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Two Accurate Ways to Verify a 301 Redirect

Any SEO, even a Developer, would know how important 301 redirects are, for any website.

Depending on your need, CMS, Hosting, and Dev situation, implementing 301 redirects can range from extremely easy – to complicated. Plus, putting the 301 redirects in place is one thing; how do you actually verify?

Before we get started, I feel it’s necessary to point out that 301 is an HTTP response code, and is always the response code for the URL that redirected. NOT, the URL you landed on.

Another point to be noted here is that there can be more than 1 redirect for any given URL — with more than 1 HTTP response code per redirect. Not the premise of this post, but figured it’s worth mentioning it. For example, let’s say your beginning URL is http://beginningurl.com, and your final destination is https://www.finalurl.com. Ideally, the 301 redirect would be from your beginning URL directly to your final URL. However, another possibility is the one below:

  1. http://beginningurl.com first redirects to https://beginningurl.com
  2. Then, https://beginningurl.com redirects to https://www.finalurl.com. Essentially, we ended up with 2 redirects.

Hopefully, that gives you an idea of how there can be more than 1 redirect. And now that — that’s out of the picture, let’s discuss how you can verify a 301 redirect.

To keep things simple, we will use the following example.

  • https://www.feedthecuriosity.com (beginning URL; with www)
  • 301 redirects to https://feedthecuriosity.com (final destination; without www)

Method 1: Using a Chrome Extension

Respected by many, and renowned for its accuracy, the “Redirect Path” plugin will serve all your needs to verify HTTP response codes and more. All you have to do is install the extension, activate it, and boom; it’ll start doing its job.

Using my example, I simply plugged in my www URL, and surely enough, the browser redirected. However, the extension also picked up on it. See screenshot below.

showing 301 redirect
This Tool will even pick up on redirect chains, JavaScript redirects, and more. Further, you can individually click on each card — so to speak, to open more details.
partial snapshot of 301 redirect details
Here’s a partial snapshot of some of the details you can get, by individually clicking on a card.

A weird phenomenon I have seen in my SEO years, is that when something redirects, a lot of us assume that it’s a 301. But you won’t know that until you verify a 301 redirect. It could also be a 302, a JavaScript redirect, etc. You have to make sure!

Method 2: Using Chrome’s Inspect Feature

If you’re one of those folks who can’t trust an extension (I hear you), you can always go back to the roots and listen to what your browser is telling you. One super-easy way to do that is via Chrome’s Inspect Feature. Follow the steps below.

Step 1

No matter what page you are on, right, click in on your page, and select, inspect. Alternatively, if you’re on Windows OS, you can press CTRL + SHIFT + I.

Step 2

Once the Inspect Window Pane opens, go to the “Network” tab. Then, in your browser’s address bar, plugin in the URL for which you want to check the 301 redirect for, and hit enter (leave the network tab open).

chrome network tab

Step 3

Once the browser finishes loading up the page, you should see a bunch of information popping for the network tab. You can filter through all of that by scrolling all the way to the top. It’ll likely be a URL.

Select that URL, and under the header tab, you should see the 301 redirect (screenshot below).

chrome network tab showing a 301 redirect
Here, we see a lot of information. The “Request URL” is the URL that generated the request. The status code is for the request URL.

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Conclusion

I know that there are tons of other free resources online that through which, you can verify a 301 redirect, but the quickest, easiest, and accurate methods that I’ve encountered in my SEO experience are these two.

There is 1 more easy method (just needs a few extra steps) that you can use. You can plug-in your desired URL in screaming frog, and check the HTTP response code.

And there you have it, folks! Make sure your 301 redirects, are indeed, 301 redirects!