301 Redirects; what they are, what they do, and how to set one up

A guide to 301 redirects. What they are, what they are used for, and how to set them up using VIA.

What is a 301 Redirect?

A 301 redirect is a way of redirecting visitors from one URL to another. They should be setup if or when you change the URL of a website page.

Typically, 301 redirects should be setup when:

  • You change website providers and the new website pages that are being built have a different URL to your old website

  • You edit a website page URL, for the purposes of SEO for example

What does a 301 Redirect do?

If a user types the old URL into their browser, or Google is still referencing an older page of your website in its search results, a 301 redirect seamlessly forwards the website visitor to your new URL address.

If no 301 redirects are setup when you change the URL of a website page, then any website visitor will get a "404 - we're sorry but the page you're looking for no longer exists" error. This can be detrimental to your SEO and prevent your website users from finding the relevant content on your website.

How to setup a new 301 redirect

  • Login to VIA

  • Go to Website > Redirects (you will require Super User permissions to see the menu link)

  • Click the Add button in the top left

  • In the URL field, enter the old page URL. Do not enter the whole page URL, just the part which is relevant to that specific page eg: www.website.com/old-page would be entered as simply old-page (please note, this field is case sensitive, so ensure you are copying exactly the old URL structure, including any capitalisation. Please do not enter the /)

  • Click the Visible box to make your 301 redirect live. Unticked redirects will simply be saved as a draft

  • In the New URL field, enter the new page URL. Again, do not enter the whole page URL, just the part which is relevant to that specific page eg: www.website.com/new-page would be entered as new-page (all characters for the new url will be lower case, do not enter the /)

  • If you want to redirect to the homepage, simply leave the New URL field blank

  • Click Save & Close