What is a Redirect?

URL redirect is a web server function that sends a user from one URL to another. Its commonly take the form of an automated  that uses one of a series of status codes defined within the HTTP protocol.

There are several types of redirects available to Web developers, including manual redirects, HTTP 3xx series status codes, server-side scripts, JavaScript, frame redirects and meta tag refreshes.

A URL redirect may also be known as an HTTP code 3xx redirect, URL forwarding, domain redirection and domain forwarding.


Web users may be forward from one URL to another for a variety of reasons, including:


It can also be used for nefarious activities such as phishing or other attempts to cause problems for users and their computers. Redirects have also been used to subvert the results of search engine queries, but most search engines are now able to detect such attempts.

HTTP Protocol

The various HTTP protocol 3xx series codes are the most common way to forward a Web page and are embedded in the HTML of the page. Members of this series have the following attributes:

  • 300 offers multiple  choices. For example, alternative languages can be selected.
  • 301 is when a site is moved permanently, such as when a business’s name changes.
  • 302 is for an unspecified .
  • 303 displays or acts on the results of common gateway interface (CGI) scripts
  • 307 is used for temporary, such as when a site is being redesigned.

New Web Domain

When a website visitor is forward to a newly named website domain, the website address acquires a new URL. Businesses often transform their website’s original home page into a redirect page with a concurrent message briefly describing the redirect. Behind the scenes, a meta refresh tag is embedded into the website’s source code. Without a redirect, regular website visitors would receive a “404 – Not Found” error message.

Redirection can take place via a redirection service that operates through software to bring shorter link names to users. Permalinks are a type of redirection service.


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