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Want to understand redirects?
Let’s start with a quick example so we’re both on the same page.
Example of a redirect
Imagine you have an About page on your site and the permalink is “mysite.com/about-me.” You decide to make the URL a bit shorter so it’s only “mysite.com/about.”
You link to your About page in the menu and WordPress automatically updates this link for you. However, you have a few blog posts that still link to the “about-me” version of the URL. Even worse, you did an interview on someone else’s blog and they also link to the “about-me” version of the page.
If anyone visits the “about-me” URL, they’ll see a 404 error page instead of your About page.
The solution is simple: create a redirect from the old URL to the new URL.
You can’t edit links on other people’s websites, so they’ll keep linking to the “about-me” version of the page but visitors will be instantly redirected to the new “about” URL with your actual About page on it.
How to add redirects
The best way to add redirects to your site is with the free 301 Redirects plugin.
In case you’re wondering, 301 refers to the page status code for a URL redirecting to another page.
301 Redirects can be installed easily via your Plugins menu, and then you’ll find this new settings menu in your dashboard:
Using the plugin is quite simple.
On the left side, you’ll find your URL already pre-filled for you followed by an empty text field where you can enter the permalink of the page you want to redirect.
Enter the old URL and then use the box on the right side of the page to enter the new page URL.
You’ll notice that you can type out the complete URL. I appreciate the flexibility the developers have provided here because it allows you to redirect pages to external URLs if you would like.
The last step is to simply save the redirect you’ve added and you’ll find it listed in the 301 Redirects menu.
You can return to edit or delete the redirect whenever needed, and you can add as many redirects as you want.
Redirects are invaluable for webmasters. Over time, you’re bound to move posts and pages leaving 404 errors in their absence. The 301 Redirects plugin is the simplest way to utilize redirects on your WordPress site.
If you have any questions about the plugin or redirecting pages with WordPress, please leave a comment below.