When maintaining your website, you’ll come across a variety of status codes. Today, we’re going to dive into what a 302 redirect code is and when you should use one. Though, for the most part, 302s are those which you want to avoid if at all possible.
Before delving into the 302 status code properly, let’s talk a bit about HTTP protocol in general.
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) Status Codes
The internet is made of 2 core themes, web clients and servers.
Web clients are your browser, which could be platforms like Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. The point is that you usually access the internet using any of these clients.
Usually, whenever you request a website, you are accessing data from a web server. You make your request and the server responds. This is what happens every single time you view any content online.
You make this request using the HTTP protocol. Protocols are languages that everyone on the internet agrees to use for simplicity. A client requests the server, and status codes let us know whether the request was a success, a failure, or something in between.
HTTP codes are of various forms:
- 1xx: informational requests
- 2xx: successful requests
- 3xx: redirects/ redirection
- 4xx: client errors
- 5xx: server errors
The 3xx are for redirects. This is when an address was requested, but you were sent somewhere else.
For example, let’s say you want to visit https://www.someoneswebsite.com and you wind up viewing https://www.adifferentwebsite.com. This is usually the result of a redirect.
This happens a lot when web developers change the slugs or URLs of posts and pages. Though, usually, these are 301 redirects, which tells search engines the move is permanent.
301 vs 302 redirects
A 301 is a permanent redirect. An example of this is if you apply a 301 redirect to a site “abc.com” to redirect to “xyz.com” permanently. Thus every time someone visits abc.com, they are redirected to xyz.com.
Also, a 301 redirect helps tell Google that you have changed URLs.
All existing ranking moves from the old URL to the new site. This is a permanent move, more like changing addresses and having your mail forwarded to your new address. It might take some time for everyone to catch up, but eventually, they do.
A 302 redirect, as said before, is temporary. This means you plan on moving back to the old site in the near future.
Also, 301 redirects pass “link juice,” whereas 302 redirects do not.
Why is this so important?
Link juice is a search engine ranking factor based on the theory that particular links convey value and authority from one page to the next. It’s a method to see how people are talking about your content, website, and brand.
It is a fantastic method to raise brand awareness, build your reputation, and promote yourself as a reference in your field.
Search engine optimization can suffer as a result of 302 not passing this link juice.
What About Meta Refresh?
Meta refresh is another form of redirect often compared to 301 and 302.
A Meta refresh redirect is a client-side redirect. Unlike 301 and 302 redirects that happen on the web server, it informs the web browser to navigate to a different web page after a certain amount of time has passed.
A five-second countdown with the text “If you are not redirected in five seconds click here” is most usually linked with meta-refresh redirection.
In many circumstances, utilizing a meta refresh redirect can result in confusing your users, they are more vulnerable to spammers, and they also do not pass any link juice. This is bad for many reasons.
What is HTTP 302 status code?
A 302 Found message is an HTTP response status code that indicates that the requested resource has been relocated to a new URL temporarily.
The web server is frequently the cause of it, unlike client error replies found in the 4xx codes, such as the 404 Not Found Error. This can be caused by either a client-side or server-side issue and the user experience is unaffected because the redirect occurs automatically.
Although a browser redirects to this page, search engines do not update their links to the resource (the “link-juice” is not transmitted to the new URL in “SEO-speak”).
A client that receives a 302 Found response code should continue to utilize the original URL for subsequent queries because the location or current redirection directive may be altered.
For instance, what if you’re visiting a clothing website in the United States while you are located in Germany? A 302 redirect would send you to the German version of the site to ensure that currency and other contents are displayed according to your location.
When can you use the 302 status code?
Mostly, rather than being an error, an HTTP 302 response is intended for redirection. Some of the most typical reasons for using a 302 redirect include:
- Redesigning a page — While the other page is being built, you can redirect users to a temporary location.
- Performing A/B testing or site maintenance – Want to put a new page to the test and get feedback on how it performs? You can do this without harming your ranking by using a 302 redirect.
- Promoting a product – You can use a temporary redirect for a page that ordinarily contains other information to drive users to a specific offer.
- A product is sold out — If a product is sold out or temporarily unavailable, consumers can be redirected to a comparable page until it is restocked.
- If the content is broken and you would like traffic redirected to another page
- When you want to collect some data
How to use 302 on your WordPress website
First, log in to your hosting account and open cPanel. Navigate to the domains and select redirect.
On the redirect settings, you select the redirect type with a dropdown box. In this case, it is temporary (302). Select the domain in question, enter the address you wish to redirect to, and then select add.
With this, your redirect has been added.
To remove this redirect, go to the link of redirects, click on delete and then click on remove redirect.
You can also redirect within a website. For instance, you can redirect people from the about us page to the contact us page.
The steps are similar to the above with some changes. After selecting the domain in the box just below, which you left empty previously, enter you’re about us page name as your directory. For the redirection address, select the contact us page name. Add, and then your redirection has been added.
Doing the redirect yourself doesn’t come highly recommended unless you are a highly technical individual. You can make mistakes with your redirects.
One significant implication of this is that you lose traffic to your site. When corrections are made, if you’re lucky, you may get up to 90% of where you were, and even this would take some time.
Why does error 302 occur?
The 302 codes are not usually error messages and don’t usually require fixing. It is only an error if your website is responding with 302 codes that it shouldn’t, and when it responds with a redirect loop, such as ERR TOO MANY REDIRECTS.
Though, 302 codes may be issued inadvertently if something on your website is configured incorrectly. If this occurs, you may encounter issues like when a page on your website unintentionally sends visitors somewhere else.
From Google Chrome, the ERR TOO MANY REDIRECTS error appears like this:
This issue can be the result of a configuration error, a plugin conflict, wrong URL settings, or a misconfigured .htaccess file.
How to fix the HTTP 302 error on your WordPress website
The very first thing you need to do is make sure to perform a complete backup of your website. That way, if anything goes wrong, you can always revert to the previous version.
A WordPress backup plugin comes in handy here. BlogVault WordPress backup, UpdraftPlus, JetPack backups, and WP Time capsule are a few of the best you can use.
To fix HTTP 302 error:
1. Check to see if the redirects are valid
Double-check to see which URLs are causing the 302 error and assess whether the redirect is necessary. To do so, go to the pages on your website that you believe are causing the 302 error and examine if they are functioning as expected.
It is correctly configured if a temporarily unavailable page redirects to the correct resource.
If, on the other hand, a website sends you to the incorrect resource or your browser detects a redirect loop by displaying an ERR TOO MANY REDIRECTS error page, it is a sign that one (or more) of your redirects isn’t configured correctly.
2. Clear browser cookies and cache
Cookies on your web browser are also a common cause of the problem. Using a different web browser, such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, Microsoft Edge, or others, try browsing your website.
If you can visit your website normally using a different browser, you’ll need to erase your regular browser’s cookies and cache.
If changing the browser does not resolve the problem, proceed to the following step.
3. Deactivate all WordPress plugins
A plugin issue is the most prevalent cause of WordPress redirect loops or “Too many redirects.” This error is caused by a plugin attempting to set up a redirect in a way that clashes with basic WordPress redirects.
You must disable all WordPress plugins on your website to remedy this. Normally, you may deactivate plugins by going to the Plugins » All Plugins page in the WordPress admin area.
However, let’s assume that you are unable to enter the WordPress admin area.
Simply use an FTP client to connect to your website and navigate to the /wp-content/ folder.
You’ll find the plugins folder there, which you’ll need to rename to “plugins.deactivate” to disable the WordPress plugins.
To load the plugin files, WordPress looks for a folder called plugins. When it can’t find the folder, it disables the database’s active plugins automatically.
You can now go to your WordPress website and look around. If you can now log into your WordPress admin area, one of the plugins was likely the source of the problem.
Switch back to the FTP client or File Manager program and rename your plugins to figure out which one was the cause.
Rename the folder to “plugins” and disable it.
After that, go to the Plugins > All Plugins page in the WordPress admin area of your website. You can then activate your plugins one by one and visit your website to see whether the error can be reproduced.
Once you’ve identified the plugin that’s causing the issue, you can either find a replacement or file a bug report.
4. Fix WordPress URLs
The URLs in the WordPress Address and Site Address fields must be the same for most websites. Some users, however, may use www in one URL and non-www in the other.
These two must be the same.
5. Reset the WordPress .htaccess file
The .htaccess file is a unique file that website servers use to control redirection and other server settings. This file is also used by WordPress to create SEO-friendly URLs and other redirects.
A misconfiguration in the WordPress URL settings is another main cause of this problem. Normally, these choices can be found on the Settings » General page.
WordPress plugins might sometimes make changes to your website’s .htaccess file, resulting in this error. It’s also possible that deactivating a plugin will leave such modifications in your .htaccess file.
6. Speak to your web host
If the above suggestions don’t fix the problem, you’ll need to contact your WordPress hosting company to make sure it’s not a server problem.
If there is nothing wrong with the server, perhaps the tech support of your web host can help you troubleshoot a bit further.
The status 302 code redirects your site to another address temporarily. It is not always an error message. But in general, using a 302 redirect is not a good idea.
The very few situations where you would want to use a 302 redirect may not be worth the disadvantages. You may want to implement the 301 redirects instead.