Tarun Gupta

302 Status Code: Meaning, Use Cases, and Best Practices

Tarun Gupta | Apr 9th, 2023 | Web Development Resources
302 status code

What is the 302 status code?

A 302 status code is an HTTP response status code. The code implies that the resource that a user has requested has been moved to a different location temporarily. The status indicates that the desired resource has been moved to a different URL. In the response string, it is included as a "Location" header.

When the server throws a 302 status code, the is required to send a new request to the new URL to retrieve the resource. This status code is used by webmasters for redirecting users to a different page or allowing temporary redirects during website maintenance or updates.

What are HTTP Status Codes?

HTTP status codes are indicated by a three-digit number. Web servers return the status when a client sends a request to the server. These codes reflect the status of the request to show whether the request was successful or not. It also explains the reason why the request was rejected.

Types of Status Codes

Currently, there are five HTTPS status codes available showing a unique kind of response.

  1. Informational (1xx)

The informational status code starts with 1. The web server returns the code to indicate that the server has received the request and is continuing to process it. After completing the request, the server responds to the request.

  1. Success (2xx)

The Success status code begins with 2.  The codes indicate that the server has processed the requests successfully without any error. The most common success code is 200 OK. It shows that the request has been processed successfully.

  1. Redirection (3xx)

A web server returns the redirection request code to indicate that the client needs to take additional action to complete the request. The action might include redirecting to a different URL or making a new request to a different server.

  1. Client Error (4xx)

A web server returns the 4xx status codes when there is an error with the client's request, such as an invalid URL or missing authentication credentials. 404 Not Found and 401 Unauthorized are the primary examples of this request code.

  1. Server Error (5xx)

These status codes indicate that an error has happened while processing the request on the server side. The 500 Internal Server Error and 503 Service Unavailable are examples of 5xx server errors.

Importance of status codes for website performance

Status codes are crucial for website performance as they indicate the status of possible communication between the client and server. A web server responds to a client request with the status codes to tell whether the request was successful or not.

HTTP status codes have a significant impact on the website performance. A 404 Not Found error suggests that the user will be unable to access the requested page. It turns out to be a bad user experience.

By using appropriate status codes, you can help users understand what's happening with their requests with a suggestion to them for appropriate action. Some of the most common requests that return the result of a possible client-server communication are:

1. 200 OK

Returns when the request was successful, and the server is returning the requested data.

2. 404 Not Found

Returns when the server is unable to find the requested resource or web page.

3. 500 Internal Server Error

Returns when there was an error on the server side.

Differences between 302 and 301 status codes

Both the status codes (response codes) are HTTP response codes that indicate that a requested resource is redirected from one URL to another. The difference lies between the status codes is the way they handle the redirect.

  1. 301 Moved Permanently:

A web server returns this status code in response to a user request when the original URL has permanently moved to a new location. The browser and search engines then update this change for future references and start using the new URL for all future requests. Once a URL is moved permanently, any links to the old URL will now point to the new URL.

  1. 302 Found (or Moved Temporarily)

Unlike status code 301, 302 communicates to browsers that the original URL has temporarily moved to a new location. Since the redirection is temporary, the browser and search engines will continue to use the original URL for future requests without updating the old URLs with a new one.

When to use a 302 status code?

There are different situations and scenarios when webmasters use the 302 status code. Let’s explore them one by one.

  1. For indicating Temporary URL changes

You can use status code 302 to indicate to users, search engines, and browsers that your website has temporarily moved a page to a new URL (e.g., for maintenance or updates), it can use a 302 status code to redirect users to the new URL.

  1. A/B testing:

In case you are conducting A/B testing on two different versions of a page, you can assign a 302 status code to let users distinguish between the two versions.

  1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketers use this status code when they redirect users to a partner website as part of an affiliate marketing program. They utilize a 302 status code to track clicks and ensure that the user returns to the original website after visiting the partner website.

  1. URL aliases

Websites that use a shortened or simplified version of the URL) may use a 302 status code to redirect users from the shortened URL to the actual URL

Best practices for using 302 status codes

You must practice great caution while using the 302 status code to avoid any damage to the website's performance and search prominence.

The status code is for contemplating temporary redirects. In no case, it should be used for permanent redirects. You can use the 301 status code for permanent redirects.

Interestingly, it’s always a better choice to avoid 302 redirects. You can try other ways to replace this method. This is because using this status code may add unnecessary overhead to the request/response cycle.

While using this status code, attach a descriptive redirect message to tell users why the redirect is happening and where the user is being redirected to.

Common mistakes to avoid when using 302 status codes:

Most webmasters commit mistakes while using the feature. To get the best out of using the 302 status code, you should be avoided them to ensure proper functionality and user experience:

Don’t use the 302 code for permanent redirects

This status code is meant for doing temporary redirects for a stipulated period. If you mistakenly use 302 for permanent redirects, search engines might index both the old and new URLs. It will lead to severe duplicate content issues.

Update internal links

While using temporary redirects, it’s also important to update internal links on the website to point to the new URL. Failing to do so might lead to broken links and poor user experience.

Not setting an expiration date:

While adding a temporary redirect, you must include an expiration date. The purpose of the expiration date is to tell search engines when the redirect is no longer in effect. In case you miss doing this, search engines will continue indexing the old URL


Both webmasters and developers need to use the 302 status code with caution to ensure a smooth browsing experience. By using this status code wisely, you can prevent confusion for users who may have arrived on an outdated or incorrect page. Moreover, incorrect use of 302 redirects can lead to negative consequences such as decreased page ranking and user trust.

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