At one point or another, if you’re a regular visitor to the internet sphere of the world, you’re almost guaranteed to stumble upon a redirect. Redirects are crucial parts of any website, and are needed more often than not, which is why it’s important to know how to use them properly and which type of redirect you need for each particular use.
To put it in layman’s terms, a redirect basically means changing one existing URL to another URL. It happens for a variety of reasons, some of which are deleting a page, changing your URL structure or switching to a new domain!
They help steer the users to the right website once the former URL is no longer in use. They help web-developers and such keep their clients by making the transition fast, easy and seamless.
Redirects are very vital parts of the SEO world and website maintenance. They help you keep traffic once you delete your website or change its location. Without redirects, it would be difficult to function and keep your business afloat.
This is why we’ll show you 5 different types of redirects and explain which type you should use and when, so buckle up and get ready to find the answers you’ve been looking for.
Types of Redirects Explained
Now that we’ve covered what redirects are and explained their importance, let’s move to different types of redirects you’re likely to encounter and familiarize you with each one. Here, you’ll find out all about the five different types of redirects, which one serves which purpose and how to figure out which one you need for your website. Here we go!
- 301 Permanent redirect
301 redirect is a permanent redirect which is used in cases of a deleted website that you’ve completely transferred to a new location. 301 redirect is also one of the most commonly used redirects as it’s extremely easy to use in WordPress and always does its job.
It’s really easy to set it up as well. Simply download it and install it from the WordPress repository and once you get to Settings, it’ll take you no more than 30 seconds to set the whole thing up with the easy-to-follow instructions.
If it isn’t set up properly, your visitors will be greeted with the 404 Error sign and be left frustrated and scratching their heads in disbelief. This is why using the 301 redirectin WordPress will save you time and effort and show your users and search engines your new permanent URL and successfully lead them there.
It’s also important to mention that when using 301 redirect, you need to be certain that you want to permanently delete the old URL and lead your visitors to the new one. The new URL retains all the link value the old URL had garnered over the years which helps your new URL keep value.
- 302 Found
302 is a temporary redirect that lets the users know that what they were searching for has been found, but it’s temporarily moved to a new URL. You would use the 302 redirect if you were planning on going back to the discarded URL sometime in the future.
It doesn’t disclose the reason for the permanent transfer. Should you need to send your users to a substitute page when visiting this particular one, but you still want to reuse the URL, then by all means, use the 302 redirect.
Due to its temporary nature, 302 redirect does not pass link value which is also why you could easily retrieve your old URL with its value untouched. You just need to be sure not to use this when moving your site to a new domain for permanent purposes.
- 303 See Other
This type of redirect isn’t used that often and you’ll probably never be in a situation where you need it, it’s mostly a web-developer type of situation.
303 redirect isn’t used too frequently, only for the types of sites which hold one-time date (like credit card payments and the forms you fill out). Its purpose is to keep you from refreshing the page a gazillion times or to prevent bookmarking.
303 lets you know that the from info has been received by means of POST method and in order to steer clear of any data issues, they seek that you check out their response on this other URL by means of GET method.
- 307 Temporary redirect
Not to be confused with 302 redirects which are a bit unclear. The 307 redirect is a proper substitute which lets the user know loud and clear that the website has been temporarily moved to a new URL and that they’ll be back shortly!
This request is prone to change in the future, so it should keep on being used with the original URL and you should only choose this redirect if you’re certain your move is only for a short while and you’ll be needing the original URL sometime again.
- 308 Permanent redirect (experimental)
308 redirect is basically the same as 307, only with permanent use. It’s a HTTP report status code which lets the user know that the resource requested has been transferred to a new URL.
308 redirect’s purpose is to bring the data along to the new location by means of the exact same method as the original. And once again, you’re highly unlikely to ever be in need of this redirect, it’s mostly for web developers.
Which Type Should You Use?
The most commonly used one – 301. This redirect is your logical step if you want to seamlessly move your website to a completely new location and you need it done right.
No 404 error pages or unhappy users. Simply turn to 301 redirect, check out how to properly set it up and you won’t have any issues with lost traffic, confused users or loss of link value. When installed correctly, your SEO won’t be affected and your ranking will remain the same.
If you know what’s good for your website and you want this transition to go smoothly, this is your answer.