HTTP and META Redirects

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What is a Redirect?

A "redirect" redirects users and search engines to a different URI. This means the server (HTTP redirect) or the HTML page (META redirect) sends the user a new URI for the requested resource.

 

HTTP Redirect

HTTP redirects should be the preferred method of redirection. The HTTP redirect allows different types of redirect by returning a status code together with the new URI. You can either add a line to your .htaccess file (in the root of your web server) or create a php page for it.

Redirect in .htaccess file:

Open the .htaccess file (located in the web root)  in an editor and add e.g.
RedirectPermanent source target
RedirectPermanent will send a "301 Moved Permanently" to the clients browser or search engine and is the recommended for most situations.

RedirectPermanent /a.html http://www.yourdomain.tld/b.html
Redirect permanent /a.html http://www.yourdomain.tld/b.html
Redirect 301 /a.html http://www.yourdomain.tld/b.html

"RedirectPermanent", "Redirect permanent" and "Redirect 301" are equal.

 

Redirect in .php page:

Create a php file, e.g. index.php with the following content:

<?php
header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
header("Location:http://www.yourdomain.tld/b.html");
exit;
?>

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META Redirect

A META redirect is nothing more than a tag in the header of a html page.

<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5; URL=http://www.yourdomain.tld/b.html">
...
</head>
<body>
...
Add some text and a link here, e.g.
You will be redirected to http://www.yourdomain.tld/b.html in 5 seconds, etc.
...
</body>
</html>

The redirection is done by the http-equiv "refresh". The "=5" in the content means redirect in 5 seconds. You can also change it to 0 (ZERO) to redirect immediatly.

What "Redirect" should I use?

From a SEO perspective the recommended redirect is a HTTP "301 Moved Permanently" redirect.
Use a 302 redirect if you want to redirect mobile users on a mobile friendly page or for a temporary condition.

 

301 Moved Permanently
A permanent redirect, which passes most link juice to the target page.

302 Moved Temporarily (HTTP 1.0) - 302 Found (HTTP 1.1)
A temporary redirect, which passes no link juice to the target page.

307 Moved Temporarily (HTTP 1.1)
Successor of 302 in HTTP 1.1.

META Redirect
A page level redirect, which passes some link juice to the target. META redirects should only be used in special situations.

 

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