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Using Web Maintenance Page

A website must perform maintenance at some point in its existence to keep the information up-to-date and to keep the website free from bugs and viruses. A simple content update, such as new contact details, new graphic images and the like, does not affect the whole website that much. The website is still accessible, even if the whole text content of a webpage is being changed. However, there are times that a website must go offline for a short period of time in order to perform the necessary upgrade or to fix website errors.

When a website is down for maintenance, no one can access it. And when it is not accessible, the result will be obvious, human visitors will surely navigate away from your site and may not come back again. Also, search engines may think that your site has been completely removed, especially when it is not accessible for quite some time, hence, it will have negative effect on search engine rankings. But web maintenance is necessary to ensure that a website is free of bugs and viruses; however, you cannot afford to lose traffic during server’s downtime, can you? So what are you going to do then?

The solution to this dilemma is simple. All you have to do is inform human visitors and search engine robots that it is only a temporary shutdown and will be back after a specific time. Therefore, you will need a maintenance page indicating your website is down for maintenance.


A 503 status code indicates that a website is temporarily unavailable for access to both humans and search engine bots. This status code must be used when a site is down for maintenance. Through this, you can notify all your site visitors that your website is currently under maintenance mode, thus instruct them to come back on the specific date that it would become accessible again. By using this code, search engines will not remove your page on their index because they know that this is just a temporary status.

However, when announcing to the World Wide Web that your site is currently offline, be careful not to use the following HTTP status codes as they will surely affect your sites rankings and traffic.

  • 404 Not Found. ‘Page not found’ error message means that the server has not found the requested resource. The error message does not indicate if it is temporary or permanent. Human visitors may find the website useless and may avoid going back again in the near future. If the maintenance period takes longer time, search engines may remove the page in its index.
  • 301 Moved Permanently. This status code means that the requested URL has been moved permanently to new location. This message could be understood by human visitors. All they have to do is to click the alternate URL in order to access the website. However, when it comes to search engines, it is not advisable to use 301 if the website will not be moved permanently to a new address because in time, search engines will remove it on its search index. As a result, you’ll lose your hard-earned page ranking just like that.