There are many circumstances where having multiple domain names might be beneficial. Perhaps your company name has a quirky spelling, and people keep mistyping its address into their browser. Maybe you’ve rebranded, but want to maintain the old URLs for people with browser Favourites. Or perhaps choosing an unusual top level domain necessitates a .com address, for people who mistakenly assume a .me or .co TLD has characters missing.
From June 2019 there’ll be another reason to use redirects, once the moratorium on .uk website purchases comes to an end. For now, owners of co.uk websites have exclusive rights to acquire corresponding .uk domains. But all bets are off next June, meaning a competitor could start cybersquatting at a similar URL. Acquiring both the co.uk and .uk domains enables traffic redirection from one to the other. India has already transitioned from co.in to .in, and the United Kingdom is expected to gradually follow suit.
Setting up a redirect
There are five separate ways to redirect traffic from one webpage to another, each performing a slightly different function:
301 – this is a permanent redirect indicating the original content is no longer located at that URL
302 – a temporary redirect, sending visitors to a holding page or social media account
303 – used to redirect web browsers to a different resource, such as from HTTP to HTTPS
307 – a temporary web developer tool, which can’t be used to transition between secure and insecure web pages
308 – a permanent version of a 307
The last three options were created after instabilities were identified in the behaviour of 302s. Unless you’re a website developer, a 301 is the only redirect worth knowing about. However, setting one up varies according to which platform the website is being managed through:
UK2 Website Builder
Our own website builder supports easy redirects through the Site Settings menu, where Redirects > Add a redirect can be found. Enter origin and destination pages, click Save and the newly-added redirect will be listed as active.
Log in and go to the Domains section, where a dedicated Redirects button is located. Choose 301 from the Type drop-down, specifying the URL being redirected and its location, before clicking Add.
Open a format-free text editor like Notepad, and type ‘Redirect 301 / http://www.newURLdestination.com/’. Save the file as .htaccess on the server hosting every other website file and folder.
Various plugins have been created to organise 301s, including the unambiguously titled Easy 301 Redirects and Simple 301 Redirects. Each plugin lives up to its name, providing a guided sequence of instructions.
Right-click on the file or folder to be redirected in Internet Services Manager, choose ‘Redirection to a URL’ and enter the new address, before checking ‘the exact URL entered above’ and ‘a permanent redirection for this resource.’
You can repeat the process above as many times as necessary, to ensure every relevant web page redirects to an appropriate location.