9 minute read

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? Actor Bill Murray plays a weatherman who unwittingly gets stuck in a loop, living the same day over and over again.

It’s a funny movie and an interesting concept to think about. But one place where you don’t want people to get stuck in a loop is with your website! Issues, like redirect loops, send website users into an endless cycle of bouncing from webpage to webpage.

And loops aren’t the only thing you have to worry about—redirect chains are a common issue, too. Redirect chains happen when a webpage redirects a user to a page that’s already been redirected.

So, how can you fix these issues, boost your SEO and create a better user experience? Let’s take a closer look.

What are redirect loops and redirect chains?

A redirect loop happens when a URL redirects the user, but that second page sends the user back to the original page. The result is an endless cycle of redirects.

Redirect chains are different from loops. Chains occur when a webpage redirects to another page that’s already been redirected. Instead of looping between two pages, this creates a multi-step series of redirects, sending users from pages A to B to C to D.

It should be clear that both redirect loops and redirect chains can harm the user experience. You don’t want to send a website visitor ping-ponging from link to link, unable to access what they’re looking for. And a lengthy redirect chain that takes a long time to resolve can lead to users abandoning your content in favor of faster-loading competitors.

Loops and chains have an impact on your site’s SEO performance, too. This can result in several issues, including less efficient crawling as multiple redirects consume your crawl budget by making it more difficult and time-consuming for Google to crawl your site. Additionally, website loading speed can become slower since multiple redirects extend the page load time. Lastly, having multiple redirects can result in lower page authority because they dilute link equity with search engines.

Common scenarios where redirect loops and chains occur.

There are some situations where you’re more likely to see redirect loops and chains. These include:

Website migrations. If you’ve recently migrated your website, you need to remember to update your redirects too. How do migrations cause chains? If you have redirects configured to point from an old site (Domain A) to your current site (Domain B) and you then migrate your current site to a new site (Domain C), this will create a redirect chain from Domain A to B to C. Instead, try updating your redirects to go from A to C and B to C directly.

Misalignment between multiple redirect systems. Conflicting redirect rules between your DNS, server, CMS, or CDN can cause loops or chains. Instead of using multiple systems, centralize your redirect management into a single source of truth. You can also set up regular audits to identify and fix unnecessary, outdated or misconfigured redirects.

Moving a page multiple times. If you change the path or subdomain of a page several times to improve its SEO – setting up a redirect each time – this can create a redirect chain that moves users from URL to URL to URL. Instead of making frequent changes, plan your URL structure carefully and strategically to reduce the frequency of content moves and associated redirects. When moving a page, ensure that all redirects from old URLs point directly to the newest URL, skipping any intermediate steps.

Configuration errors. Sometimes, the devil is in the details. When a website transitions from HTTP to HTTPS without proper configuration, it can inadvertently create redirect loops. Such as when an HTTP page redirects to its HTTPS counterpart, only to be misconfigured and redirected back to HTTP. Similarly, inconsistent URL structures with trailing slashes can cause loops. If both versions of a URL (with and without the trailing slash) are active but not canonicalized, it can lead to redirects attempting to enforce a preferred version. Additionally, configuring redirects between www subdomains and non-www versions of a site can lead to loops if redirects counteract each other. In all these scenarios, adding redirect rules without consolidating or removing previous redirects can complicate the site's redirect structure and harm both usability and SEO.

These are a few of the most common scenarios where redirect loops and chains can become an issue.

How to find redirect loops and redirect chains.

You can find redirect loops and chains on your website using a plugin or tool such as:

How to fix redirect loops and redirect chains.

Once you’ve identified any redirect loops or chains your website might have, the next step is to fix them. Follow these simple steps.

1. Correct Configuration Errors: Correct misconfigurations in your server settings or CMS.

2. Simplify Rules: Replace complex or conflicting redirect rules with simpler ones.

3. Direct to Final Destination: Change intermediate redirects so that they point directly to the final URL, eliminating unnecessary steps.

4. Remove Unnecessary Redirects: Delete redirects that are no longer needed.

5. Consolidate Similar Pages: If multiple redirects exist because of similar content, consider consolidating these pages.

6. Canonical Tags: Use rel="canonical" tags to specify the preferred version of a page to search engines.

By carefully analyzing, planning, and implementing changes, you can effectively fix redirect loops and chains, improving your site's SEO and user experience in the process. Of course, the best strategy is to continuously identify and resolve errors, before they create problems for your users or your search ranking. Put a process and tools in place to monitor your site proactively and regularly for errors to prevent future issues.

That said, it can be a time-consuming process open to human error. Fortunately, there is a better way.

EasyRedir: a better way to manage redirects.

A professional URL redirection solution, like EasyRedir, can manage all your redirects in one place to avoid misalignment between systems. With EasyRedir, you can deploy, analyze, and manage all your cross-domain redirects using one powerful dashboard. EasyRedir simplifies the complex task of managing thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of redirects for all your domains, subdomains, and URLs. This makes EasyRedir an extremely convenient tool for marketing, SEO and IT teams managing a large number of redirects.

Complete guide to URL redirection management.

Break free from redirect loops and redirect chains.

Don’t let your users get stuck in a redirect loop! Use a professional URL redirection service, like EasyRedir, to circumvent redirect loops and chains, creating a healthier website with a better user experience for all — no groundhogs in sight.


Redirect loops: Why they harm your SEO performance” Conductor.

What is a redirect chain? The complete guide 2023” Gotch SEO Academy.

Redirect chains: Why are they bad for SEO?” Conductor.

Redirect chain guide” Neil Patel.

Too many redirects: What this error means and how to fix it” HubSpot.

How to prevent redirect chains from destroying your SEO” HubSpot.

Join our mailing list.

Keep up with industry news, best practices, and our latest announcements. Usually about one email per month.