Securing your website with an SSL certificate will give your website the much-coveted padlock symbol and the prefix HTTPS (as opposed to the generic HTTP). As you might know, secure websites are rewarded by search engines; boosting their ranking, compared to non-secure websites. But if you need to move pages from an old HTTPS domain to a new domain, this can lead to lost links, 404 pages and penalties from search engines... How do you manage HTTPS redirects without the hassle? Read on and find out!
Before we elaborate on the challenges with HTTPS Redirection, we’ll briefly explain what a redirect is exactly and why they are so important.
For starters, what is a redirect?
We understand not everybody is a tech wizard. So, let’s break it down for the non-nerdy readers out there. When you move a page on your site to a different location, or when you move your entire site to a different domain, the old link (aka ‘url’) will lead to a place that no longer has any content. This is when you are served with the infamous ‘404 page not found’ error. This 404 page leaves the visitor empty handed and search engines looking like fools.
This is where a redirect comes in. It’s a line of code that tells your browser and search engines where to find the missing page or content. Problem solved!
Different types of redirects
There are several ways a redirect can be classified. Basically, you only need to remember to use 301 redirects for permanently moved pages and 302 for redirects for temporarily moved pages. But here’s some more background to satisfy your thirst for knowledge:
301 Moved Permanently
The most accurate, common and realistic method of redirecting a web page is to use a permanent redirect, also known as a 301 redirect. When a website is permanently relocated to a new address that needs to be indexed by search engines, this type of redirect code is used to redirect the URL from the old one to the new one.
A 301 redirect is particularly useful in the following situations:
To ensure a smooth transfer of traffic from your old site to your new site
To redirect visitors arriving at your site via various URLs, you can select a preferred URL and then use 301 to redirect all traffic to that URL
When merging two websites, to make sure the links to old URLs are cached and permanently redirected to the right pages
When a web page forwards a URL to another URL, it takes time for the search engines to process the 301 redirects, grasp the idea, and reward the new page with all of the previous page's rankings (including trust). This process takes longer if search engine bots don’t visit the given site very often, or if they don’t redirect the new URL properly.
302 Moved Temporarily
A 302 redirect is used when a URL is temporarily redirected to another site. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), also known as HTTP, is the protocol that governs how a URL functions on the internet. This comes in two main versions: 1.0 and 1.1. The status code 302 in the first version meant ‘temporarily transferred’. In version 1.1, this was modified to indicate ‘found’. Browsers will not cache these redirects as aggressively as 301 redirects, making the destination easier to change.
This redirect is particularly useful in the following situations:
When you need to temporarily redirect traffic to another website while your page is being worked on
When you need to redirect users to a different page while keeping your original URL indexed
When your content is at one URL, but you're promoting links to a different URL
Less obvious types of redirect
The 301 and 302 redirects are probably the only types of redirect you’ll ever need. But just in case you run into some legacy software or plugins that ask you about them, here’s a little insight into so-called ‘legacy’ redirects:
• 303 redirects
These can be used to show that the redirects are linked to a different domain instead of the newly uploaded sites. They're rarely discussed in relation to SEO because, unlike a confirmation page or an upload progress page, this sort of redirect has no impact on SEO. 303 redirects can be used to avoid the details of a form being resubmitted when a user uses their browser's back button. A 303 redirect is almost never used.
307 (Moved Temporarily)
The 307 redirect is a server-side variant of the 302 redirect in HTTP 1.1. When the server responds with a redirect, 307 redirects are used to ensure that the HTTP form deployed to generate the request doesn’t change. Like a 302 redirect, a 307 redirect can only be used when traffic is relocated to a different URL. This type of redirect is relatively new and will keep the original POSTed body. Because it's unclear how search engines will respond to a 307 redirect, it’s better to use the 302 variant.
308 Redirects (Moved Permanently)
The 308 redirect is the permanent version of the 307 redirect. The 308 redirect transfers page authority, as you would expect from a permanent redirect. Like the 307 redirect, the 308 redirect keeps the original HTTP process and is also a relatively new way to redirect, keeping the original POSTed body. Since it's uncertain how search engines might respond to the 308 redirect, it’s safer to use the 301 redirect if you want to indicate the permanent transfer of data.
The benefits of using HTTPS
Surfing the web is great, but it also has some risks. Cybercrime is on the rise and privacy is becoming increasingly scarce. One of the ways to secure your website, is by using an SSL certificate that gives your site the prefix HTTPS, rather than regular old HTTP. The ‘S’ obviously stands for Secure, but there’s more to be gained from using HTTPS in your website:
- Search Engine Optimization
Websites that use HTTPS are ranked higher by search engines, resulting in improved findability.
- Privacy warranty
Privacy legislation, such as the GDPR, has expedited the rise in SSL encrypted websites. Forms that are completed on your website that contain personal data and website preferences (like filter preferences) are fully shielded.
- Increased security
An HTTPS website uses an encrypted connection. This makes it harder for cyber criminals to hack it and place their own malevolent code.
- Branding benefits
A padlock symbol in your browser gives the visitor a sense of security and professionalism. Since SSL is becoming more commonplace, the absence of a padlock symbol raises a flag with some security-aware visitors. So, the question is: can you really afford to NOT use SSL?
- Search Engine Optimization
Redirecting a secure URL with HTTPS
Redirecting old HTTPS domains to a new HTTPS domain can get you in trouble. This is where one of our best features comes in. We offer a HTTPS redirect service straight out of the box!
The problem with redirecting HTTPS links usually occurs when an SSL certificate on an old site expires. The redirects that worked fine before, suddenly start throwing SSL errors, because no valid SSL certificate was found at your old domain. Manually recreating SSL certificates for all your old domains can be tedious and time consuming, but we can help you out!
Our redirect.pizza HTTPS Redirect Service will automatically hook you up with a brand-new SSL certificate for the old HTTPS domain, leaving your redirects nice and intact. No more manual labor, no more SSL errors and no more 404 pages. Managing your HTTPS redirects will be a breeze and just imagine the time savings!
Oh, and did we mention redirect.pizza has a free tier that’s suitable for most users? We lovingly call it our Margherita plan… Come on, how many people do you know who’d turn down free pizza? 😉
Set up your free HTTPS Redirect Service
Setting up your domain for redirect.pizza is easy as a pizza pie. Just follow these simple steps and you’re good to go:
- Getting registered
Getting registered on redirect.pizza is totally free. You can register yourself by signing up with Google, Github, Apple, or create your own account using your email address.
- Creating your first URL Redirect
Using our HTTPS redirect service couldn’t be easier. Just fill in the details of your old domain or URL that you want redirected as source URLs. Now add the destination (a new domain or a URL) that you want your source to redirect to. Finally select the type of redirect that you want (301, 302, or another) and click on create.
- Changing the DNS records
Once the redirect is created, the final step is to configure your DNS of the domain to our server. All the information required can be accessed here. Voila! You are good to go, all you have to do is wait for the DNS records to update. When the domain DNS is validated, the SSL certificate is automatically requested and installed on our servers.
Now type in the old URL or domain that you wanted to redirect and you can now confirm if our URL redirect service has worked it's magic.
Browser redirect is a helpful service that allows users to point their domains or subdomains to specific URLs when they are required. This is typically needed when a website is no longer accessible under its original domain name. Or all users who have linked to it need to be automatically notified of the change.
As a result, the URL redirection feature assists domain owners in maintaining the relevance of incoming links to their websites. redirect.pizza is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that makes setting up redirects a convenience. While redirecting should not be difficult, setting up a separate server may be inconvenient if you just need to redirect a few domains.
That's why we came up with the idea of redirect.pizza. Initially, it was created to serve our use case, but we decided to make it publicly accessible after some time! Create an account and add your first redirect to get started!