What’s a URL redirect?

URL redirects are a normal and often desirable part of hosting a website or building a web application. A URL redirect (also known as a domain redirect, web redirect and several other names) tells a visitors web browser to go to a different web page to find the content they were looking for.

Why use a URL redirect?

There are many good reasons to use URL redirects. Here are just a few:

  • The content that was previously available on a URL has moved to another place.
  • Companies should purchase domain names for their various brands and trademarks and redirect those names to relevant pages on their web sites. This secures the intellectual property associated with those names, and the domain names can be used in marketing efforts.
  • Third-party platforms are increasingly central to operating many businesses. Platforms for e-commerce (Shopify, Etsy, etc.), fundraising (Kickstarter, Indigogo, etc.), or any other business vertical take away the need to build custom software yourself. A downside is that you usually can’t control the URL structure on these platforms. Consider using memorable, dedicated domain names that redirect to the long, unmemorable one the platform gives you. This can be great for individual products or campaigns.
  • Consider using dedicated domain names for marketing campaigns. If you’re printing marketing material for the campaign an easy to remember, easily typed domain name can link to relevant content on your main site. This is great for any kind of signage, and even extend to business cards.

What’s the difference between permanent and temporary redirects?

The difference between a permanent or temporary redirect is subtle, but very important. Effectively, they do the same thing - a user is redirected to a new URL. However, they have important differences:

  • A permanent redirect (HTTP status code 301) tells search engines that the content previously found on the URL being redirected will never be there again. The search engine will then follow the redirect and update their database to show the destination URL. It also assigns the SEO value of the source URL to the destination, which allows you to concentrate SEO value as you see fit. Some browsers will even change any associated bookmarks.
  • A temporary redirect (HTTP status code 302 or 307) tells search engines that the content previously available at the location may be available again at this location in the future. As a result, the search engine will keep referring to the page by it’s current URL, and not by the destination URL. Temporary redirects will not affect SEO value.

With few exceptions, most URL redirects should be permanent.

How do I make URL redirects happen?

There are many ways to make URL redirects happen. The first question to answer is whether the redirects need to happen on the same domain, or across different domains.

Redirects on the Same Domain
When a redirect occurs on the same domain (i.e. only the path changes, not the domain name), you have two main options to accomplish this. You can use application code (e.g. PHP, Ruby, Java, .NET, etc.) or web server configuration (e.g. Apache, Nginx, IIS, etc.). While it is possible to do this through a meta tag in the HEAD section of your web page, we do not recommend this. Using meta tags does not use the correct HTTP status code and can potentially harm your SEO. CSS Tricks has an excellent page showing code and configuration examples code and configuration examples for many popular languages and web servers.

Redirects to Different Domain Names
To redirect to a different domain name you can use application code or web server configuration, just like when you redirect on the same domain. However, you can also use a URL redirect service like EasyRedir. The benefit of using a service is that you don’t have to set up and manage the technical infrastructure, you can get up-and-running very quickly, and you don’t need an IT team to manage it.

What is EasyRedir?

EasyRedir is the leading platform for professional URL redirects for business. Our technology is powered by the worlds most reliable and adaptable cloud-computing infrastructure. Our service has been designed from the ground up to be easy, fast and reliable. Several pricing plans are available depending on your needs. We offer a 14-day free trial for all new accounts. Sign up for EasyRedir now.

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