If you've spent any time on the internet at all, chances are you've encountered an HTTP status code.
In simple terms, HTTP status codes are essentially standard response codes used to show the relationship between all the things that go on in the background when you travel from web page to web page: things like the user agent (i.e., your web browser), the web page you're trying to load, and any third-party web applications you might be running.
Because of the complexity of how all those things interact, there are a ton of possible HTTP status codes you can run up against. HTTP status codes can be used to identify and diagnose the particular blocker preventing you from loading a resource, or give you more information about the journey you took on the way to a page.
What Does HTTP 302 Mean?
One of the most common HTTP status codes is HTTP 302. This status occurs when a resource or page you're attempting to load has been temporarily moved to a different location -- via a 302 redirect.
As opposed to 301 redirects -- which are used to permanently direct users from one location to another -- 302 redirects are temporary. You usually won't notice a 302 redirect if it's set up correctly. The web server serving up the 302 redirect should immediately indicate the new location of the page to your browser, and should send you there right away.
If you want to see when you've encountered a 302 redirect (or any type of redirect), consider using an application or Chrome extension (like this one, Redirect Path). This type of tool will show you directly in your browser when you run into a redirect.
It's important to note that an HTTP 302 status code is caused by the web server you're attempting to reach. It's not an issue with your web browser, or anything you can control on your end of things.
If you're thinking about setting up 302 redirects on your own website, you should know that these types of temporary redirects aren't appreciated by Google. Google's crawler will follow and honor a permanent 301 redirect, but will ignore any temporary 302 redirects you set up. If you want to maintain your search ranking on a page you need to redirect to a new location, opt for a permanent 301 redirect instead.
Originally published Dec 28, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated December 10 2019