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A Complete Guide to 301 Redirects in WordPress (2021)

Last Updated on March 23rd, 2021

Published on February 13th, 2018

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Changing the page URL or permalink structure is easy in WordPress. However, if you have a web page that is attracting a lot of traffic, you won’t want to move it. The situation might confuse you even more, in case you wish to move your WordPress website to a new domain name. That’s where you need to utilize a 301 redirect in WordPress.

This complete guide to 301 Redirect in WordPress is going to explain everything about WordPress redirect, useful redirection plugins, how to use those plugins to handle redirects, what redirection-related mistakes may hamper your site’s user experience, and how to avoid those mistakes.

What is a 301 Redirect in WordPress?

Redirects are used in WordPress at a time when you want to send your visitors and/or search engine bots to another page for an URL. 301, 303, 304, 307, 308, and 404 are the commonly-used WordPress redirects.

Out of these, 301 is the permanent redirect. It is a way for you to tell the search engines that you have moved a particular page to another location. This way, you can retain the traffic coming to your website or web page(s).

How do I create a 301 redirect?

There are 2 popular ways to add 301 Redirect in WordPress: .htcaccess file and WordPress Plugins. We will explain both methods in the article, but first, see when (or if) you need to use these.

When are 301 Redirects Used in WordPress?

WordPress or WooCommerce website owners generally use 301 redirects, in order to:

  • Send visitors to a different page from a URL that doesn’t exist anymore;
  • Send visitors to the relevant URLs when site structure or permalinks are updated;
  • Tell search engines that this page is moved to the WordPress redirect URL.

Why is it a must to use 301 Redirect for your WordPress Website?

When a web page is moved or deleted, people coming to that URL through search engines or other mediums will see a 404 error page (page doesn’t exist), parked in its place. Such pages are neither good for site experience nor for your search engine ranking.

WordPress redirect functionality comes in handy here.

When you use WordPress 301 redirect, Google understands that the page is moved to another location. It starts treating the new URL as an old URL while listing it in search results.

Overall, WordPress redirect URL or 301 redirects can help you in:

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  • Redirecting users to the right page that is functioning well;
  • Maintaining link quality;
  • Retaining your SEO ranking;
  • Passing on the link equity when you move a page;
  • Re-structuring your website URLs for SEO without worrying about ranked pages.

How to Add a 301 Redirect in WordPress Using Plugins?

WordPress generally lets people handle the task of adding extra features to their WordPress websites through 2 methods:

The first method is – By making changes in site files and using the custom code for extending the site’s functionality. This method is generally used by people, who can handle site files and have some knowledge of WordPress & PHP. If you are not that tech-savvy, it’s probably not the right WordPress Redirect URL method for you.

Plugins are the second way to add 301 redirects to WordPress. It takes just the right plugin and a few clicks to enable redirection.

In this guide, we will be telling you about both methods. However, as using plugins is easier and faster, let’s start with redirect plugins. If you only wish to learn how to add 301 Redirect to WordPress via the .htaccess file, scroll a bit and visit that section directly.

The best Redirect Plugins

The top WordPress 301 redirect plugins are enlisted below:

1.    301 Redirects – Easy Redirect Manager

It is a good plugin to improve your site experience.

301 Redirects not only lets you create 301 Redirect URL but 302 & 307 redirects can also be handled through it. As the name states, the plugin is easy-to-use and has a user-friendly interface.

How to use the 301 Redirects Plugin?

While using the 301 Redirects plugin, you can either choose existing WordPress URLs from your website (pages, posts, categories, etc.) or enter an external URL manually for redirection.

You can even handle query-based redirection through it, in case you need to perform bulk redirection. For people, who have moved their website to another URL or the ones who have changed the permalinks, it is the best redirect plugin to use.

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As per your needs, you will have to add the redirection URL/URL String in Redirect Rules.

The plugin also lets the users view the 404 Error Log. So, you can see all deleted/moved pages in one place and perform the redirection faster.

In case you have changed your site structure or multiple pages, you can directly upload the mapping of your old site map to the new one as a CSV File. 301 Redirects Plugin can easily take care of imports and exports.

Get 301 Redirects

2.    Redirection

With more than 2+ million users, Redirection Plugin is a promising choice to make. It can keep track of pages returning 404 Errors and add 301 redirects for your website.

Other than the simple redirects, Redirection Plugin also lets you add 301 redirects for different conditions, such as:

  • Redirects when the user is logged in or not logged-in
  • Redirection as per cookies, browser name, IP, server, referrer, etc.

How to Use the Redirection Plugin?

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You can directly add redirection-related details for every 301 redirects as New Redirection through this plugin.

The redirection plugin also allows bulk 301 redirections using CSV, .htaccess, or JSON files.

Get Redirection

Other Plugins for Enabling 301 Redirects [Paid]

If you just want to add 301 redirects, the above free plugins will do the needful for you. To access more SEO and redirection related features, you can buy subscriptions of plugins enlisted below:

  1. SmartCrawl
  2. Yoast SEO
  3. SEOPress

Suggestion: You may use the free plugin Really Simple SSL if you are adding 301 redirects for your site’s HTTP to HTTPS transition only. This plugin is being used by 5+ million WordPress sites. It has the efficiency to enable SSL and add 301 redirects speedily. Once you have purchased and configured the SSL Certificate, you may use Really Simple SSL Plugin.

How to Add a 301 Redirect in WordPress via .htaccess File – Step-by-step Process

WordPress redirect links can be added through the .htaccess file too. If you want to use this method, follow the given steps:

1. Access your site files through FTP or cPanel.

2. Look for the .htaccess file in the root folder.

3. Backup your .htaccess file. Remember, it is important because you won’t want to lose this high-level configuration file at all. In case of mistakes, you can restore the backup file and avoid the mishap.

4. Open the .htaccess file for editing. In this file, you must add the relevant code on top of the file.

In case you want to redirect just one page, add this:

Redirect 301 /prev-page.html http://www.threezeroone.com/new-page.html

If you want to redirect the domain and its all pages to a new domain, append this code on the top:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !threezeroone.com$ [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://newthreezeroone.com/$1 [L,R=301]

If you are just moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS, use these lines:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^newthreezeroone.com [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.newthreezeroone.com [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.newthreezeroone.com/$1 [L,R=301,NC]

5. Save the file and test if the redirects in WordPress are working after the process.

In the above examples, make sure to replace threezeroone with your original site URL.

Though it is not as convenient as plugin-based redirection, editing the .htaccess file will let crawlers update the search engines faster about the change.

301 Redirect Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you are using a plugin or editing the .htaccess file, redirects in WordPress are pretty easy to handle. And as compared to the complication of the process, the value it delivers is way more. However, tiny mistakes in the process may make you suffer grave losses.

So, make sure that you avoid the following mistakes:

Avoid 301 Redirects when the new page has much different content from the old page

While enabling a WordPress redirect, make sure that your new page has around 70 to 75 percent content similar to the old page. If not so, it may adversely affect your SEO.

Avoid ‘just’ redirecting the main URL in case of the domain name change

Let’s say your domain name is ‘new_site.org’. Now, when you will move to ‘new_site.com’, the URL redirects should be applied to all the related pages on the site too. This implies that redirecting the main domain won’t be enough.

Make sure that your rewrite-rule has (.*) in it.

To understand what it means, re-visit the code for redirection above (or see the image below):

Avoid editing the .htaccess file without taking a backup.

That goes without saying! Your .htaccess file might have the default code, as well as the code added to it by other plugins. So, make sure you take its backup before making any edits.

Avoid editing the .htaccess file without confirming your host’s related to the same.

Sometimes, your host may have uncommon WordPress 301 redirect rules. So, it is a good practice to confirm the host’s restrictions regarding the same and then touch the .htaccess file.

Conclusion

WordPress redirect URL capability, whether enabled through redirect plugins or by editing the .htaccess files, can help you save your months or years of SEO efforts. If you are moving your site from one domain to another domain or re-structuring its URLs, make sure that you utilize WordPress 301 Redirect.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I redirect 301 in WordPress?

WordPress redirect 301 is all about telling the search engines that a URL has permanently moved to another location. To redirect 301 in WordPress, you can either edit the .htaccess file or use a reliable redirect plugin for WordPress.

How do I redirect a URL in WordPress?

You can use WordPress redirect URL Plugins, such as 301 Redirects, Redirection, or 404 to 301, etc., in order to handle 301 redirects for your website. To enable more features related to redirection and SEO activities, you can use paid plugins, such as SmartCrawl by WPMU Dev, SEOPress on-site SEO, or Yoast SEO.

What is WordPress 301 Redirect enabled?

When you enable WordPress 301 redirect for a URL, it means that you have moved that URL to another location on the web. To let the search engine crawlers know about the same and to send your visitors to the new location for that URL, WordPress 301 redirects are enabled and used.

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.