You may have heard about redirect URLs in WordPress, but it’s easy to overlook their importance. These URLs can be a huge asset to your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, if you set up the redirects improperly, you can end up causing your site to crash.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you only set up your redirects using valid methods. When it comes to WordPress, this is made a lot simpler by using plugins. With the right tools and a little know-how, you can start redirecting URLs easily and effectively.
In this article, we’ll share some top resources for WordPress users who want to properly redirect their URLs. Let’s get going!
Why Would You Redirect URLs?
There are various reasons you may want to redirect URLs on your site. Some of the most common include:
- A specific page is no longer relevant.
- The page’s URL is changing.
- You’re moving your domain from HTTP to HTTPS.
You may also want to set up a redirect if you change your URL link structure for SEO purposes. In addition, redirects can help you ensure that if a page is broken or missing, users will be sent along to your site’s other content without interruption.
Different Types of Redirects
There are various types of redirects you can use, so it’s important to know the differences between them. Let’s review some of the most basic types of redirects:
- 301 Permanent Redirect. This is a way of permanently telling browsers to look for your website in a new location. You may use this if you move your website from one URL to another, or switch it over to a new hosting service. This way, if someone visits your website using the old URL, they will be seamlessly redirected to the new one.
- 302/307 Temporary Redirects. These are essentially the same as a 301 redirect, except it instructs browsers that the change is only temporary. For long-term use, these redirects can carry SEO penalties. However, you may wish to use them for staging environments and other temporary sites.
- 303 See Other. This type of redirect prevents users from submitting the same information more than once. Once they submit their information, they’ll be redirected to a different page. This is intended to prevent users from mistakes such as accidentally purchasing the same item twice.
- 308 Permanent Redirect. This is another method of permanent redirection. It is similar in function to the 301 redirect, but is the recommended method for POST functions.
- 404 Not Found. This redirects any broken or missing link to another page, such as a 404 error page or your site’s home page. This enables users to keep browsing your site even if they try to access a missing page.
- HTTP to HTTPS Redirect. An HTTPS URL has advantages over an HTTP URL, both in terms of security and SEO. To force browsers to display the HTTPS version of your pages, however, you’ll need to set up a redirect.
Some of these redirect types are more common than others, but all of them have their uses. Setting them up by hand can be tricky, though, which is where plugins come into play.
Using a Plugin to Apply Redirects
When you need to set up redirects, you may want to consider using a plugin to do so. This can be a simple way to structure your redirects through a visual interface, especially if you don’t have web development experience.
However, it’s also important to use the right plugins. An incorrectly set up redirect can have disastrous effects on your site. It can result in various errors, and even cause your site to crash. Some redirect plugins may also engage in behavior that could hurt your site’s SEO. Therefore, it’s important to be very careful about what tools you decide to use.
The Best WordPress Redirect Plugins
If the previous section made you wary of redirect plugins, don’t worry. To help you get started, here are four of the best tools you can use, each of which is both reliable and effective. In addition, it’s also important to note that you can configure redirects through a visual interface right from the WP Engine portal.
Plugin 1: Yoast SEO
The Yoast SEO plugin’s premium version comes with a Redirect Manager, which has plenty of useful options for page redirects. When you delete a post or page, this tool automatically asks you where you’d like to redirect its old link to, and what kind of redirect you’d like to use (temporary or permanent).
On the downside, Yoast SEO can be somewhat costly, at $89 per month for one site. However, Yoast SEO’s other excellent features can make it a valuable investment for many WordPress users.
Plugin 2: Simple 301 Redirects
The Simple 301 Redirects plugin is another easy way to redirect your site’s links. It comes with a visual interface that makes configuring URL structure and setting up redirects simple. Even better, this plugin is open source, which means that it’s a completely free option.
Plugin 3: Really Simple SSL
If you’ve seen a flag that reads “not secure” when you visit your website in a browser, that means it doesn’t have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. It’s important to use SSL, since it can secure your website and boost your site’s SEO. However, it can be a little hard to figure out how you can install an SSL certificate and set up the associated HTTP to HTTPS redirect.
Fortunately, you can use the free Really Simple SSL plugin to take care of everything. You can obtain an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, and install it on your site via the plugin using just a few simple steps. Really Simple SSL covers everything from SSL installation to redirects, which means there’s not much left that you have to do by hand.
Plugin 4: Redirection
This powerful plugin packs a lot of functionality into a single package. Redirection can handle most 301 redirect issues, as well as redirecting 404 errors back to your home page (which is vital for SEO). The plugin even tracks 404 errors, so you’re immediately aware of which links are no longer working. Plus, it’s a free and open-source tool.
Need Help With Redirects? WP Engine Is Here for You
If you need any help configuring redirects on your WordPress site, don’t hesitate to contact us. WP Engine offers top resources for developers, and can help you create an incredible digital experience for your own customers. We have a number of developer resources as well, and offer plans that are suitable for a wide variety of needs.