Javascript Redirect to Another URL: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever been redirected to a different webpage while browsing online?

Chances are, you’ve encountered a JavaScript redirect.

This popular technique is used for many reasons, from automatically taking users to a new URL after a certain amount of time to redirecting from a non-existent page to a valid one.

But what exactly is a JavaScript redirect?

Essentially, it’s a client-side script that instructs your browser to navigate to a different URL.

It’s often used by webmasters to help visitors get to certain pages quickly or to improve SEO by redirecting obsolete or duplicate content to a relevant page and it’s an essential technical SEO element

However, it’s important to note that not all JavaScript redirects are good news.

Malicious actors can use them to redirect unsuspecting users to phishing or malware websites. That’s why it’s crucial to only trust JavaScript redirects from reputable sources, and always be aware of where you’re being redirected to. 

I’ll bring you all to take a closer look at the world of JavaScript redirects, how they work, and some best practices for implementing them on your own website.

So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s jump in! 


What is a Redirect?

Definition

A redirect is a technique used to send users from one webpage to another. There are several reasons why you might want to redirect a user to a different webpage. For example, you may have changed the URL structure of your website, and you want to redirect users from the old URL to the new URL. Or perhaps you want to redirect a user to a specific section of a webpage, such as a particular product, or you simply want to redirect users to a different webpage.

Why Use Redirects?

Redirects can improve the user experience by guiding users to the right webpage quickly and seamlessly. They can also help with SEO by passing link equity from one URL to another, and preventing errors such as “404 Page Not Found”.

The Different Types of Redirects

There are several types of redirects, and the most common types are:

  • 301 Redirect: This type of redirect is a permanent redirect that tells search engines that the old URL has been replaced with a new one. This type of redirect is useful for SEO purposes.
  • 302 Redirect: This type of redirect is a temporary redirect that tells search engines and browsers that the old URL should be temporarily replaced with a new one. This type of redirect is useful when you want to redirect users for a short term or a specific period.

How to Redirect to Another Webpage Using JavaScript?

Using window.location.href

The easiest way to redirect users to a new webpage using JavaScript is by using the window.location.href property. This property sets or returns the complete URL of the current webpage, including the protocol and the domain name.

To redirect users to a new webpage using window.location.href, you need to:

  1. Create a new variable that contains the target URL.
  2. Assign the target URL to the window.location.href property.

Here’s an example code to redirect a user to a new webpage:

var targetUrl = "https://www.example.com";

window.location.href = targetUrl;

Using location.replace

The location.replace() method is similar to window.location.href, but it replaces the current webpage with the new webpage, instead of adding it to the session history. This means that users cannot use the back button to return to the original webpage.

To use location.replace to redirect users to a new webpage, you need to:

  1. Create a new variable that contains the target URL.
  2. Call the location.replace method and pass the target URL as the argument.

Here’s an example code to redirect a user to a new webpage using location.replace:

var targetUrl = "https://www.example.com";

location.replace(targetUrl);

Using location.assign

The location.assign() method works the same way as window.location.href method, but it provides better browser compatibility. It loads the new webpage and adds it to the session history.

To use location.assign to redirect users to a new webpage, you need to:

  1. Create a new variable that contains the target URL.
  2. Call the location.assign method and pass the target URL as the argument.

Here’s an example code to redirect a user to a new webpage using location.assign:

var targetUrl = "https://www.example.com";

location.assign(targetUrl);


What is the Difference Between location.replace and location.assign?

location.replace

The location.replace() method replaces the current webpage with a new webpage, and users cannot use the back button to return to the original webpage.

location.assign

The location.assign() method also loads a new webpage, but it adds the new webpage to the session history, which allows users to use the back button to return to the original webpage.


How to Redirect to a New URL Using JavaScript?

Redirect to a Relative URL

You can also redirect users to a relative URL using JavaScript. A relative URL is a URL that is relative to the current webpage’s URL. For example, if the current webpage’s URL is “https://www.example.com/blog/index.html”, and you want to redirect users to “https://www.example.com/about-us.html”, you can use a relative URL of “about-us.html”.

To redirect users to a relative URL, you need to:

  1. Create a new variable that contains the relative target URL.
  2. Concatenate the relative target URL with the current webpage’s URL using the location.href property.

Here’s an example code to redirect a user to a relative URL:

var relativeUrl = "about-us.html";

location.href = relativeUrl;

Redirect to a Fully Qualified URL

To redirect users to an absolute or fully qualified URL, you can use the same methods used for redirecting to a relative URL, but you need to include the full URL in the new variable instead of the relative URL.


How to Redirect the User from One Page to Another in a Single-Page Application?

Directly Manipulating the session history

In a single-page application, you can use JavaScript to redirect users from one page to another without reloading the entire webpage. You can do this by directly manipulating the session history using the pushState and replaceState methods of the history object.

The pushState method adds a new entry to the session history, which allows users to use the back button to return to the original webpage. The replaceState method replaces the current entry in the session history, which means that users cannot use the back button to return to the original webpage.

Using a Router library

Alternatively, you can use a router library such as React Router or Vue Router to handle page redirection in a single-page application. These libraries allow you to handle page redirection using declarative routing, which makes it easy to manage complex routes and page transitions.

Using the window object

You can also use the window object to redirect users from one page to another in a single-page application. This method is similar to redirecting to a new URL in a traditional webpage, but it only replaces the content of a specific container element instead of reloading the entire webpage.


What Are the Best Practices for Redirects in Web Development?

Do Not Use Refresh or Meta Tags for Redirects

Using the refresh or meta tag to redirect users to a new webpage is not recommended in web development. These methods are slow and not reliable, and they can affect the user experience negatively.

Redirect with HTTPS when Possible

When possible, use HTTPS redirects instead of HTTP redirects. HTTPS redirects are more secure and provide better protection against attacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks.

Test the Redirects

Before deploying any redirects, it’s important to test them thoroughly to ensure that they work as expected. You can test redirects using tools such as Redirect Checker or Redirect Path.

Redirecting users to a new URL is a common task in web development, and it can be done easily using JavaScript.

Whether you want to redirect users to a different webpage, redirect users from an old URL to a new URL, or redirect users to a specific section of a webpage, using JavaScript to redirect users is a simple and effective way to enhance the user experience and improve SEO.

With the techniques and best practices outlined in this guide, you should be able to redirect users to a new URL confidently and efficiently.

Or if you have not looked into your broken links, you really should do a quick audit of your site and fixes all the broken link with a proper redirect.

Joe is passionate about SEO and has been working in the digital space for more than 10 years. Founded JustRank and aim to share his knowledge and passion about search engine optimization. Most love phrase - "David vs Goliath". Connect with me on Linkedin.