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Re: Best HTTP Status Code for a Redirect to a Service Suspension Page

From: Harry Maugans <hmaugans@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 13:55:31 -0400
Message-ID: <e74da3890703281055l3e19800bsa1501da146cf5db@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Tom Molesworth" <tetra604@gmail.com>
Cc: "Nigel Peck" <nigel@miswebdesign.com>, "Damien Bezborodow" <damien.b@koalatelecom.com.au>, www-talk@w3.org
On 3/28/07, Tom Molesworth <tetra604@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd vote for 403 Forbidden.
> The 300 series is to indicate a change although the content is valid.
> 400-series errors generally indicate that the returned content is not
> what you were after in the first place.
> Most proxy servers will return 403 if the user is not authenticated.
> This is essentially the case here since permissions have been
> suspended. The 403 error is often taken by clients to say that there
> is a real problem that should be reported, rather than 302 etc. which
> would mean that the service itself has changed but probably still
> valid.

I agree.  From a search engine optimization standpoint, if you feed the
search engine a 302, it will start indexing the suspended page, replacing
the original content (causing you to lose your rankings).  Whereas if you
send it a 4xx error, it will keep the last found page in it's cache, and
check back periodically to see if normal has been restored yet.

Granted SEO might not be your intention, however the SEO standards side of
it does further support Tom's vote.

Good luck!

-Harry Maugans
Received on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 17:55:35 UTC

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