure to adhere to these quick instructions: Redirects (301 / 302) - Web Hosting - HOSTNEY

Redirect Codes

In the realm of setting up redirects, the 301 status code isn't the sole alternative at your disposal.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect signifies a lasting relocation from one URL to another. This is of utmost importance for safeguarding SEO value and ensuring a consistent user experience.

It's the ideal selection when you are confident that the modification is permanent and you aim to smoothly guide visitors to the new destination.

302 Redirect

In contrast to the enduring character of a 301 redirect, a 302 redirect signifies a temporary relocation of a URL – the original URL will eventually be reinstated.

This kind of redirect proves advantageous when you require temporary maintenance or testing on the original page with the intention of restoring it later

303 Redirect

A 303 redirect stands as a distinct form of redirection, signaling that a resource is accessible at an alternative location. Typically, this is employed in response to a POST request initiated by a web browser.

In essence, a 303 status code instructs the client to issue a GET request to retrieve the resource. This frequently occurs in situations such as when a form submission redirects users to a different page.

307 Redirect

Much like the 302 redirect, a 307 redirect signifies a temporary relocation, indicating that the resource being accessed has been provisionally shifted to a different location.

Conclusion

When transitioning to a new domain, revamping your website structure, or merely updating your URLs, 301 redirects play a crucial role in preserving the user experience and safeguarding your SEO rankings.

There are several methods available for setting up 301 redirects in WordPress, including:

  • Utilizing a redirection plugin like 301 Redirects.
  • Manually editing your site's .htaccess file.
  • Crafting a custom PHP script.

Regardless of the method you opt for, it is advisable to back up your website beforehand to prevent data loss in case of any unexpected issues.

If you'd like to learn more about 301 redirects, Google also has helpful documentation available on the Google Developers website.

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