What are 301 and 302 redirects and how to use them?

Imagine, after a long time, you need to open a bookmark that you have more than a few years already. You try to open it, and…suddenly you see an error – “404 Page not found”. The page you were looking for has gone without a trace, maybe the whole website is missing, or maybe it was just a small change of the URL, but you will probably never know.

This is your first touch with an HTTP status codes, and specifically with 400-type. There are different status code types: 1XX Information responses, 2XX Success, 3XX Redirection, 4XX client errors and 5XX server errors.

You know the owner of the website could have evaded this error with a straightforward action – use a redirection!

Put yourself in the owner’s shoes and let’s see how to avoid such problems.

There are two redirection methods which are mostly used – 301 (moved permanently) and 302 (moved temporarily).

302 moved temporarily

First, let us explain you about the temporarily moved 302. It is easier to use, it can be done with a simple JavaScript, but it has small application. The most common use is in e-commerce websites. It is used for products that are temporarily out of stock. When your client opens the page of the product, instead of seeing the sad 404 error, he/she can be redirected to a different product or category. It might help you keep the client and leave a good impression.

But it doesn’t help your website SEO. It won’t replace the new page with the previous, and in the long-term, it can damage your PageRank (we know that the last toolbar PageRank update was in December 2013, please interpret that it can hurt your search engine ranking) and consequently can lower the visits to the page.

The old rules stated that the 302s don’t pass any PageRank and that 301 redirects result in around a 15% loss of PageRank.

This was true until one year ago, but then at the beginning of 2016, Google’s John Mueller and Gary Illyes announced that there are new rules of 3xx redirection and that the search engine doesn’t care which redirection method you use. Later on, during the same year, Gary Illyes twitted that 3xx redirects (301, 302, or 307) will no longer lose PageRank at all.

Nevertheless, for permanent redirects, we advise you to use the 301 redirection method.

301 moved permanently

301 moved permanently

The other option is 301, the permanently moved. This redirection is very convenient if you have changed to a new domain. You can redirect to the new one using the 301 redirection and Google will start indexing the new page (the page where the 301 redirects). The search engine will understand that object is moved from address A to address B permanently, and it will start “forgetting” the old one.

You can configure 301 redirects in different ways – using HTML, PHP, scripts, .htaccess (for Apache) or web.config (for IIS).

This process is a bit more time consuming, and you need specialized knowledge.

If you don’t have programming skills, and you don’t have a full-time programmer at your disposal, you can take advantage of our free feature called Web Redirects.

Web Redirect Record

Even if you are using our Free DNS plan, you can take advantage of our Web Redirect Record (WR).

You just need to access the control panel and redirect from your old domain to a new one.

You can do it in just a few minutes – follow the instruction of our video, and you’ll be ready in no time.

If you find any complications, you can check our Wiki article about it.

Using our control panel, you can easily do both redirection methods – 301 or 302.

Now that you know them, you can use them accordingly and keep your SEO in order and your users happy.

Create Your Web Redirect

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