It's 404 week at Webmaster Central

Monday, August 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM

This week we're publishing several blog posts dedicated to helping you with one response code: 404.

Response codes are a numeric status (like 200 for "OK", 301 for "Moved Permanently") that a webserver returns in response to a request for a URL. The 404 response code should be returned for a file "Not Found".

When a user sends a request for your webpage, your webserver looks for the corresponding file for the URL. If a file exists, your webserver likely responds with a 200 response code along with a message (often the content of the page, such as the HTML).

200 response code flow chart

So what's a 404? Let's say that in the link to "Visit Google Apps" above, the link is broken because of a typing error when coding the page. Now when a user clicks "Visit Google Apps", the particular webpage/file isn't located by the webserver. The webserver should return a 404 response code, meaning "Not Found".

404 response code flow chart

Now that we're all on board with the basics of 404s, stay tuned 4 even more information on making 404s good 4 users and 4 search engines.


Congratulations! You've discovered botcoins, a new currency for webmasters! You can use botcoins for your daily searches, even without typing anything! (100 botcoins = 1 free search). To redeem your botcoins, simply find a Google Search Team member in person, hand over your botcoin certificate, and request your query. The Googler will then make the search for you. Note: Googler may ignore you or choose to search for a different phrase or topic if they are in a bad mood. And, currently no mining opportunities are provided for botcoins.