Well, a lot of times you might have come across the error messages like “103,” “102,” “105,” etc.on your screen when you are trying to load a web page. These are not errors but mostly redirects. A redirect is a way to make the visitors of a webpage send to the other webpage. But why does a website need you to go from one page to the other?
Redirects are the caution marks that you find on the road, which alert you about the exit, turn, or construction work. In the same way, different redirection messages have different meanings and help the user know what is happening behind the scenes.
In addition to this, redirects are essential for both the viewers and the search engines as they will help both of them find the content that has been moved from the same page. So today, the topic of interest will be how to redirect a domain successfully without making a mess of it.
We will be elaborating on the use of different redirects along with their importance. Also, a lot of people worry about how a website will be affected if the redirection of the pages and the domain takes place. Well, after reading this blog, you will have all your answers and knowledge about redirecting a domain.
What is Redirection of a Domain and Why Redirection is Needed?
For example, there is content on the site that you want to delete, but a lot of your viewers like it. Or there’s an update to the content that you have posted, and now you want to show the updated content but still want to keep the older post to compare the latest update.
Well, in this case, you can use one of the redirections to make your user check out the previous content without losing the traffic on the updated content.
In the same way, these redirects help search engines to know if the content has been moved and whether it is permanent or temporary taken out from the webpage. Giving a search engine the correct information about the content of your website is one of the most important things a website owner needs to perform and has to be constant in it.
A URL can be redirected for several reasons. It can be helpful in preventing traffic from visiting the broken links or the deadends on the website. Also, redirection can be used to shorten the length of the URL. Moreover, some website owners use URL redirections to own multiple domain names, so all different domains can be redirected to one website. This redirection makes it easier for their users to navigate easily on the internet and reach the desired website.
On the other hand, there are times when website owners use URL redirection for an illegal purpose, such as phishing attacks, bypassing the privacy of the individual, and even manipulating the search engine to get a higher ranking on SERPs. The redirections can be used for good and bad purposes. It’s the user who needs to decide how to use it.
Things You Need to Know About Redirecting a Domain
Redirection is an easy task, and even a non-technical individual can perform it on their website. But at what cost does the redirection happen, and it is too much to take the risk? Well, given below are the few things you must know before you try to redirect your domain:
- If you are using 301 redirects, it’s a two-line code, and with just a simple copy-pasting of the code it will make the page disappear. You are going to use it most likely when you are trying to add new content to your website. The 301 redirection makes sure that everything is aligned and the new content is visible to your visitors.
- A single URL cannot be redirected to multiple URLs because it will confuse the system on where to redirect the visitor. But you can redirect various URLs to a single URL.
For example, Facebook.com uses single URL redirection for all the different websites like fb.com, facebook.com, etc. All of these domains redirect to Facebook.com so that even a user who has made a typing error can still visit the correct website.
- A page using 301 redirects cannot be redirected to itself. This is because it will create an infinite loop of page loading, and nothing will ever load.
- Lastly, when a redirection like 301 takes place, all the page authority and links gets transferred to the redirected page. So you should think twice before making the redirection. Also, a redirection could be reversed if it is required. But it’s essential to make a clear decision beforehand.
Different Types of Redirections
There are 4 significant redirections that anyone can perform on their domain or even on a single page of their website, depending on how they want to use the redirection. Given below, we have discussed the importance of these redirections and how they should be used:
301 Redirect – Unmasked
A 301 is a permanent redirect. Be very careful when you are using it because once this redirect starts working, all the page authority and the links pointing to that page will be transferred to the new page where you are pointing the redirect. In addition to this, the 301 redirects are unmasked meaning, your visitors can clearly see the change happening in the URL in the search bar of their browser.
The good thing about this redirect is you will keep the SEO ranking of your previous page, and it will move to the redirected page. When it comes to using a 301 redirect for a website, you are notifying the search engine about how 2 domains are pointing at the same website. As a result, both the domains are on the same website. But the operations have moved to the new domain.
For A/B testing, 301 redirect is not the right option. You should use this redirect when links that have been outdated do not need to be transferred to your desired page. Also, 301 redirects are used for canonical URLs. The 301 redirect is also used if you are performing an HTTP to HTTPS migration.
302 Redirect – Found
A 302 redirect is a temporary redirection that is used when the content has been moved to another location but only for some time. For performing a 302 redirect, you need to know about its 2 different versions; 1.0 and 1.1.
The search engine’s message from the 1.0 status code is that the content of the current page has been shifted/ moved temporarily. The 1.1 status code signifies that content that is moved has been “found.” The 302 redirects must be done if your page is under maintenance and you want to shift the traffic to another page.
You can also use the 302 redirect when you want to keep your original page indexed but want your users to visit the new page that was created recently. When you are promoting your content on different URLs and want their traffic to visit the promotional page.
307 Redirect – Moved Temporarily
The 307 redirect is the successor of the 302 redirect. It might sound a little confusing but stick with us, and you will know why we are saying that statement. The only difference between 307 and 302 redirects is that the former makes sure that the URL and the redirection method will not change when the viewer makes the redirected request of the website.
The 307 redirect is a much stricter redirect when compared with the 302 redirect. Likewise, just like 302, 307 redirects are also uncacheable, but you can make it cacheable using cache-control in the header field.
You might have seen this weird refresh that has a 5-second countdown that says, “If you are not redirected in 5 seconds, click here.” The message could be anything, but it all comes down to the timer.
It could be 3 seconds to 10 seconds, depending on how much time the owner of the website wants the viewers to wait. Time and time again, Google has said that it treats a meta redirect as any other redirect. But still, it is not recommended to use in some instances.
First, it can easily make a user disoriented, and if the redirect happens instantly, the user won’t have time to click on the back button. On the other hand, if the page doesn’t refresh, the user will have doubts about the security of the website. When meta refresh redirects are used, they simply don’t process any link juice.
Meta refresh is used in payment portals. Once the payment is made, the page will be automatically refreshed to display the payment confirmation. Unless it is specifically recommended for you to use the meta refresh redirect, you should always go with the 301 redirect to keep your website secure.
Setting Up Your Website for Redirection
Setting up your site for the redirection is pretty straightforward, but it is crucial as it is a deciding factor of your redirection being a failure or a success. You need to find the redirection code and copy it to the .php file of a specific page or to the main PHP file of your website, which stores all the necessary information.
The beauty of performing a redirect straight from the core file of your website is that you don’t have to go and change the code of each page. Along with all the subdirectories, the main page will be moved to the new URL on which you have performed the redirection. As a result, this automatic redirection of the whole website helps in saving time and resources.
Also, before you make the redirection, keep a backup of all your files in one location; it could be an online backup or an offline backup depending on your preference. But it’s a must to do, so in case of error or redirection not being able to function correctly, you can instantly roll back to your previous settings and keep your website up and running.
Steps for Redirection of the Domain
As we have said already, redirecting a domain is easy. There are plenty of ways to do it, but the most common way is to go to your hosting settings where the domain is parked and follow these steps:
Redirection Of New Domain
Step 1 – Login to your hosting solution and navigate to your website’s manage domain settings page. Once you get to that page, you will see the button with the text “Add hosting domain/subdomain.” Click on that button.
Step 2 – Check all the different settings and find the one which says Redirect/ Redirection. Once you find the Redirect settings enter the following required information:
- Domain to redirect – Enter the domain or the subdomain that you want to redirect to a new page.
- Redirect to URL – Provide the URL to which you want the older page to redirect.
Step 3 – Click on the Redirect this domain button to complete the process.
Changing the Existing Domain or a Subdomain Using Redirection
Step 1 – Go to the settings and click on the manage button in your settings. Now go to the hosting tab and click on it.
Step 2 – After that, find the box that asks you to provide the Destination URL or Redirected URL.
Step 3 – Enter the destination URL with the domain where you want to redirect the current website.
Step 4 – Once you fill up the destination URL, click on Redirect Domain, and you are done with your setup.
Creating a Redirect of a Subdirectory
Instead of redirecting a whole domain, if you are looking for a way to redirect just a part of it, such as your blog subdirectory, you need to perform this redirection method. Your main website and its domain will work as they used to be, but the subdirectory will redirect to a separate domain.
Also, when you are performing the redirection of a subdomain or subdirectory, make sure you are adding all the trailing forward slash to the redirected URL. In case you miss any word from the whole URL, the redirection will not work correctly. Apart from this minor change, everything is pretty much the same as the first method of redirection.
Moreover, this redirection could be treated as 301 permanent redirects or 302 temporary redirects depending on the hosting service. You can change the redirection by going to the advanced settings of the redirection.
Working with redirection is a daily routine for many SEO managers. We hope this article provided you with enough information that is needed to guide you about the redirection of your domain. If you are stuck somewhere, feel free to let us know in the comments section of this blog so that we can help you out with your problem.
If, for some reason, you are not able to find the redirection settings of your hosting provider, you can watch their online tutorials or get in touch with one of their customer representatives and tell them about the issue.
Be very careful when deciding the redirections, as too many redirections can easily harm your website’s SEO. Think about what you want to achieve with redirection and the shortest redirection path possible to achieve it. On the other hand, if you encounter some error during the redirection, don’t panic as you can fix the issue from the server end or different tools.