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Saturday, May 25, 2013

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401 What? Learn the Server Response Codes

Web servers lie at the heart of the Internet and it may surprise many people that they speak their own language. Server response codes communicate with web browsers and report the status of the requested web page or data and the state of the server itself. Knowing about response codes is vital when it comes to SEO for business serving the local community. The most important server codes are explained below.

This code is always good news. It means the server is properly servicing browser requests, and visitors are viewing web pages without issue. A well-maintained site will return mostly 200 codes.

A 301 code is a permanent redirect, which means that a web page has been changed or moved, and the browser will be taken to the new page automatically. Using a 301 is a very important step in keeping search engine rank when changing page URLs. Not using them could result in a serious penalty.

This code is returned by the server when an individual has entered credentials, such as a username and password, that are not recognized. A 401 code can be helpful to webmasters who are seeking a solution to an authentication or access problem. 

A 403 code is issued when an unauthorized user attempts to gain access to an off-limits area of a website. This can happen because the pages or section are private or for administrator use only or because the user has been banned from accessing the site.

This code will be issued by the server when a page is removed or when a user types in a non-existent URL. Webmasters need to keep an eye on 404 codes to make sure they are not being returned in error, as this can wreak havoc with page rank.

A 500 error is very serious, as it means the server is not responding to any requests at all. This could be due to a crash or a misconfiguration that prevents requests from being handled in the right way. A 500 code must be looked into and corrected immediately, as it always means downtime and this could be very costly for a business.
For companies and individuals concerned about the SEO of websites, knowing about and responding to server codes can be the difference between success and failure.


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