Creating 301 Redirects on WashU Sites

If you’ve moved pages from their original locations on your former website or replaced any old pages with pages that have different URLs on your new website, you will need to set up 301 (permanent) redirects. Redirects sit on the server in the old location; when a user enters an old URL, the user is seamlessly forwarded to the new location. When you set up redirects for all your old URLs, you prevent any links to your site from becoming broken when your new site replaces your old site. If your site is not hosted on WashU Sites, you can create your redirects in the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

Creating 301 Redirects

  1. It’s often easiest if you start by making a spreadsheet. In the first column, list the page name; in the second column, list the corresponding URL from the old site; and in the the third, list the URL for that page on the new site. If a page has been deleted, list the page on the new site to which the user should be directed. Download a sample spreadsheet (XLS). Note: If you’re redirecting to the home page, make sure you include the site url. If you only use “/,” the user will be directed to http://sites.wustl.edu.
  2. After you have filled out the first three columns, go through the spreadsheet row by row, comparing each old URL to its corresponding new URL. In the fourth column, mark any rows with different URLs. These will need to be redirected.
  3. Open the dashboard for your site and go to Plugins.
  4. Find the plugin called Safe Redirect Manager and click Activate.
    Screengrab of activating the Safe Redirect Manager plugin
  5. Open the dashboard for your site and go to Tools > Safe Redirect Manager.
  6. Referring to the rows marked for redirects in the completed spreadsheet, copy the URL from the second column (the old URL) in the spreadsheet and paste it into the Redirect From field in the 301 redirect list. Note: Do not copy the root URL; only copy everything that appears after your site name.
  7. Copy the URL from the third column (the new URL) in the spreadsheet and paste it under the Redirect To field in the 301 redirects list.
  8. From the HTTP Status Code drop-down, select 301 redirect.
  9. Click Publish.
    Screengrab of steps for adding redirects to WashU Sites
  10. Repeat steps six through nine until all of the URLs have been entered.