In this guide, you’ll learn:
What a Redirect Is
Redirects point website visitors and search engines to a web page’s new destination URL when the original URL no longer exists.
The best way to use redirects is when you’re:
- Deleting a page that receives backlinks
- Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS
- Modifying a website and website architecture changes
- Moving a web page to a new destination URL
- Moving your website to a new domain name
- Merging two websites
- Preventing duplicate content
Types of Redirects
Learning how to redirect a URL depends on the type of redirect that you plan to do. Below are some of the most common types of redirects:
1. HTTP Redirects
HTTP redirects are the most commonly used website redirects.
According to W3C, an HTTP redirect provides information other than the new address, such as the redirection’s type and purpose, enabling the user to behave accordingly.
There are five types of HTTP redirects:
301 Redirects (Moved Permanently)
A 301 redirect (or a permanent redirect) indicates that a URL has been moved permanently from its original URL to a different URL.
301 redirect URLs are consolidated in Google’s index, which lets search engines know that the original content has moved. The search engine visibility associated with the page will be transferred to the new URL.
302 Redirects (Found and Moved Temporarily)
A 302 redirect (or temporary redirect) indicates that the page has temporarily moved to a different page, and the original URL will be used again later.
Unlike 301 redirects, a 302 redirect tells search engines that the original URL will continue to rank.
The best way to use a 302 redirect is for temporary moves, such as A/B testing, location-based testing, or device-based testing.
303 Redirects (See Other)
303 redirects are less common than 301 and 302 redirects. 303 redirects don’t link to the new uploads but another page, such as a confirmation or upload page.
For example, a 303 redirect can prevent resubmitting a form’s content, like when a user hits the back button on a browser.
307 Redirects (Moved Temporarily)
307 redirects are similar to 302 redirects, except these don’t pass PageRank, and you should avoid them.
308 Redirects (Moved Permanently)
308 redirects are similar to 301 redirects, but like 307 redirects, they don’t pass PageRank and should be avoided.
3. Meta Refresh Redirects
Meta redirects (also known as HTML redirects) use a meta tag in the page’s header section to instruct the browser to go to a new page for a specified time. They are often used with a countdown timer that informs the user that the page is redirecting in a few seconds.
Meta redirects can cause poor user experience due to the processing time. You can fix this by changing the refresh time to either 0 or 1 second, so the redirect is treated as a 301 redirect.
How To Redirect a URL
- Using .htaccess
- Using a WordPress plugin
- Using cPanel
Knowing how to redirect a URL means learning the different ways you can do so. Each method depends on the type of redirect that you’re going to do.
Here are three ways you can set up a redirect:
1. Using .htaccess
Here’s how to how to redirect a URL using .htaccess:
- Create a note on Notepad with the words Redirect 301 / http://www.example.com/
- Save the file as .htaccess on your website’s server. Create a backup before uploading the .htaccess file.
2. Using a Plugin
You don’t need to be tech-savvy to know how to redirect a URL.
If you’re on WordPress and don’t want to edit the .htaccess file, you can use these top WordPress redirect plugins:
301 Redirects is another highly-rated WordPress plugin. It works for 301, 302, and 307 redirects and empowers you to redirect old URLs to similar posts based on criteria such as title, categories, or tags. You also have the option to create a new custom URL.
Safe Redirect Manager
Safe Redirect Manager is a plugin favored by major publishing websites.
Unlike other plugins that store redirects in options or custom tables, Safe Redirect Manager holds them as Custom Post types, making data more portable. This makes websites more capable of handling enterprise-level traffic.
3. Using cPanel
Web hosts also enable you to create redirects using the cPanel.
The following tutorial will show you how to redirect a URL from your Bluehost cPanel:
- Go to the Bluehost Control Panel > Domains.
- Next to the domain name you want to modify, click the dropdown menu next to Manage and click Redirects. You can also click Redirects in the dropdown menu under Domains.
- You’ll be redirected to the Add Redirect page, where you can choose between a 301 or 302 redirect.
Note: When entering a URL to redirect to, don’t forget to enter http://, https://, or ftp://.
You can use one of the following www redirect options:
- “Only redirect with www”: Redirects users who include www as part of the URL
- “Redirect with or without www”: Redirects all users
- “Do not redirect www”: Won’t redirect users who include www as part of the URL
You can also choose the Wild Card Redirect option to redirect to the same page in a new destination URL.
For example, www.URL1.com redirects to www.URL2.com.
- With Wild Card Redirect, www.URL1.com/about redirects to www.URL2.com/about
- Without Wild Card Redirect, www.URL1.com/about points to www.URL2.com
Final Thoughts: How To Redirect a URL With the Bluehost Redirects Tool
Knowing how to redirect a URL is a valuable skill in a website owner’s arsenal.
Whether you’re an advanced user or a beginner, there’s a perfect method for you.
Create a URL redirect from your cPanel with the Bluehost Redirects tool. Sign up for a Bluehost plan today.