How to to redirect your website and domain using a 301 redirect
Potential problems with moving your website, or changing the URL address of a page on your website
When you change domains, or upgrade your website, you run the risk of (1) upsetting customers when they attempt to visit a page on your site, simply to be presented with an ugly error 404 page not found message. You also run the risk of (2) upsetting search engines such as Google, because they go to crawl a page on your site and find it is no longer there! This in turn often leads to decreased search engine rankings, less traffic, less enquiries and less business. This is bad for customers, bad for search engines, bad for search engines and bad for business!
The Solution is to setup a 301 Redirect
The solution is to setup a 301 redirect within your .htaccess file on your webserver, which seamlessly redirects customers and the Google bot to the new website or page address on your new site. Having a 301 redirect doesn't slow down the time it takes for the page to load, because before a page is served to your web browser, the server first checks for an .htaccess file, and if it finds one, the old page never loads, visitors are instead directed directly through to the new page (as specified by your 301 redirect). With a properly setup 301 redirect, customers usually won't even notice the change in URL, because they are seamlessly and instantly redirected through to the new page or website. This is good for customers, good for Google and good for your business!
Please use the left hand menu system to select the type of redirect you would like to setup, for how to instructions. Some examples include:
301 redirect a single page
Have you moved a single page, or perhaps a few pages on your site, and want to ensure there is no disruption to site visitors or search engines? Please read our how to 301 redirect a single page guide here.
301 redirect from your old domain (or a seconday domain) to your new domain
The best way to bring all traffic from any old domains (or secondary domains) through to your primary domain name, is to use apache mod_rewrite, which is setup from your .htaccess file. This may sound complicated (and it sometimes can be) but in most situations is relatively easy to setup. Please read 301 redirect your old domain guide here.
301 redirect non-WWW to WWW urls (or vice-versa)
Please read our redirect non www guide, which is achieved with apache mod_rewrite. This is usually relatively easy to setup, ensures all your URLs stay clean and consistent, and helps to alleviate duplicate content problems on Google.