Want to quickly and easily implement a domain-level 301 redirect within GoDaddy? If so, this post will help you do just that!
I recently needed to implement a 301 redirect with GoDaddy but could not immediately find where or how to do this. After a little research and confirmation, I found the answer.
Why I Use GoDaddy for Domain Registration
I’m a loyal user of GoDaddy when it comes to domain registration. It’s not that they are particularly amazing, but more just that I’ve been using them for many years and I’m too stubborn to look elsewhere! That said, GoDaddy did recently surprise me when I was trying to secure an expiring domain that is another version (spelled out vs. abbreviation) of a domain I use with one of my niche websites.
The domain that GoDaddy successfully backordered for me has a couple of links pointing to it, so I wanted to implement a 301 (permanent) redirect in order to tell both users and search engines that which is the “main” domain for this website.
Simple (Domain-Level) vs. Complicated (Page-Level, Rule-Based) 301 Redirects
Typically when I do 301 redirects its for a reasonably-well-established website or domain, and so I like to get all particular about redirecting specific URLs on a one-by-one basis. Sometimes if I’m merging two websites together, it also involves merging content and thus I might have dozens or even hundreds of full URL path redirects to set up.
But sometimes its much more simple than that. In this case, I just wanted to do a top-level redirect of longerdomain.com to shortdomain.com and that’s it. I didn’t need to individually map up each page on the old domain to the new one.
Quick Domain-Level 301 Redirects with GoDaddy (How-To)
Fortunately, a simple domain-level 301 redirect like this can be done in about 30 seconds within the GoDaddy interface. There is no need to create or edit .htaccess files. No need to have a dedicated hosting account for the old domain, or mess about with any code.
Instead, you just want to find the “Forwarding” section within GoDaddy’s domain manager too. Instead of calling it “Redirects” or something like that, GoDaddy likes to call this process “Forwarding”. Here are the steps:
- Go to Domains > My Domains and click on the domain you want to redirect to enter the “Domain Settings” page.
- Click “Manage DNS” under the Additional Settings section.
- Scroll down to the Forwarding section and click “Add Forwarding”
- Select http:// or https:// and enter in the domain you want to forward to (double check www vs. non-www)
- Select “Permanent (301)”
- Click Save. Done!
How long does it take for the GoDaddy 301 Redirect to become active?
GoDaddy will then tell you that it might take 48 hours for the change to propagate and the 301 redirect to start working. In my experience its much quicker than that as in this example you are already using GoDaddy’s nameservers. I’ve seen these work immediately – or at least within the 5 or so minutes from when I clicked submit to when I checked.
Pro Tips: Implementing domain-wide 301 Redirects via GoDaddy
Here’s a couple of PRO TIPS while we’re at it:
- Make sure you redirect to the final URL version of the destination site. For example, if your main domain (that you are keeping as the primary) is www.shortdomain.com then you should implement the redirect as longerdomain.com to www.shortdomain.com and not longerdomain.com to shortdomain.com (without the www.). This is important even if it “still works” because your site automatically has another 301 redirect in place for the non-www version to the www version. Basically the idea here is that you want to avoid a daisy chain of multiple directs and just have any redirect you create point directly to the end/final version of the URL that you are using. Why? Two reasons. First, you can looks some “link juice” each time you do a 301 redirect, so multiple redirects means more link juice leakage. Second, if then you have a technical issue and are trying to troubleshoot, its just harder and more confusing to pinpoint the issue.
- With the above said, GoDaddy will automatically create a 301 for both www.longerdomain.com and longerdomain.com (non-www) with one record. So while you need to be picky about the target destination, you can just create one entry for the redirecting domain that will work for both versions. I’ve not tested this with https vs. http though.
- This only works when using GoDaddy’s nameservers. If you add domain forwarding while using external nameservers, then GoDaddy will automatically change the nameservers to theirs. This may break any other DNS settings you might (email, text records, etc.) have so you’ll want to check that first or get someone else involved if appropriate.
- Make sure to test your redirects! Once you’ve created the redirect, you should test it out. Firstly, test it in your web browser. Secondly, use a 301 header check tool to make sure you get a 301 header response code on the first hit (the domain being redirected), and then a 200 header response code on the resulting page (the domain you are redirecting to).
There you have it – a quick and simple way to implement domain-level 301 redirects within GoDaddy. Just look for the “forwarding” option!