What are 301 and 302 redirects?
Forwarding a domain sends visitors to your domain over to another site. 301 and 302 redirects determine whether this forwarding is permanent or temporary, and tells search engines how to handle the redirect.
A 301 redirect is one option when you set your domain to forward to another destination URL. When someone types your domain in the address bar, a 301 redirect will send visitors to the destination URL, and that new URL will show in the browser address bar. A 301 redirect is a status code that tells search engines the site for your domain has permanently moved to the new destination URL. Don't worry—you can change the 301 redirect any time, or remove forwarding entirely, so it's not permanent in the sense that you can't change it later. The status of 301 helps search engines know where the current content of your domain's website lives, so it can show the correct content info in search results.
A 301 redirect is similar to submitting a Change of Address form—it tells the postal service that you've permanently moved to another location so mail can be delivered to the correct place. But just like a change of address, you can submit a new one at any time. And eventually the postal service (or search engine results, in this case) will learn the new address permanently. Additionally, 301 redirects preserve your search engine rankings—all the work you put in to build up your SEO and search rankings will be transferred to the new destination.
A 302 redirect is the other option for domain forwarding, and it also shows the destination URL in the address bar when visitors type in your domain name. 302 redirects are a way to let users and search engines know that this redirect is temporary. It's a great option when you're working on a new website or need to take down your current website to work on it.
302 redirects lets search engines know this redirect is temporary, and it will be removed in the near future. It's important to note that a 302 redirect doesn't help your search engine rankings. In fact, if you leave a 302 redirect in place for longer than expected, it can potentially harm your search engine rankings. Search engines will only show one version of the destination site, and eventually, that will be the destination site your 302 redirect is forwarding to. The longer a 302 redirect is in place, the more likely it is that search engines will index the new site, rather than preserving the info from your original website on your domain.
So how do you choose which option is best for your forwarded domain? The best way to determine whether you need a 301 or 302 is redirect is to know how long you plan to keep your domain forwarded. If you're only forwarding your domain temporarily while you build a new website or update your existing site, a 302 redirect is probably best. But if you're planning to keep your domain forwarding for a while and won't be connecting to a website, a 301 redirect is probably the best option. And remember—you can change or remove both types of forwarding at any time. Your choice ultimately determines how search engines handle the results when searching for your domain or website.
- Now that you know more about the different redirect types you can forward your domain name.
- Not sure if forwarding is the right option? Create your own website with Websites + Marketing or Managed WordPress.