What Is a 308 Redirect? Is It Better Than a 301?

While there are five types of redirects you can use when diverting traffic from one URL to another, most people are familiar with two: 301 redirects and 302 redirects

The 307 and the 308 redirects are similar to the 302 and 301 respectively. There are however some important differences to note. 

Here’s what you need to know about the 308 redirect and how it compares to the standard and more familiar 301. 

What Is a 308 Redirect?

A 308 redirect is a permanent redirect, and as such will be treated much like a 301. It’s job is to tell the browser and the search engine that a URL has been permanently moved to a new address. It was established in 2015, as a means to bridge the gaps left behind by the 301 and 302 redirects. 

The 308 redirect allows you to specify either a POST or a GET request on the target. This is not possible with a 301 redirect. The request method will not be changed from a POST to a GET with a 308, while it can change with a 301. 

What on earth is a POST and a GET though?

The simplest way to explain it is this: GET requests will retrieve data from a server and will not modify its state. On the other hand, POST requests send data to a server for processing and can also modify its state. 

What Is The Difference Between a 308 and a 301 Redirect?

Both the 308 and 301 are permanent redirects. However, when a 308 redirect is used, the client must repeat the same type of request (either POST or GET) on the target location. 

This is not true with a 301 redirect, where the client does not have to follow the same type of request. 

What Is The Difference Between a 308 and a 307 Redirect?

The main difference between a 308 and a 307 redirect is that a 308 is permanent, while the 307 is temporary. It’s quite similar to the difference between the 301 and the 302 redirects. 

Similarly to the 308, the 307 has to follow the same type of request at the target. If it’s been set as POST, a POST it has to remain. 

What Is The Difference Between a 308 and a 302 Redirect?

A 308 redirect is permanent, while a 302 is temporary. While with a 308, the type of request that has been set needs to be repeated on the target location, this is not true with a 302. 

You can think of the 301 and the 302 as two halves of the same coin, and the 307 and the 308 as two halves of a different coin. The difference is in the POST vs. GET setup. 

When Should You Use a 308 Redirect?

As the 308 is slightly more sophisticated than the 301, there are some considerations to take into account before implementing it: 

  • Older browsers won’t understand a 308 redirect, so you should only implement it when you are certain your users use modern browsers that will be able to handle it. Here is a list of the browser versions that support 308s. 
  • You understand the difference between POST and GET and know exactly which option you need. 
  • You want to have more control over your redirects. 
  • You are certain you know how to set it up and troubleshoot it if the need should arise. 

Is a 308 or a 301 Redirect Better For SEO?

It’s better to use a 301 redirect than a 308 for SEO purposes, as it is understood by both search engines and browsers better. You are not risking any confusion with a 301, as long as it has been correctly implemented and you have avoided any long redirect chains or redirect loops

There is a slight risk with the 308 that it may not be understood by a browser or another client, so it’s best to avoid it from a purely SEO perspective, unless you are very versed in the server side of redirection. 

If you are wondering what Google’s take is on the 301 vs. 308 debate, their own John Mueller has stated this:

john mueller tweet on 308s
However, there’s also this statement to consider:

john mueller tweet on 308 vs 301 redirect
In short, try to use the 301 as your default permanent redirect, and only use the 308 if you need advanced capabilities and understand what the expected result will be. 

Should You Fix a 308 Redirect? 

You don’t need to fix a 308 redirect, as there is nothing wrong with it. There is no rule saying that you should prefer 301s over 308s, as long as they are working as intended. 

The only case when you do need to troubleshoot a 308 redirect is when it’s misbehaving. Perhaps you have discovered your website visitors are using older browsers and the redirects aren’t working for them? Perhaps you have come across another redirect-associated issue? If this is the case, a redirect audit is in order, whether you are using 301s and 302s or 307s and 308s. 

Link Whisper can come in handy here, as it’s able to keep track of your broken links for you. It can also show you all of your internal links and help you figure out where your problematic redirect links are linked. 

How To Create a 308 Redirect? 

The simplest way to create a 308 redirect is to use a plugin. The Redirection plugin is a good choice, as it lets you select the type of redirect you want to add, and it’s fairly simple to use. 

screenshot of redirection plugin

When creating a 308, make sure you are not also inadvertently creating a loop or a redirect chain. Test the destination page out and see that it hasn’t been redirected somewhere already. 

The Final Verdict on 308 Redirects 

The 308 redirect is quite similar to the 301 permanent redirect, but is slightly more sophisticated. You don’t need to worry about using it instead of the 301. If you do decide to implement a 308, make sure you understand the difference between POST and GET requests first. 

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