Creating 301 redirects in WordPress
July 8. 2019
Redesigning your content strategy or making modification in the structure and layout of your website can often lead to adding or removing certain pages. However, search engines note and remember all pages. And if you had links towards a certain URL, which you then changed or removed, they will mark the link as broken. But there is a simple and efficient solution for this issue when using a WordPress site. Creating 301 redirects in WordPress is a sure fix for avoiding broken links and ‘page not found’ messages. And it is part of any WordPress maintenance support arsenal.
Redirects in WordPress
A redirection sends a signal to browsers that the page users wish to visit has been moved to a different page. As a result of a redirection, browsers then automatically open the new page. However, there are various types of redirections such as:
- 301 redirects
- 302 redirects
- 307 redirects, etc.
WP Full Care is knowledgeable in all redirects, but since 301 redirects in WordPress are the most important ones for WordPress users, we will focus on them in this article.
What are the common reasons for creating 301 redirects in WordPress?
As we mentioned above, redirections usually happen when your website or a particular page changes, and you want to point the visitor to a completely different page instead. That is something that tends to happen for a number of reasons:
- If you are planning to delete a post or page to make room for new content, you need to create a redirection.
- When you plan to change a permalink of a certain post or page, you need redirects in WordPress.
- If you are changing your entire site domain and need to point people towards your new content.
Why is all this important? Because if you don’t create a redirection for changes in permalinks or when deleting posts and pages, you will end up with 404 error pages. In addition to negatively affecting user experience, this can also hurt your site’s SEO efforts and search engine rankings.
With 301 redirects in WordPress, you eliminate the possibility of this happening. Redirections send a signal to search engines and browsers that a post or page has been permanently moved to a new location. And this process then transfers the traffic and backlink value of that old post or page to the one you redirect to.
How to create 301 redirects in WordPress (with the help of Plugins)
The simplest way to create and manage 301 redirects is with WP plugins. The redirect plugins available for WP users allow you to create redirections without writing a single line of code. So, let’s take a closer look at the process itself:
Installing the Redirection plugin is the simplest and easiest step. You need to explore the ‘Plugins’ option in your dashboard, find and download a redirect plugin. Once installed, you click on the ‘Tools’ option and select ‘Redirection’ from the options available.
The great thing about this plugin is that it doesn’t just let you create 301 redirects in WordPress, but also identify 404 errors on your site. Once you have all the information you need, you can tend to redirecting URLs to the correct permalink.
2. Page Links to
You are not always removing a post or page. Sometimes, you will want to keep an older post but redirect it to another post. Using Page Links can come in handy as the plugin helps you create a redirection by introducing a meta box on your post/page Edit screen. There, you can enter the address of the new location where users should be directed towards.
3. Simple 301 Redirects
Another plugin that you can explore for creating 301 redirects in WordPress is called Simple 301 Redirects. As the name suggests, it makes the entire process simple. Once you install and activate the plugin, you need to go into Settings, and then 301 Redirects option, where you will add your URLs.
The potential downside
As you can see, 301 redirects come easy, especially when using any of the plugins above. However, there are some potential setbacks to consider in terms of website performance. Your hosting provider plays a huge role in all this and can influence the loading time of the redirected posts/pages. The solution to this problem is to speed up your redirects, something that you can accomplish with the use of codes and .htaccess file.
How to set up 301 redirects with .htaccess
WordPress users can set up faster 301 redirects with the traditional approach of using the web server configuration file .htaccess. You can edit the file in any plain text editor. However, since this is code, you need to be extra careful because the smallest mistake here can make your WordPress website inaccessible. So, if you are not well versed in coding, this would be the time to reach out to a professional WordPress support team.
In order to avoid having to deal with an Internal Server Error, you will want to backup your .htaccess file before making any changes in the code. The file itself is located in the root directory of your WordPress website. To access it, you will need to use FTP client to connect to your website. If you experience troubles finding it, try exploring hidden files through your FTP client.
Here is a typical example of 301 redirects in WordPress and how it should work:
- Rewrite Engine On
- Redirect 301 /random-old-page/ to /brand-new-page/
It is preferable for the code to be at the end of your .htaccess file.
That basically sums up the topic of creating 301 redirects in WordPress. For more information about the functionality of WordPress websites and how to make them work for your company, feel free to check out some of our other posts or contact our team directly.