Blogger uses HTTP 404 for Maintenance

This is stupid. Blogger is offline right now for maintenance.

The only problem is that it’s now returning HTTP 404 status codes for every Blogger blog in the universe.

So now the crawlers will start assuming that the blog is generating an error.

There’s probably a better way to handle entire service outages. Probably a 302 redirect to an HTML page would work. Of course that’s problematic as well.


  1. Yeah…… I guess 503 with a pretty HTML document would work….

  2. There’s probably worse things in the world than crawlers thinking the splog-infested blogspot is gone.

  3. For Bloglines, we use a 503….. And mod_asis….

    AliasMatch /(.*) /path-to-content/plumber.html.asis

    Which lets you put in a 503 status, plus cache-control stuff….

    plumber.html.asis contains:
    Status: 503
    Cache-Control: no-cache
    Content-type: text/html


    Works pretty well for everything we have needed to do..

  4. Adam Jacob Muller

    There are specific codes for specific situations, the best one here is probably a 503 code, take a read of:

    The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. The implication is that this is a temporary condition which will be alleviated after some delay. If known, the length of the delay MAY be indicated in a Retry-After header. If no Retry-After is given, the client SHOULD handle the response as it would for a 500 response.

  5. So, everyone likes 503 then? I can check into it.

  6. Kevin, I just verified that Blogger does use 503’s for planned outages. Let me know if you have more information about where you saw the 404. Could it have been a bad intermediary of some kind?


  7. Hey John.

    Thanks for following up …

    I don’t have any other details other than the above screenshot. I was actually auditing our spam prevention algorithms for Blogger when it happened. Every blog I went to returned the same error with a 404 status code.

    Of course it could have been a fluke or bug …

    Glad 404’s aren’t the default for schedule downtime though!

  8. Cool, let me know if you see anything in the future!

%d bloggers like this: