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Online media matters

Living Can Kill You

Preventing linkrot

Came across this error message at the location of a major site’s marketing page:

HTTP Error 404: As part of the continuing effort to refine and improve our online service, the page you are trying to access has been moved to a new server. To access the site name home page, please click on the URL link below. For easier access, we recommend bookmarking the site name Home Page after you have clicked on the link

[French translation of the above]

Please go to site URL

How can moving a page to a new server then posting this note improve a site’s online service? (And should I expect more broken links as a result of this “continuing effort”?)

The note should simply say the page being sought looking for is no longer available.

That would be an acceptable 404. But since this page once existed, and (I know) it no longer does, it should be a 410. Even if the page has been moved, it still wouldn’t be a 404, it would be a 301, and should be handled via a redirect.

Yes, this is geeky semantics; yes, the site’s ops people are likely overworked; and yes, nobody’s perfect, but it is how linkrot starts.

Plus it hurts the site’s Google-ranking (thanks to the Poodle Predictor, one can now get an idea how that engine would see a site).

Laying aside the fact I know one of the authors (that would be Rudy), this sounds like a book I definitely should read if I ever get close to upgrading this site: Practical Web Database DesignWeb Affiliate.