How to Fix 302 Found Error (5 Methods)

Web browsers and web servers communicate using an application protocol called the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Every time visitors access a website, the web browser sends a request to the web server for resources, allowing them to view the content.

However, in the case of an error, web browsers will send back a blank page with an HTTP code instead of the website content. One of the HTTP status codes you might encounter during website development is the 302 found redirect, which generates a temporary redirection.

Typically, website owners use this redirect to drive traffic to a new URL whenever the website is under heavy maintenance. However, due to the complexity of HTTP status codes, the server and client may process the incorrect 302 response code.

With this in mind, we will go over the steps to diagnose and troubleshoot unexpected 302 errors on your website. We will also take a look at the impact they can have on your website’s SEO.

First, let’s start with a more detailed explanation of the HTTP 302 redirect.

Error code302 Found Error
Error typeRedirect
Error variationsHTTP 302 Error
HTTP Error Code 302
302 Status Code
HTTP 302 Redirect
HTTP Response 302
Error causeIncorrect request sent by the server

What Is the HTTP 302 Error?

Status codes indicate whether the HTTP request was successful. To help you identify them correctly, take a look at the five HTTP status codes below:

  • 1xx – informational requests
  • 2xx – successful requests
  • 3xx – redirects
  • 4xx – client-side errors
  • 5xx – server-side errors

Therefore, an HTTP status code that starts with “3” indicates that your web browser needs to take further actions to fulfill the request.

The HTTP 302 error occurs when the requested resource has been temporarily moved to a new location. Hence, the system automatically redirects visitors to a new URL that has the resource.

The HTTP redirect starts when the web server hosting the content returns a 3xx status code and a location header that holds the new URL. Once the web browser receives this response, it automatically loads the new URL instead of displaying the 404 error not found error.

Since the current redirection directive can change, the web server should keep the initial URL to process future requests. This prompts the user agent or web browser to deliver the original request to the URL attached in the location header.

One of the most common usages of the HTTP 302 status code is localization. For example, when you access https://www.google.com/, the browser will redirect you to the localized version of Google, depending on your country.

So, if you live in India, the response 302 found will take you to https://www.google.co.in/ for easier access to local content. Big companies like eBay and Amazon also use 302 redirects to drive traffic to a local server.

5 Methods to Fix the Status Code 302 Error

The 302 found server response specifies that the requested resource has been moved temporarily to a new location. That said, a server can misunderstand and send incorrect HTTP 302 errors instead of passing an informational or successful request.

For this reason, we have included the five methods to diagnose which component of your website is sending the improper 302 found response, along with the steps to fix it.

1. Restore the Site From a Backup

Creating a full backup of a website before making any changes to the system is crucial.

A reliable backup can save your website from data loss, security breaches, and malware infection. On that note, the first step you can take is to restore your site to its stable state.

To do so, access your hosting control panel – Hostinger clients can head to the hPanel dashboard and navigate to Files -> Backups.

Selecting backups under the Files section in hPanel

Clicking on it will present various types of backups saved on the server. If you use WordPress or another Content Management System (CMS), you will need to restore both your website files and the MySQL database.

hPanel's backup dashboard

To start, click on the Files backups button and click on Show files. If you want to restore the whole website, choose the public_html folder and click Restore files.

Selecting restore files in the hPanel's backup restore dashboard

The next step is to restore your database. Start by selecting the Database backups option, choose the database to restore, and click Show databases.

Selecting backup data

You will see a list of available backup dates – choose your desired date, and click Restore.

A list of databases by date

The system will start downloading the backups and notify you once it’s done.

After the restoration process is complete, all the changes made until the backup date will be reverted. Hence, the HTTP 302 Error should be gone.

2. Deactivate Outdated Software

Internet standards are documented by a Request for Comment (RFC). On this note, the RFC specification for HTTP 1.0 states that the response 302 found code’s function is to command the web browser to do a temporary redirection.

If the HTTP 302 status code is delivered through the post request, the web browser should not redirect content without the user’s confirmation. However, many modern browsers automatically process this HTTP error code 302 as a GET request.

Whenever this happens, the web server software processing the request can’t perform the correct redirection. As a result, the HTTP 1.1 RFC document includes the 303 See Other to handle post-to-get requests specifically.

For this reason, we recommend deactivating outdated software that is not compliant with the HTTP 1.1 RFC. Doing so will prevent visitors from seeing irrelevant content on your website.

3. Inspect Web Server Configuration

Another step you can take to fix the error 302 redirects is to inspect the web server configuration. The two most popular web server software are Nginx and Apache – hence, your web applications most likely run on one of them.

Below, we will go over the steps of inspecting configuration files in both server programs.

Apache

To identify which web server your website is using, you will need to look for a key file that regulates the website features. With Apache, you can start locating the .htaccess (hypertext access) file on your root directory.

Simply go to your hosting control panel and open the File Manager -> public_html.

cPanel's File Manager

Once you have located your .htaccess file, open it using a text editor.

.htaccess file

From there, you will see a series of RewriteXXX directives that manage HTTP redirects and permalink structures. Pay particular attention to these two:

  • RewriteRule – defines the rules for the rewriting engine.
  • RewriteCond – determines whether the requested URL matches the defined rule condition.

If the request has a matching URL, the RewriteRule following the RewriteCond directives will initiate a temporary redirection to the correct URL.

Below is an example of a proper 302 temporary redirect execution:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^website\.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ HTTP://www.temporary-website.com/$1 [R=302]

In the previous example, the combination of RewriteCond and RewriteRule matches the requests to website.com. Hence, the system generates a temporary redirection to the same URL on the temporary-website.com domain.

Note the extra flag following the RewriteRule directive – it indicates that the response code delivered has to be a 302 found. This prompts the user agents to do a temporary redirect.

If there are any odd rewrite directives in the .htaccess file, go ahead and comment on it. Do so by adding a # prefix in front of the line that you comment on. Once you’re done, try restarting the web server to see if the error 302 has been resolved.

Nginx

If your web server is running on Nginx, you need to locate a different key file. Instead of an .htaccess file, look for the nginx.conf file located in the following directories:

  • /usr/local/nginx/conf
  • /etc/nginx
  • /usr/local/etc/nginx

Once you have found the file, open it through the text editor, and look for rewrite directives that include a redirect flag.

To understand the way the Nginx system works, take a look at the example of ablock directive below:

server {
listen 80;
listen 443 ssl;
server_name www.example.com;
rewrite ^/$ http://www.temporary-example.com redirect;
}

Rewrite directives in Nginx work similarly to those in Apache. A set of directives in the example above regulates a virtual server by generating a temporary HTTP redirection from example.com to temporary-example.com.

To ensure everything works properly on your Nginx server, try to spot any unusual rewrite directives that contain a redirect flag. Comment on such lines, and restart the system to see if the problem has been resolved.

4. Clear Error Logs

Recent changes and updates on a website can also cause the 302 found error. Thus, after completing one, don’t forget to check your website’s error log.

Most web applications will have server logs connected to the actual hardware they’re running on. These logs record every activity performed on the servers, from providing a history of the requested pages to collecting user-specific information.

Typically, hosting providers will give access to activate server logs through users’ hosting control panel. However, you can also enable error logging on your WordPress site using the WP_DEBUG PHP constant, which generates the debugging process throughout the website.

To begin, copy and paste the following lines in your wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true ); 
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true ); 
define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );

Once you’re done, all of the recorded errors will appear in the wp-content/debug.log file, making it easier for you to pinpoint which component is causing the unexpected temporary redirects.

Pro Tip

You can manually locate applications on your server and go through all application logs. This helps you determine irregularities in the application code and shows you what causes the 302 response code to appear.

Additionally, if you want to check the error log on your virtual server software, access the following file accordingly:

  • Nginx server: /var/log/nginx/error.log/
  • Apache server: /var/log/apache2/error.log/

5. Uninstall or Temporarily Disable New Plugins or Themes

The most common cause of website errors in WordPress is conflicting plugins or themes. In some cases, a plugin might try to set up redirects that conflict with default WordPress redirects. Thus, generating an incorrect HTTP response code.

One effective way to solve this problem is by temporarily disabling plugins on your website. To do so, go to the wp-content directory and rename the plugins folder – for example, plugins-disable.

Renaming plugins with plugins-disable.

If your website is back to normal without active plugins, the next thing to do is finding which plugin causes the HTTP 302 error. Begin with renaming the plugins directory back to the original and activate the plugins one by one.

When the 302 error appears, you have detected the faulty plugin – uninstalling it should remove the error. However, if the method above yields no results, try following the same steps with your WordPress themes.

When to Use the 302 Temporary Redirect?

Essentially, an HTTP 302 response is meant for redirection rather than it being an error. Unless the server is delivering an incorrect response, the cause of 302 temporary redirects is mostly intentional.

Below are some of the most common reasons to use the 302 found responses:

  • Provide localized content – usually implemented by international companies or eCommerce platforms to drive traffic from a specific geographic location to its destination URL.
  • Redirection for A/B testing – when a platform is developing new functionality and is still in the process of A/B testing, they can direct traffic to this new page and collect feedback from visitors.
  • Prompt visitors to a specific page – this comes in handy when your website is still under maintenance. Prompting visitors to a functional page will sustain the user experience and keep them updated with your content.
  • Perform marketing strategy – many businesses redirect visitors to a promotional page containing special offers or discount banners.

Pro Tip

To perform permanent redirection, you should redirect your website using the 301 Redirect. The most notable features of this redirection are keeping all SEO values from your old page and transferring them to the new URL.

The 302 Status Code and SEO

When implemented correctly, the 302 found redirect will not hurt your site’s SEO. In fact, it plays an important role in preserving the SEO value of a website page.

The HTTP 302 redirect tells Google and other search engines that the redirection is only temporary – preventing them from deindexing the original resource. Thus, allowing you to retain SEO value like ranking and domain authority the original page might have.

However, a problem occurs when you unintentionally use the 302 redirect to move a website resource permanently. Google search engine will continue indexing the old page and ignoring the new page. Moreover, since the search engine won’t transfer any SEO value, the new page won’t have the same value as the original page.

Pro Tip

Use HTTP 302 redirects only if you plan to bring the old page back. Additionally, avoid moving SEO-weight content to a new location as doing so might affect page ranking on the SERPs.

How to Diagnose If Your Site Has the 302 Error

To identify whether your website is experiencing error 302, start by entering the original URL into the address bar and observing the URL. If your original URL changes into your destination URL, it means that the HTTP redirection is working correctly.

On the other hand, if the address stays the same, you need to identify the cause. Start by cleaning your browser cache to see whether doing so triggers the URL to change. If nothing happens, try to implement the methods we have talked about in the previous section.

Conclusion

The HTTP error code 302 found indicates that a specific URL has been moved temporarily to a new location. Whenever visitors, Google robots, or other search engines access the original URL, 302 redirect delivers an automatic response indicating a new address.

The 302 redirects can benefit a website on several occasions. That said, if the web server hosting your website generates an unexpected response 302 found, it may hinder your site’s ability to satisfy visitors’ requests.

Let’s recap the steps of troubleshooting this issue:

  1. Restore a website backup.
  2. Deactivate outdated software.
  3. Inspect web server configuration.
  4. Clear error logs.
  5. Uninstall or temporarily disable plugins and themes.

Apart from the 302 error, you may encounter other status codes, such as the 403 forbidden error or the 504 gateway timeout. We recommend learning more about these errors so that you can fix them in a timely manner and ensure your website performance is back on track as soon as possible.

Author
The author

Nabilla R.

Nabilla is a Digital Content Writer at Hostinger. She has a passion for website hosting and development and is keen to share her knowledge to help people further their online journey. When she's not busy writing, she likes to explore nature and go on adventures.