Have you ever been browsing the internet and received a 404 error?
In this tutorial, you’ll learn why you received that error and how to ensure visitors to your website never receive that error.
A 404 error simply means that the page once existed, but now the URL is different or the page or post doesn’t exist at all.
Examples that could create this situation include:
- Deletion of an old blog post or page
- Someone updated the URL, but the old one is still known by search engines or stored by site users for future use
- Retirement of a product
- Launch of a new website with different URLs
There are a lot of reasons, but the bottom line is that 404 errors create a poor user experience for your site’s visitors and also negatively impact your search engine rankings for that page and its keywords.
You can avoid this negative experience by employing a redirect tool. It’s simple to use and once the rules are set, you never have to worry about them again.
Using Safe Redirect Manager
Step 1: Activate Safe Redirect Manager
Navigate to Plugins in your admin area and ensure Safe Redirect Manager is activated.
(For non-Evermore users: you’ll want to follow the installation instructions instead.)
Step 2: Open Safe Redirect Manager
Navigate to Tools > Safe Redirect Manager. You’ll then see a screen that looks like this:
Note that there are no redirects set up yet.
For comparison, here is a screenshot of a site with already redirects in place, along with key elements.
Notice that there is a Redirect From (old URL), a Redirect To (new URL), and a HTTP Status Code. This means that if someone goes to the old URL, they are automatically redirected to the new URL. The HTTP Status Code of 301 lets search engines know that this is a permanent redirect.
Step 3: Add Redirects
At the top of the redirect page, select Create Redirect Rule.
You’ll see a page that looks like this:
Copy and paste the old URL into the “Redirect From” section. Ignore “Enable Regular Expressions” if you don’t know what this is.
Next, copy and paste the new URL into the “Redirect To” section.
You’re then asked to select an HTTP Status Code. There are six options:
- 301 Moved Permanently
- 302 Found
- 303 See other
- 307 Temporary Redirect
- 403 Forbidden
- 404 Not Found
Choose the one that best suits you. If you’re unsure, leave it as “301 Moved Permanently”.
Step 4: Publish
Once you have this information filled out, remember to select Publish.
Step 5: Test
Now that you’ve done your first redirect, test to make sure it is working by opening up your internet browser and entering in the old URL to ensure your browser automatically opens up the new URL. If so, congratulations, you’re done and ready to add the rest of the redirects.