What is an .htaccess Redirect?
An .htaccess redirect is an Apache web server directive that allows users to configure URL redirects from one page to another. The .htaccess file is commonly used in websites that are hosted on the Apache web server and is an effective way of managing traffic on a website by redirecting users from one page to another. When .htaccess is used to configure a redirect, users are automatically routed from the page they are currently on to the page you set as the target in the .htaccess redirect.
Why Use an .htaccess Redirect?
There are a number of reasons why you may want to set up an .htaccess redirect. Some of the most popular reasons include:
- To redirect traffic from an old URL to a new one when you’ve changed the structure of your website.
- To redirect traffic from an expired domain to a new domain.
- To redirect traffic from a temporary page to your existing home page.
- To create a custom error page when someone tries to access a page that does not exist.
- To keep search engine rankings intact following a redesign or migration of a website.
In addition, using an .htaccess redirect allows you to create SEO-friendly URLs that are easy for both humans and search engine robots to understand. As an example, for a page about buying a new car on your website, instead of using a generic URL like:
you can use a more descriptive URL structure like:
Types of .htaccess Redirects
There are two types of redirects:
- Permanent Redirect (301) – When this type of redirect is used, a website’s visitors and search engine robots will be redirected to the new page permanently. This type of redirect is the most commonly used.
- Temporary Redirect (302) – This type of redirect is used to temporarily send visitors and search engine robots to a new page. The original page will remain indexed in search engine results, as the page is only being temporarily redirected.
How to Create a .htaccess Redirect with Apache Web Server
Creating an .htaccess redirect with the Apache web server is fairly straightforward. You will need access to the .htaccess file on your web server in order to create the redirect.
- 1. Log in to the web server using an FTP client or a Web hosting control panel (such as cPanel, Plesk, or ISPConfig).
- 2. Locate the “.htaccess” file in the root directory of your website.
Note: If you cannot see the file, make sure to enable “Show hidden files” in your FTP client.
- 3. Right-click on the “.htaccess” file and choose “Edit”.
- 4. Add the redirect code you desire.
Redirect Code Syntax
There are several different syntax options for creating a redirect code in .htaccess. Depending on your situation, you may want to use one or the other.
For Single Pages
The following syntax is used for redirecting a single page from one URL to another:
Redirect 301 /old-page.html http://www.example.com/new-page.html
For Entire Websites
The following syntax is used for redirecting an entire website from one domain to another:
Redirect 301 / http://www.example.com/
For Directory Redirects
The following syntax is used for redirecting a directory from one domain to another:
Redirect 301 /old-directory/ http://www.example.com/new-directory/
Testing Your .htaccess Redirects
Once you’ve created and saved your .htaccess redirects, it’s important to test them to make sure they are working correctly. You can use an automated redirect checker to do this by entering the URL of the page you want to test.
.htaccess redirects are a great way to manage traffic on a website. Redirects can be used to move users from an old URL to a new one when a structure of a website has been changed, to keep search engine rankings intact following a website redesign or migration, and to create SEO-friendly URLs. Setting up an .htaccess redirect with Apache is easy, and there are a few different syntax options you can use depending on the situation. Once you’ve created the redirects, be sure to test them to make sure they are working properly.