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Domain Forwarding and Redirects: A Comprehensive Guide

Aleksandra Vukovic
May 2, 2024 • 4 min read

If you've ever considered moving your website to a new domain or consolidating multiple domains into a single website, you've probably encountered domain forwarding. Domain forwarding automatically moves visitors from one domain to another, ensuring that when they enter one domain name, the transition is seamless. This is particularly useful if you've purchased a new domain for marketing purposes but still wish to retain traffic on an existing one.

In the digital world, effectively managing website traffic is crucial for maintaining brand continuity, enhancing user experience, and optimizing search engine visibility. Because of this, domain redirection is an important tool when trying to achieve these objectives. This article will guide you through the essentials of domain forwarding, covering the fundamentals, implementation details, and implications for SEO to provide a thorough understanding of this crucial aspect of website management.


What is Domain Forwarding?

Domain Forwarding, or URL forwarding, is how a web domain automatically directs visitors to a different URL. This process enables you to associate multiple domain names with a single web page or to direct users to a different website. For example, suppose you own both and, but your goal is to direct all traffic to your website. Implementing domain forwarding on towards ensures that all traffic is pushed towards that domain, guiding your audience to the intended destination.


Types of Domain Forwarding

There are two types of domain forwarding, and while the differences don't seem to be big, they can be significant and can affect your website's ranking. There are two types of forwarding:

  • Domain forwarding without masking: When your visitors type your redirected domain name in the search bar, it takes them to your desired address, which is shown in the search bar. So, if they type and you want to redirect them to, the browser will display Visitors can clearly see the location they were redirected to. 
  • Domain forwarding with masking or stealth forwarding: This method involves redirecting visitors to a new website without changing the URL displayed in their browser. For instance, if a visitor types, they are redirected to, but the original URL,, remains visible in the address bar. This process can lead to confusion as users are unaware they have been redirected to a different site. From an SEO perspective, stealth forwarding can be problematic because Google may view it as duplicate content and penalize your site. Additionally, stealth forwarding prevents users from seeing the site's sub-directory structure or bookmarking specific pages, which can significantly hinder user interaction and engagement. Therefore, despite its potential usefulness in keeping the original URL visible for marketing purposes, this method is generally not recommended due to its limitations and the possible negative impact on user experience and SEO.

To wrap up, in forwarding without masking, the new (entered) URL won't be displayed in the address bar, but in forwarding with masking, the entered URL will be displayed in the address bar. Understanding these redirects helps marketers make informed decisions about redirecting traffic in a way that best serves their strategic needs.


Types of Redirects

It's important to note that, although they may seem similar to those unfamiliar, 'forward' and 'redirect' mean different things to a web application developer. A 'forward' changes URLs on the server side without the browser being aware, whereas a 'redirect' instructs the browser to retrieve a new URL.

These two types of redirects are the most common:

  • 301 Redirect: This is a permanent redirect from one domain to another. If you have a web address you no longer use but want to keep the traffic from it, or there are other reasons you would like to redirect one domain to another, 301 redirect is considered to be the best practice. It signals to Google that the redirect is permanent and passes on link equity from backlinks generated to a new domain. The search ranking of the old domain is transferred to another domain, and this type of redirect is beneficial for SEO.
  • 302 Redirect: This redirect signals Google that the source URL has been temporarily moved to a new location. From SEO's perspective, this is a less suitable option because it doesn't pass the same link equity to the new location. It is more because it says the old domain will eventually return to the same location. However, it can be helpful for temporary content changes or when a site is under maintenance.


How Domain Forwarding and Redirect Influences SEO?

One of the most common questions regarding domain redirects is - does domain forwarding affect SEO?. When implemented correctly, domain redirects can maintain or enhance your site's SEO performance, though the impact largely depends on the implementation method. As previously explained, a 301 redirect method indicates a permanent move and instructs search engines to treat the redirect as a continuation of the original domain, preserving link equity. This is generally beneficial for maintaining the rankings of forwarded domains. Conversely, stealth forwarding can cause SEO issues, such as loss of rankings or search engine penalties.

It is crucial to monitor your website's traffic and rankings closely. Observing how redirects influence your site's traffic and search engine rankings will help you adjust your strategies as necessary to optimize both.


How do I forward one domain to another?

Setting up domain forwarding is typically easy to set up:

  1. Access Your Domain Control Panel: Log into the control panel at your domain registrar or hosting provider.
  2. Navigate to DNS Settings: Look for domain forwarding options in a specific section dedicated to forwarding.
  3. Set Up the Forward or Redirect: Based on your specific requirements, decide whether you need a 301 or 302 redirect and input the target URL.

While many domain registrars offer straightforward, user-friendly interfaces for setting up forwarding, some scenarios might require manual intervention (such as redirecting one page on your website to another), especially if you manage complex redirect patterns. This commonly includes utilizing a .htaccess file, which can be used to point old pages to new ones. This requires some technical knowledge, and is recommended consult a web developer to ensure a redirect is implemented properly.


Should I Forward My Domain?

When used correctly, domain forwarding can be a strategic tool for your online branding. It is an effective option for maintaining brand consistency across multiple domain names, migrating to a new domain without losing SEO traction, or simplifying user access to specific parts of your site. Domain forwarding is also essential for facilitating smooth website transitions, such as during rebranding or relocation.

If you plan to start a marketing campaign and need a domain name for it but also want to direct traffic to your main site, domain forwarding is ideal. For such purposes, you will likely use memorable URLs that can guide users to specific pages.

With the increasing popularity of some Top-Level Domains (TLDs), securing those that align with your brand is important to prevent others from registering them. Additionally, consider registering common misspellings of your brand name or frequent typos from visitors entering your web address in the browser. Securing these domains is crucial to protecting your brand and effectively preventing domain squatting.



Domain forwarding and redirects are more than just technical SEO tasks; they are parts of an online marketing strategy that, when thoughtfully implemented, can significantly enhance user experience and impact your website’s ranking. Understanding and effectively managing domain redirects is key to establishing a successful online presence for small business owners and digital marketers.

Aleksandra Vukovic
Content Marketing Associate

Comments (2)
Jun 5, 2024 2:23am
Amazing Artical! Domain forwarding and redirects ensure users reach the right web page when URLs change. They improve SEO by preserving link equity and enhance user experience by preventing dead links. This guide covers types like 301 and 302 redirects and best practices for implementation.
1 Reply
Jun 5, 2024 3:39am
Thank you for your kind words! We're glad you found the article helpful. Domain forwarding and redirects are important in maintaining a seamless user experience and boosting SEO efforts. By ensuring that users are directed to the correct web page, we can avoid the pitfalls of broken links and preserve the valuable link equity that contributes to search engine rankings. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. We're here to help!
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