What is the difference between HTTP 301 vs 302

Understanding the Difference: HTTP 301 vs 302 Redirects

When it comes to website management, understanding the nuances of HTTP status codes, particularly the difference between HTTP 301 and HTTP 302 redirects, is crucial for maintaining SEO rankings and providing a seamless user experience. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of HTTP 301 vs 302 redirects, their impact on SEO, and address some frequently asked questions regarding their use.

What is an HTTP Redirect?

An HTTP redirect is a way for webmasters to send users from one URL to another. This is necessary when a page has been moved, when content has been merged, or when a website has been restructured. Redirects ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page.

HTTP 301 vs 302: The Key Differences

The primary difference between an HTTP 301 and an HTTP 302 redirect lies in the nature of the move and how search engines interpret it.

HTTP 301 Redirect: Permanent Move

An HTTP 301 redirect indicates that a page has been moved permanently. This is the method to use when you have replaced or moved content to a new URL and you want search engines to pass along the ranking power from the old URL to the new one. It tells search engines that the old page should be removed from their index and replaced with the new page in search results.

HTTP 302 Redirect: Temporary Move

Conversely, an HTTP 302 redirect signifies a temporary move. This should be used when a page is temporarily unavailable or when content is being A/B tested. It informs search engines that the original URL should remain indexed and that the redirect may not be in place for long.

SEO Implications

The choice between using an HTTP 301 vs 302 redirect can have significant implications for your website’s SEO:

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– Using an HTTP 301 redirect will transfer most of the link equity (ranking power) to the new URL.
– An HTTP 302 redirect will not pass on the same level of link equity, as search engines consider the move temporary.

Frequently Asked Questions about HTTP 301 vs 302:

Q1: When should I use an HTTP 301 redirect?
A1: Use an HTTP 301 redirect when you have permanently moved or replaced a page and you want the new page to rank in place of the old one.

Q2: Can an HTTP 302 redirect affect my SEO?
A2: Yes, if used incorrectly. If a page has been permanently moved and a 302 is used instead of a 301, search engines might continue to index the old URL, and the new page may not inherit the ranking benefits.

Q3: How do I implement an HTTP 301 or HTTP 302 redirect?
A3: Redirects can be implemented in several ways, including using .htaccess on Apache servers, using plugins or built-in tools in content management systems, or through server configuration on other web servers.

Q4: Can I switch from an HTTP 302 to a 301 if I decide to make a temporary move permanent?
A4: Yes, if a temporary redirect has been in place but the change needs to become permanent, you can update the redirect to a 301 to inform search engines of the change.


Understanding the difference between HTTP 301 vs 302 redirects is essential for website management and SEO. Choosing the correct type of redirect ensures that users are directed to the right content and that search engines understand how to properly index your pages. Always consider the permanence of your URL changes when deciding between an HTTP 301 and HTTP 302 redirect to maintain your site’s SEO integrity.

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