Clicking on a broken link on a website is like your GPS leading you down a dead end: frustrating and a waste of time. Since broken links can have a negative impact on your site rankings as well as the visitor experience, it's critical to avoid them.
While you should regularly check your website for broken links, it's particularly important when migrating your site to a new platform like WordPress.
Redirect plugins will ensure that any broken links point to another relevant page on your site. That way, if a visitor clicks on a broken link, they'll simply be redirected to a new location where they can continue browsing.
This will not only help maintain your site's credibility — it will also prevent your site's rankings from falling.
Let's take a look at how to redirect a URL in WordPress, then explore some plugins that can automate the process.
How to Redirect a URL in Wordpress
To manually set up redirects on your site, you’ll need to add code to your hypertext access file. Considering that one mistake in this file can break your whole site, it’s important to make a back-up.
To do so, go to File Manager and select the .htaccess file. Right-click to rename it .htaccess_old. This is now your backup file.
Now, go to public_html in File Manager, and create a new text file. Name it .htaccess. This will be your new file.
Time to add your code now. Let’s say you want to redirect an outdated post to a more recent one. Then you’d copy and paste the following code at the end of the file.
Do you want to keep track of your 404 errors and manage the 301 redirects on your site? If you answered yes and yes, Redirection is the plugin for you.
With Redirection, you don't need any knowledge of Apache or Nginx to complete these tasks. You can configure the plugin to automatically create a redirect when the permalink of a post or page is changed or when other conditions are met.
You can also use Redirection's configurable logging feature to view all redirects occurring on your site and to keep track of information about the visitor, the browser they used, and the referrer.
The best news: this plugin is available in multiple languages and it's free. For all these reasons, Redirection is ideal if you plan to migrate your content from one site to another, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
Like the Redirection plugin, WP 404 Auto Redirect to Similar Post is a free and highly-rated plugin.
As the name implies, this plugin automatically detects any 404 pages and redirects them to similar posts based on title, post types, and categories or tags.
Say, a similar page can’t be found based on these factors. Then you can set the "fallback behavior" feature to automatically redirect the visitor to your homepage or a custom URL, or display a default 404 page.
Safe Redirect Manager is another free and top-rated redirect plugin in the WordPress directory. With this plugin, you can easily redirect any pages and posts to new URLs with HTTP status codes like 302 and 301.
WordPress Ultimate Redirect Plugin is a premium tool available in the CodeCanyon marketplace.
With this plugin, you can set up redirects in a few different ways. You can use its auto-redirect feature to send visitors to the nearest URL match automatically. Or you can set up flexible redirect rules to send your visitors to a relevant page based on the visitors’ device or referral source.
Yoast SEO is one of the most widely used WordPress plugins for SEO. While it offers a free version that comes with lots of excellent features, the premium version comes with a redirect manager.
The redirect manager allows you to easily redirect your pages to another location on your WordPress site using 301 permanent redirects, 302 Found and 307 temporary redirects, 410 content deleted errors, and 451 content unavailable for legal reasons errors.
You can even automate this process for existing content on your site. If you change the URL of an existing post or page, Yoast SEO Premium will automatically create a redirect from the old to the new URL. If you delete a post or page, on the other hand, the plugin will immediately notify you to create a redirect.
You can set up a variety of redirects for your site using the SEO Redirection plugin. With this free plugin, you can also monitor 404 error pages and redirect them to another location with ease. You can even redirect entire folders and everything they contain, like your index.html file.
Like other plugins mentioned above, SEO Redirection will automatically add a 301 redirect when the URL of a post changes. It will also keep track of all the redirects on your site in one place.
What sets the Simple Website Redirect plugin apart from the others on the list is its scale. While the other plugins allows you to redirect tens to hundreds of URLs on your site, Simple Website Redirect allows to you redirect an entire website to another domain.
Broken Link Checker was created by WPMU Dev to help site owners monitor not only their posts and pages, but also their comments, custom fields, and blogroll. Once installed, this free plugin will automatically scan your WordPress site for broken links.
It will then notify you either by email or a dashboard notification when it's done scanning. In a new tab of your dashboard labelled Broken Links, you can edit the links directly without having to manually update each post and page. If you'd rather not add a new URL to redirect the link, you can simply remove it and the text will stay the same.
If you’d prefer to set up redirects manually or simply review the auto-redirects, then you can view the logged errors in your WordPress dashboard. The 404 Solution plugin will even provide a list of page suggestions to help you find the best possible match for the URL that the visitor was likely trying to reach.
Say Goodbye to Broken Links
Redirect plugins are an important asset for every website, no matter its age or industry. All of the plugins above can help simplify the process of setting up redirects on your site so you (and your visitors!) don't have to worry about any dead ends.
Many of them are compatible with other plugins, so can keep extending the functionality of your site with tools like the HubSpot WordPress plugin.
Originally published Jun 8, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated June 12 2020