If you have been wondering how to set up a WordPress 301 redirect all this while and could not find a suitable guide, you search ends here. Before digging out the details on 301 redirection, let us understand what a 301 redirect actually is.
What is a 301 permanent redirect ?
301 is a HTTP response code which indicates that a client needs to perform additional action to fulfill a request. More specifically a 301 redirect means ‘Moved Permanently’ i.e. a specific URL has been permanently moved to a new URL.
Why would you set up 301 redirection on your WordPress blog ?
Two major reasons why people tend to set up a WordPress 301 redirect are:
- Change of domain – When you change your domain and you want to redirect your posts and pages to the new one, a 301 redirect comes in very handy for an easy transition.
- Changing a post URL for SEO benefits – Let’s say you have published a blog post and later found out that you forgot to include the focus keyword in your blog post URL. We all know how important this is from an SEO perspective. In such cases you can change the blog post URL and set up a 301 redirect to send traffic over to the new URL easily.
You should be aware that Google recommends to use a 301 redirect if you want to change the URL of a page as it is shown in search engine results. Also, let’s be clear on the difference between a 301 and 302 redirect. 301 is a permanent redirect. You use this for a permanent redirection. 302 is a temporary redirect. This may be used when you want to temporarily redirect to a new URL, and will revert to the old settings after a while.
This video by Matt Cutts explains a lot on 301 redirection.
How to setup a WordPress 301 redirect ?
Alright, let us get back to setting up 301 redirects with WordPress. There are various ways to set up a 301 permanent redirect. Usually people edit the .htaccess file to set up a 301 redirection. We will not venture out into complex coding techniques as there are a lot of people who are not very comfortable with coding. We will setup WordPress 301 redirect using a free plugin called as Redirection.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections and keep track of 404 errors without requiring knowledge of Apache .htaccess files.
Okay, so now when you have installed and activated the above plugin, what next ?
Nothing else ! You are all set !
Don’t be. The best feature of this plugin is that when you change a post’s URL, Redirection will automatically add a 301 redirect to the new URL. As simple as that. You also have the option to manually set up WordPress 301 redirect or a 302 redirect.
For manual 301 redirection, Click on Tools from your WordPress menu and select Redirection.
You will find the ‘Add new redirection’ box at the bottom of the page. You can use this to manually set up a WordPress 301 redirect.
Other than 301 redirection, you also select other actions from the ‘Action’ drop down.
You can view all your 301 redirects and logs from the plugin dashboard. It also shows the number of hits and the last access date.
Setting up a WordPress 301 redirect was never so easy, don’t you think ? I will be waiting to hear your thoughts on this in the comment section below.