HTTP status codes are an essential part of the web. Whenever you request a web page or file, your browser communicates with the server using HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol. If everything goes smoothly, the server returns a response with an HTTP status code indicating whether the request was successful or not.
There are many different HTTP status codes, each with a unique meaning. In this article, we will focus on the 410 status code, what it means, and when it might be encountered.
What are HTTP status codes?
Before we dive into the specifics of the 410 status code, let’s first take a brief look at HTTP status codes in general.
HTTP status codes are three-digit numbers that are returned by web servers in response to HTTP requests. They are used to indicate the outcome of the request and whether it was successful or not.
There are five main categories of HTTP status codes:
- 1xx: Informational
- 2xx: Successful
- 3xx: Redirection
- 4xx: Client errors
- 5xx: Server errors
This class of status codes are used to provide information about the progress of the client’s request to the server. They do not indicate success or failure. Instead, they notify the client that the server has received their request and is processing it. Examples of 1xx status codes include 100 (Continue), 101 (Switching Protocols), and 102 (Processing).
These codes are used to indicate that the server has successfully processed the client’s request and returned a response. When a client receives a 2xx status code, it means that their request was successful. The most commonly used status code in this class is 200 (OK), which indicates that the client’s request was successful and the server has returned the requested data. Other examples include 201 (Created), 204 (No Content), and 206 (Partial Content).
These codes are used when the requested resource has been moved or is no longer available at the original location. In this case, the client may need to take additional action to complete the request, such as following a redirection to a new URL or resource. The most commonly used status codes in this class include 301 (Moved Permanently), 302 (Found), and 304 (Not Modified).
4xx (Client errors):
This class of status codes are used to indicate that the server was unable to process the request due to an error on the client’s part. These errors are typically caused by invalid or incorrect requests made by the client. The most commonly used status code in this class is 404 (Not Found), which indicates that the requested resource could not be found on the server. Other examples include 400 (Bad Request), 403 (Forbidden), and 408 (Request Timeout).
5xx (Server errors):
5xx Server error codes are used to indicate that the server was unable to process the request due to an error on the server’s part. These errors are typically caused by problems with the server, such as internal server errors or timeouts. The most commonly used status code in this class is 500 (Internal Server Error), which indicates that there was an unexpected condition that prevented the server from fulfilling the request. Other examples include 502 (Bad Gateway), 503 (Service Unavailable), and 504 (Gateway Timeout).
What does 410 mean?
The 410 status code is one of the many HTTP status codes that a server can return. It indicates that the requested resource is no longer available and has been permanently removed from the server.
In other words, the server is saying that the resource you are trying to access was once available, but it has been intentionally removed and will not be available again in the future. This is different from the 404 status code, which indicates that the requested resource could not be found.
When might you encounter a 410 status code?
There are several situations in which you might encounter a 410 status code. Let’s take a look at some of the most common scenarios:
1. A page has been intentionally removed
The most common reason why a server might return a 410 status code is that a page has been intentionally removed. This could be because the content was outdated, irrelevant, or no longer served a purpose.
For example, a website might remove a page that was dedicated to an event that has already passed. Since the event is over and the information is no longer useful, the website owner might choose to remove the page entirely. When someone tries to access the page in the future, they will receive a 410 status code, indicating that the page has been permanently removed.
2. A website has been shut down permanently
Another reason why a server might return a 410 status code is that a website has been shut down permanently. This could be because the website was no longer profitable, the owner lost interest in the project, or any number of other reasons.
In this case, the server will return a 410 status code for every page on the website, indicating that the site has been permanently removed and will not be available again in the future.
3. A resource has been moved or replaced
In some cases, a server might return a 410 status code if a resource has been moved or replaced. For example, a website might replace an old blog post with a new one, and redirect the old URL to the new URL. In this case, the server could return a 410 status code for the old URL, indicating that the old post has been permanently removed.
4. A resource has been renamed
Finally, a server might return a 410 status code if a resource has been renamed. For example, if a website changes the URL structure of its pages, the old URLs might return a 410 status code, indicating that the old URLs have been permanently removed.
Implications of encountering a 410 status code
Encountering a 410 status code can have several implications, depending on the context. Here are some of the most common implications:
One of the main implications of encountering a 410 status code is that it can have an impact on search engine optimization (SEO). If a page that was once indexed by search engines returns a 410 status code, search engines will assume that the page has been permanently removed.
This can affect the overall visibility of the website in search engine results pages (SERPs). If too many pages return a 410 status code, it can hurt the website’s SEO and lead to a drop in traffic.
User experience implications
Encountering a 410 status code can also have implications for user experience. If a user tries to access a page that returns a 410 status code, they might assume that the website is down or that there is a technical problem.
This can lead to frustration and a negative experience for the user. In some cases, it might even cause them to leave the website altogether and never return.
Website maintenance implications
Finally, encountering a 410 status code can have implications for website maintenance. If a website owner is not keeping track of which pages have been removed, they might not be aware that a 410 status code is being returned.
This can lead to a situation where users are encountering 410 status codes for pages that should still be available. To avoid this, website owners should keep track of which pages have been removed and update any internal links or redirects accordingly.
How to resolve a 410 status code
If you encounter a 410 status code, there are several steps that you can take to resolve the issue. Here are some of the most common solutions:
Update internal links
If you are the website owner, one of the first steps you should take is to update any internal links or redirects that are pointing to the removed resource.
For example, if you removed a page from your website, you should update any links that are pointing to that page so that they point to a relevant resource instead.
Create a custom 410
If you have intentionally removed a resource and want to provide more information to users, you can create a custom 410 page. This page can provide information about why the resource was removed, when it was removed, and whether there are any alternative resources available.
Redirect to a relevant resource
If you have removed a resource and there is a relevant alternative available, you can redirect users to that resource instead. This can help to improve user experience and ensure that users are still able to find the information they are looking for.
Remove any links to the removed resource
Finally, if you have removed a resource and there are no relevant alternatives available, you should remove any links to that resource. This will help to avoid users encountering 410 status codes in the future and ensure that the website’s SEO is not negatively impacted.
In summary, the 410 status code is an HTTP status code that indicates that a resource has been permanently removed and will not be available again in the future. This can happen when a website owner removes a page or shuts down their website permanently.
Encountering a 410 status code can have implications for SEO, user experience, and website maintenance. To resolve the issue, website owners should update internal links, create a custom 410 page, redirect to a relevant resource, or remove any links to the removed resource.
By understanding what the 410 status code means and how to resolve it, website owners can ensure that their website is running smoothly and providing a positive user experience for their visitors.
In the end, I highly recommend learning about the Software Testing Life Cycle to ensure the quality and reliability of your software before it goes live. It’s a crucial step in protecting your software and ensuring its success.