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How to manage page redirects in WordPress

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If you’ve recently edited your WordPress site and made changes such as: adjusting your WordPress permalinks, changing page / post urls, or deleting old pages – it’s always a good idea to ensure website traffic / visitors are correctly redirected from any old or no longer available content, to the updated or alternative page.

There are various ways of carrying this out, such as manually adding each page redirection in to your sites .htaccess file, however you can also manage all redirections from directly within your WordPress site thanks to WordPress plugins.

In this guide we will show you how to install and create a basic redirect with the Redirection plugin for WordPress.  This will enable you to add, remove and monitor all of your WordPress page and post redirects quickly and easily.

If you already have the plugin installed and set up, please feel free to skip straight to the Adding your first Redirect section

Please note that there are various other redirection plugins available directly from the WordPress plugin repository which can help you achieve the same results if you do not wish to use the plugin used in this guide.

Installing Redirection:

Firstly you will need to log in your WordPress admin area / dashboard – This will normally be at a URL such as mydomain.com/wp-admin  (replacing mydomain.com with your own domain name)

Once logged in, hover over Plugins on the left menu, then click on the Add New option.

Next, In the Search box in the top left of the screen, enter Redirection then press enter. This will search for the plugin from the WordPress plugin repository, and also show related plugins in the search result.

You should see Redirection appear as the first result. Click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on WordPress

Once installed, the button will change to a blue Activate button. Click this to activate the plugin.

You will then be taken back to the Installed Plugins page of your WordPress site.

At the top of the page you will see a notice stating: Please complete your Redirection Setup to activate the plugin.  Click on the link within this notice when ready to start setting up the plugin.

If for any reason you refresh or leave the page before doing this, simply go back to the Installed Plugins page then click on Settings below the Redirection plugin, or alternatively hover over Tools, then click on Redirection from the left hand menu of your WordPress dashboard. This will then allow you to continue the plugin setup.

Initial setup of the Redirection Plugin:

Once you’ve clicked on the Redirection Setup link mentioned in the previous step, you will be greeted with the Welcome to Redirection setup page.

This will give you a very brief overview of what the plugin is used for, as well as as basic “how to use”.

Please have a read through this + any of the associated feature links that may be of use to you.

Once ready to continue setup click on the Start Setup button.

The next page of set up will be the Basic Setup screen.

Here you will be given a couple of options as listed below. In this example we’ve gone ahead and enabled two of these as they are generally useful to have enabled.  Note: the options can be enabled / disabled at any time via the Redirection settings page if you change your mind.

Monitor Permalink Changes in WordPress Posts And Pages – This will allow the Redirection plugin to automatically monitor any changes you make to your WordPress page or post permalinks and create the redirect for you.  So for example if you had a page: mydomain.com/about  and you decided to change the page permalink to mydomain.com/about-us, Redirection would automatically detect and add the redirect for you.

Keep a log of all redirects and 404 errors – As the name suggests this will allow the Redirection plugin to log if anyone hits a 404 (not found) page on your site, or if anyone has hit one of the redirects you have in place.  This can be very handy for keeping track of site issues, or which page redirects are still seeing quite a lot of visitors.  Note: enabling this option will store the logs within your WordPress database, which can cause the database size to increase. If you have a high traffic site it may be advisable to only enable this option temporarily, then disable once you are happy redirects / any 404 issues are resolved.

Store IP information for redirects and 404 errors –  This option becomes available if you select the above “Keep a log” option. In our example we’ll leave this disabled, but if enabled it will also store the IP address of the visitor that hit the redirect, or 404 page.  As stated by the plugin you will need to adhere to your local laws regarding the storage of this information, for example: GDPR.

Once you’ve chosen the options you would like to enable, click on Continue Setup

The next page of set up will then be the REST API page.

Normally there’s nothing to do on this page.  The Redirection plugin will automatically test the WordPress REST API (which is used to communicate with WordPress).

If there are no issues then after a short moment you should see a note on the page stating REST API: GOOD

Once you see the above message click on the Finish Setup button to continue.

If for any reason you see an error instead of the “Good” message, please refer to the troubleshooting tips mentioned on this page – It can be that the REST API is being blocked by a firewall / security plugin (such as WordFence / Cloudflare ), or a caching solution (such as Cloudflare). In that case please allow or whitelist the Redirection plugin within the service you are using, and test again.

If you are still having issues getting the REST API to work after the above troubleshooting then please submit a support ticket to us, by logging in to your client area then clicking on the “Open Ticket” option.

After clicking on Finish Setup Redirection will then process the settings you’ve chosen and complete its setup.

Once the bar on this page hits 100% click on the Finished! button.

Adding your first Redirect:

Once set up is complete, you will be taken to the main Redirection settings page.

If you ever need to access the settings page for this plugin, simply hover over Tools, then click on Redirection from the left hand menu of your WordPress dashboard, or go to the Installed Plugins page then click on Settings below the Redirection plugin.

Whilst on the main settings page, we will add in our first redirect.

For this example we’re just going to use a basic redirect from one page to another, however you can click on the cog icon next to the “Add Redirect” button for more advanced redirect settings – such as specific HTTP codes and URL match options.

For our example redirect we’ve changed our WordPress contact page and so are now going to redirect anyone visiting the page: mydomain.com/get-in-touch    to the new page: mydomain.com/contact

In the Source URL box, enter the old page url.   In this example we will enter: /get-in-touch

Note: As the redirect is for a page on the same domain name, you don’t need to include the full “mydomain.com” domain in the redirect url

In the Target URL box, enter the new page url.  In this example we will enter: /contact

Once this has been entered click on the Add Redirect button.

WordPress will then add in the redirect, and show it in the redirect lists (as shown in the below example image).

You can now test the redirection by clicking on the old url link in the redirects list, or alternatively open a new tab / page in your web browser and try visiting the old URL.

If you then go back and refresh the Redirection plugin settings page – you should see the Hits column to the right of the redirect has increased to 1 (or equal to however many times the redirect has been used).  Note: If logging has not been enabled then this will not show the hit count

That’s it! your first redirect has been added and is now active.

Handling existing redirections:

If you ever need to edit, delete, temporarily disable or test a redirect, this can be done by hovering over the redirect in the redirects list (within the Redirection settings page), then choose the appropriate option (Marked in red in the below example image).

Final Notes:

The Redirection plugin can be a very powerful and useful tool to use on your WordPress site. In this guide we’ve shown you how to set up your first basic redirect, however the plugin also has various other features such as:

Redirection Import: If you already have a list of redirects to add in to your WordPress site – you can import these directly in to the plugin using the Import / Export option (within the Redirection plugin settings page).  The plugin accepts .htaccess, .csv and .json formatted redirect files. As an example you can quickly create a .csv file on your local machine with all of the redirections – In the first column enter the source URL, in the second column enter the Target URL.  Then import the .csv file and the Redirection plugin will automatically add these all in to its redirection list.

404 Logging: As mentioned during setup, you can enable the logging of redirection hits and 404 page hits. If this option is enabled, and a user hits a page that doesn’t exist on your WordPress site (404 page), then Redirection will log this.  The 404 hits can be found by clicking on the 404s option within the Redirection plugin settings page.  This will then list out all of the 404 pages that site visitors have tried (since Redirection has started logging), as well as how many times that page has been hit. This can be a great tool to help you find out if you’re missing any redirects, or if there’s an issue with a particular page on your site.

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