Choosing Between 301 and 302 Redirects: Best Practices for Website Migrations and URL Changes

301 or 302? When is which redirect used?

Anyone who would like to move their website or web shop from one hosting provider, CMS or shop system to another will be happy to ask their environment for advice. Perhaps just to hear a few tips, such as: ‘Remember the diversions!’ ‘However, as soon as the thought of these arises, the question quickly arises:’ Directions yes, but which, where and how ?.

Even if you stay true to your CMS and just want to quickly redirect all your hosted domains with different extensions to the domain actually used, you have to ask yourself after a short stay in your hosting user administration let: Redirect 301 or 302? Now you can try it out for yourself or read on here a bit, because actually it’s not that complicated

From searching and Find or what do diversions actually do?

Imagine that you have been sorting your recipes neatly in a kitchen book for years and always quickly find what you are looking for. But one day you will acquire a more modern recipe storage system and start re-sorting your recipe collection there. That looks great, but maybe you won’t find what is important to you so quickly. In addition, when you were rearranging recipes you came across recipes that you no longer need, such as an ex-girlfriend’s favorite dish. You probably don’t necessarily need the recipe for the Christmas goose in summer either. But where to put it so that you can find it again if necessary? It is getting tricky.

It is very similar to a move or restructuring of your website to Google. Since Google’s resources are not infinite either, there is a specific crawl budget for each website. The size of this budget depends, among other things, on the respective page rank. The crawl budget shows how often a website is visited by Google and whether it is only examined superficially or deeply for new content. Redirects lead the Google Crawler specifically from old, no longer relevant content to what is current. This can be pages moved to a new CMS or URLs that have been renamed through a restructuring of the navigation of an existing page.

Redirects let Google know that old content that is no longer at the original The indexed body is not available, has only been moved and not deleted. In this way alone there is a chance that rankings that have already been achieved will not be lost and that no error messages will arise. A redirect shows the crawler the way. But how do you ensure that your redirects lead to the goal that a “redirect” does not become a “detour” during the crawl?

Redirect 301 “for permanently moved content

This type of redirection will be activated on the most often used because, once set up, it sends the strong signal that the article, which was originally indexed differently, also has the same relevance under the “new address”.

Definitely set up 301 redirects if you:

  • move your website to another CMS or to a new domain
  • changed the URL structure of your site, e.g. B. renamed parts of the navigation
  • from one shop system to another
  • updated article names or categories
  • corrected any spelling errors in the URLs
  • Converted your site to SSL

For many CMS plugins or standard templates are offered with which setting up redirects has become technically so easy that it is just pure hard work. Most of these work in table form, where you enter the old target URL on the left and the new target URL on the right.

As soon as you know that a major URL change or a whole move is imminent, you can generate lists of all URLs on your pages online. The tool Screaming Frog offers this function for pages with up to 500 URLs even in its free version.

Another way is to set up the redirects by editing the .htaccess file. To do this, you dial in via FTP. You can usually find .htaccess in the main directory, sometimes you have to search for it a bit.

In this case, to prepare, you use an Excel sheet and the following code template:

 redirect 301 / alt-url /

Whether you work with a plugin or directly in the .htaccess, always backs up all existing data in advance.

Redirect 302 – the temporary redirection

This type of redirection signals to Google that this is only about the temporary change the view of a content. This can be a seasonal item that should be offered again and again, but only for a short period of time. Special offers for the holiday season, discounts for a recurring occasion or other regular promotions can be taken out of the program for a while without confusing error messages and put back in the same place. Even articles that are temporarily unavailable do not have to lead to the end of a shopping tour, but conveniently to the next upper category or to the home page via a 302 redirect. The possibilities are varied and flexible.

Small tips to conclude

As in real life, the diversions say: ‘Drum check who is eternal binds’. You can do this after a page move or after minor changes as follows:

  • Check the status code of all diversions in ‘Screaming Frog’
  • manually Run tests
  • Check the Google Search Console for new error messages
  • Keep an eye on your rankings even more closely and go back to troubleshooting if anything is found

Of course there are a few exceptions. In the event that, in addition to your .au domain, you also have .com or .net, for example, and simply want to redirect them to .au, set up a “Redirect 301” directly on your hosting interface.

We very much hope that our recipes for setting up redirects will help you and are now curious: What tips do you have on the subject of redirects with status code 301 or 302? Please share them with us here, thank you very much!