Have you been trying to create a redirect for your WordPress site? Perhaps you aren’t sure what a redirect is or maybe you don’t understand why you should learn how to set one up.
Either way, redirects are very important, and every website owner or administrator should know how to set them up when needed. We will first explain what a redirect is and then we’ll talk about how redirects can be beneficial to your WordPress website.
What is a WordPress Redirect?
Let’s begin by answering the question, “What is a redirect in WordPress?” A redirect makes it possible for your website visitors to visit a page on your site when the URL slug has changed or you’ve moved a website to an entirely new URL.
The redirect feature communicates with your visitor’s browser and informs the visitor that the page they are looking for has either been moved or isn’t available at that URL. The feature will then automatically point the visitor in one of two directions. They will either be redirected to the page they are looking for at its new URL or to a page of your choice.
Imagine driving down the road and coming to a stop at a roadblock sign that tells you the road ahead is closed. That can be an unpleasant experience, especially when you don’t know of any other routes that will take you to your destination. That’s what detour signs are for. They point you in a direction that will still get you to your destination even though the route is different.
Website redirect features are similar. Usually, when visitors come to your website and they try to access a page that no longer exists, the browser will display a 404 error page. But with redirects, there is little to no downtime because they give your visitors direction unlike 404 error pages which act as a dead end.
There are different types of redirects available on WordPress. The right one for you will depend on the reason behind your need for a redirect in the first place. Here are 6 types of redirects available on WordPress.
- The 301 redirect is one of the most common. It is used in instances where a page has been either permanently moved or deleted. You can also use this redirect feature to move your website from one URL to another.
- The 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. This redirect will tell a visitor that the file or page they are requesting to access exists but it is unavailable at the time of the request. At that point, the redirect lets you offer other pages to the visitor.
- The 303 redirect is used for security purposes. It’s a great way to prevent visitors from submitting the same information more than once. So, when a visitor clicks the submit button on the form that you created, they will immediately be redirected to another page. For online businesses, the 303 redirect is essential because it prevents customers from purchasing the same item twice.
- The 307 redirect is quite similar to the 303 redirect. The main difference is that the 307 redirect is temporary while the 303 redirect is permanent until you remove it from WordPress. Likewise, the 307 redirect uses one means of exchanging data whereas the 303 redirect uses two.
- The 308 redirect is used when a file location has permanently changed, making it very similar to the 301 redirect.
- There is also a redirect option that will change a URL from HTTP to HTTPS. This redirect will force browsers to display the HTTPS version of your pages, which are more secure than web pages in HTTP form.
Why Does WordPress Require Redirects?
The primary reason WordPress requires redirects is to help your site visitors move from a page that has either been moved or no longer functions to a new page instead. As mentioned earlier, this could be for any number of reasons, including any of the following:
- It is required when you want to delete a site, page, or post.
- It is required when you want to change the URL of a page.
- A lack of redirects will hurt your SEO ranking and make you lose site visitors. With a redirect in place, the traffic on your old pages won’t be lost. Instead, the traffic is diverted elsewhere via redirects.
3 Steps to Create a Redirect in WordPress
WordPress offers a beautiful and rather simplified way to create redirects. Here are 3 different approaches to creating redirects in WordPress.
Step 1: Use the Redirection Plugin
A major strength of WordPress lies in the ever-expanding list of useful plugins you can apply to your WordPress site. With a redirection plugin, you can create a redirect on your website with ease.
With the Redirection plugin, you can create and manage redirects on WordPress. Like all plugins on the platform, it’s simple to install and activate the Redirection plugin for your website. Go to the Tools tab and select Redirection. From there, you can begin setting up all of the redirects you need for your website. This plugin is also great because it allows you to scan your website and discover pages that need to be updated.
Step 2: Install the Simple 301 Redirect Plugin
Another great plugin you can use is the Simple 301 Redirect. It installs just like any other plugin and it’s easy to activate. From the settings tab, you can then begin creating all of the redirects that you need.
Step 3: Try .htaccess
Another way of creating redirects on your WordPress site is by using the .htaccess option. This is not a plugin. Instead, it involves locating and editing the .htaccess file of your WordPress site.
Please note that while this option is fast, you will be dealing with files that are crucial to the functioning of your WordPress site. One small mistake could crash your website forever. A good practice here would be to keep a backup of the original .htaccess file before you edit it. That way, if anything goes wrong, you can simply replace the edited file with the backup of the original file.
- First, you will need to connect your website to a file transfer protocol client. When this is done, find the .htaccess file in the root directory of your website.
- In some cases, you may not see the file. Due to how important this file is, it is usually hidden away. But you can use the file transfer protocol to make hidden files visible.
- Open the .htaccess file in a text editor like Notepad.
- Type in the old location and then the new location.
- From there, add the code to the end of your .htaccess file. Test to see if it works properly. If it doesn’t, you can easily go back and make corrections where necessary.
Set Up Your Redirects Now
WordPress redirects are a crucial part of managing your website. They are a great way to keep your traffic consistent, even when you’ve made major or minor changes to your website.
How you decide to set up your WordPress redirect is up to you. Managing your redirect properly will help keep your WordPress website ranking optimally on search engines. Not doing so could cause you to lose out on the impressive traffic you have built over time, and you would have to start again from scratch.
Avoid this by implementing WordPress redirects! What steps are you taking today towards creating your WordPress redirect?