What Is HTTP 410 Status Code (Gone Error)?

Reliqus Marketing

05 April 2024

HTTP Status Codes
By Ankit Bhatia
Founder & CEO

When browsing the Internet, users often encounter various messages and codes that can be puzzling or frustrating. Among these, stumbling upon a 410 status code when searching for previously accessible content can leave many wondering what went wrong. 

Unlike the more common 404 error, which simply states that a page cannot be found, a 410 status code goes a step further, indicating that the desired content has been permanently removed. 

This distinction raises several questions for users and web admins: Why was the content removed? Could it affect my browsing experience or my website’s performance in search rankings? 

Understanding the nuances of this status code is crucial for troubleshooting, maintaining a website’s health, and ensuring a smooth web browsing experience. For web developers and content managers facing these challenges, the expertise of Reliqus Consulting can provide valuable guidance and solutions. 

By diving into the specifics of HTTP status codes, we can help illuminate the path for a better managed, more accessible web presence.

What is HTTP 410 Status Code?

The 410 Status Code, also known as the “Gone” error, is a response code that web servers use to indicate that a requested resource is permanently unavailable and has been intentionally removed from the server. 

Unlike the 404 Not Found error, which suggests that the server can’t find the requested resource but doesn’t specify whether it’s a temporary or permanent condition, a 410 Gone error clearly communicates to the client that the resource is gone forever and that there is no forwarding address. 

It’s a deliberate signal from the website owner to search engines and users about permanently removing a resource.

Understanding HTTP status codes, like the 410 Gone and 414 Request-URI Too Long, is essential for effective website management and SEO optimization. Each status code has a specific meaning and implications for your site’s interaction with users and search engines alike.

How You Might See a HTTP 410 Gone Error?

A 410 Gone error can be seen in various ways, depending on the browser, the website’s setup, or even the specific tool querying the server. The variations of the error that may be seen include:

– 410 Gone

– Gone

– Error 410

– HTTP Status 410

Despite these differences, the core message remains the same: the requested resource has been permanently removed, and it’s time to stop looking for it here.

HTTP 410 Status Code References

Rails HTTP Status Symbol :gone

Go HTTP Status Constant http.StatusGone

Symfony HTTP Status Constant Response::HTTP_GONE

Python2 HTTP Status Constant httplib.GONE

Python3+ HTTP Status Constant http.client.GONE

Python3.5+ HTTP Status Constant http.HTTPStatus.GONE

.NET HttpStatusCode.Gone

Rust http::StatusCode::GONE

Java java.net.HttpURLConnection.HTTP_GONE

Apache HttpComponents Core org.apache.hc.core5.http.HttpStatus.SC_GONE

Angular @angular/common/http/HttpStatusCode.Gone

HTTP 410 Status Code Example

Here’s an example of a request and response for a 410 status code:

Request

GET /product/1234 HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com

Response

HTTP/1.1 410 Gone
Content-Type: text/plain

The requested product has been discontinued and is no longer available.

Let’s say a client is making a GET request to a web server, attempting to retrieve information about a product with the ID 1234. However, this product has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase or viewing. 

In response to this request, the server returns a 410 Gone status code, indicating that the requested resource is no longer available and has been removed permanently. 

Along with the 410 status code, the response includes a message explaining the reason for the resource’s unavailability, in this case, stating that the product has been discontinued.

The 410 status code serves as a clear signal to the client, and potentially to search engines, that the resource has been intentionally removed and will not be made available again, distinguishing it from the 404 Not Found status code.

While a 404 suggests that the server cannot find the requested resource and leaves ambiguity about its future availability, the 410 status code explicitly indicates permanent removal, providing a more precise understanding of the resource’s web status.

When Is the 410 Status Code Used?

The 410 Gone error message is employed when a web resource no longer exists and is permanently unavailable. This particularly applies to resources only available for a limited time, such as special promotions or event pages. If the server anticipates the possibility of the resource being reinstated, a different status code should be used instead. 

The 410 status code is a crucial practice in web maintenance. It informs clients, including search engines, that they should remove the link to the resource. This direct communication helps keep the web ecosystem updated. 

Search engines like Google pay particular attention to these status codes. They will not index a URL that returns a 410 Gone status and will promptly remove such URLs from their search results if they were indexed previously. This ensures that users are more likely to avoid dead links in their search queries, enhancing the overall user experience on the web.

What Causes the 410 Gone Error?

A website might return a 410 Gone error for several reasons, indicating that a particular resource is permanently unavailable. The causes can vary, but they generally signal an intentional decision by the website owner or an accidental removal. 

Here are the most common causes:

  • Pages or resources have been intentionally removed: The most straightforward reason for a 410 Gone error is when website owners or administrators intentionally remove a page or resource. This could be due to outdated, irrelevant, or sensitive information that is no longer meant to be public.
  • Pages or resources have been moved or renamed: If a webpage has been moved or renamed without proper redirection, attempts to access it via the old URL could result in a 410 error. This usually happens when the site’s structure changes, but the change needs to be managed appropriately.
  • Pages or resources have been deleted by mistake: A 410 Gone error sometimes occurs because the content was deleted by mistake. Whether through human error or technical glitches, the result is a missing page that visitors cannot access.
  • Server or Hosting Issues: On rare occasions, server configurations or hosting problems can lead to a 410 Gone error. This might happen during server migrations or when adjustments to the server settings mistakenly mark existing content as gone.

Understanding these common causes can help diagnose why a 410 Gone error has occurred, setting the stage for appropriate corrective actions.

When Should You Use a 410 Gone Instead of a 404 Not Found?

Deciding between a 404 or 410 status code for deleted pages is crucial for website management. 

Here’s what Matt Cutts from Google said in one of the webmaster help videos

“A 404 status code means ‘page not found,’ while a 410 status code means ‘this page is gone, and we do not expect it to come back.'” 

If a page is permanently removed, using a 410 status code can speed up the process of Google removing the web page from its index, which can be especially useful after a hacking event where a hacker posted thousands of spam pages.

Google eventually treats 404 and 410 similarly, but a 410 can slightly quicken the removal process. 

Cutts also mentioned that using a 410 status code can help you maintain your Google Crawl budget, as pages with a 404 status get crawled multiple times before being removed from the index fully.

This distinction is pivotal for efficient site maintenance and search engine optimization.

How To Fix the “410 Gone” Error (2 Methods)?

Encountering a 410 Gone error can be frustrating, both for webmasters and users. 

For users, it means the content they were seeking is no longer available. For webmasters, it indicates that visitors are trying to access content that has been deliberately removed, which might not be the desired outcome if the removal was a mistake or if the content has been moved rather than deleted. 

Here are two methods to fix or handle a 410 Gone error, depending on whether you’re on the client side (user) or the server side (webmaster).

Method 1: Investigating a Client-Side “410 Gone” Error

If you’re a user who has stumbled upon a 410 Gone error, there’s not much you can do to “fix” the issue since the problem is not on your end. However, there are a few steps you can take:

Step 1: Check the Requested URL—Sometimes, the simplest solution is the correct one. Ensure that the URL you’re trying to access is correct. Typos or outdated bookmarks can often lead to errors. Double-check the spelling, and try finding the correct link from the website’s homepage or through a search engine.

Step 2: Roll Back Recent Updates – If you recently updated your web browser or installed new software that modifies your browsing experience (such as security software), try rolling these updates back. It’s possible these changes have inadvertently blocked access to certain URLs or are redirecting requests in a way that causes a 410 error.

Step 3: Uninstall Plugins and Extensions – Browser plugins and extensions can interfere with how web pages are loaded or accessed. If you suspect a plugin or an extension might be causing the issue, try disabling it and access the URL again. If this resolves the issue, consider updating or permanently removing the troublesome plugin.

Method 2: Investigating a Server-Side “410 Gone” Error

For webmasters, a 410 Gone error should be intentional. If it’s not, or if you’ve reconsidered the removal of content, here’s how to address it:

Step 1: Review Your Site Logs: Site logs can provide valuable insights into why a 410 Gone error is being served. Look for any patterns or specific requests that consistently result in a 410 response. This can help identify whether the error is a result of a misconfiguration or intentional action.

Step 2: Debug Your Website: Debugging your website involves checking for broken links, misconfigured redirects, or missing pages that should be live. Use tools designed for website crawling to identify any anomalies in how your content is being served or linked within your site.

Step 3: Verify Your Server Configuration: Ensure your server is correctly configured and not mistakenly serving 410 errors for content that should be available. Check your .htaccess file (for Apache servers) or your nginx.conf file (for NGINX servers) for any rules explicitly sending a 410 status. Remove or adjust these rules if they’re incorrectly applied to live content.

How to Implement a HTTP 410 Status Code on Your Website?

Implementing a 410 status code on your website can be an effective way to communicate the permanent removal of content to both users and search engines. Here’s how you can set up a 410 Gone status on different server types and platforms:

Apache Server:

For websites running on Apache servers, you can use the .htaccess file to implement a 410 status code. The .htaccess file allows you to configure rules that are executed by the server, including the handling of specific URLs.

  • Open your .htaccess file in a text editor.
  • To mark a specific page as 410 status code, add the following line:

Redirect 410 /oldpage.html

Replace ‘oldpage.html’ with the path to the page you’ve removed.

NGINX Server:

When you’re running a website on an NGINX server and need to communicate the permanent removal of content, adjusting your site’s configuration is a straightforward process. Here’s how to specify a 410 status code for removed pages:

  • Begin by opening your site’s NGINX configuration file. 
  • Inside the server block of your configuration file, you will add a location block, like this:

location /oldpage.html {

  return 410;

}

Replace ‘oldpage.html’ with the actual path of the content you have removed from your site. 

WordPress:

WordPress users can use SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO or Redirection to manage HTTP status codes without directly editing server files. 

To set a 410 status code using Yoast SEO:

  • Navigate to the Redirects Menu.
  • Click on ‘Add new redirect’.
  • Select the 410 Status Code: Content Deleted’ for the ‘Type’ dropdown.
  • Enter the Old URL and click ‘Add Redirect’. 

Please be cautious when making changes to server configurations or the .htaccess file. Always ensure you have a recent backup before making any modifications. 

If you are uncertain about implementing these changes yourself or need expert guidance to ensure your website’s performance and SEO are not negatively affected, consulting with professionals like Reliqus Consulting can provide peace of mind and expert assistance.

Can a 410 Status Code Affect SEO?

Yes, a 410 status code can significantly impact search engine optimization (SEO). By indicating that a requested resource has been intentionally removed and will not be available again, it sends a clear message to search engines. 

When a search engine encounters a 410 status code, it acts on this information more promptly than other error codes by removing the corresponding URL from its index. 

This can have several SEO impacts, including:

  • Removal from search engine index: Once a URL is marked with a 410 status code, search engines will eventually remove it from their indices. This process helps keep the search engine’s index clean and up-to-date, but it also means that any search visibility for that URL is lost.
  • Loss of backlinks: If the removed page had backlinks pointing to it, those links would no longer pass value to your site, potentially diminishing your site’s overall authority and SEO value.
  • Negative impact on user experience: Encountering a 410 error without proper guidance can frustrate users, leading to a negative perception of your site. This can indirectly affect SEO, as search engines consider user experience signals in their rankings.

Website owners should consider implementing a custom 410 error page to mitigate these impacts. This page should ideally explain to visitors why the resource was removed and guide them towards alternative content or resources available on the website. 

Additionally, if a similar resource exists on the website, setting up a redirect to that resource can maintain the user experience and prevent broken links. These strategies help manage the immediate effects of a 410 status code and contribute to maintaining a site’s SEO integrity and user satisfaction.

Best Practices for Preventing Future 410 Gone Errors

To minimize the chances of encountering or causing a 410 Gone error on your website, there are proactive steps you can take. These strategies are aimed at ensuring content remains accessible and navigable for both users and search engines.

Consider the following preventative measures:

  • Implement redirects: When you move or delete content, set up 301 redirects to guide users and search engines to the new location of the content or an alternative relevant page. This helps preserve link equity and maintain a good user experience.
  • Use consistent URL structures: Develop and stick to a logical URL structure for your website. Consistency in URL structures reduces the risk of pages becoming inaccessible due to changes in the address, thereby preventing unnecessary 410 errors.
  • Regularly check for broken links: Utilize tools to scan your website for broken links periodically. Identifying and fixing broken links early can prevent the progression to a 410 status when pages are intentionally removed later.
  • Use version control: Implement a version control system for your website’s content. This ensures that changes are tracked, and older versions of content can be restored if needed, reducing the need to remove pages permanently.

Adhere to these practices to significantly reduce the likelihood of a 410 Gone error occurring on your website, ensuring a smoother experience for both your audience and search engines.

Conclusion

While the 410 Gone status code is less commonly encountered than other 4xx errors, its proper use is crucial for maintaining the accuracy and cleanliness of your web presence. It should be employed only when a page or resource has been permanently removed, and there’s no intention of it returning. 

If there’s any possibility that the content might be reinstated in the future, opting for a 404 status is more appropriate. Errors on a website, whether they’re 410s, 404s, or any other type, should be addressed promptly to ensure a seamless user experience. 

For those who might find managing these errors daunting, professional assistance is available. Reliqus Consulting specializes in troubleshooting and resolving website errors, providing the expertise needed to keep your site running smoothly. 

You can contact us for support with any errors you encounter on your website. Remember, timely intervention with website errors is critical to maintaining an efficient and effective online presence. 

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ)

In our exploration of Status Code 410, several common questions arise, providing insights into what this response code signifies and how it differs from others you may encounter. 

Let’s delve into these queries to highlight the specifics of the 410 Gone error and related topics.

What is the Response Code 410?

Response code 410 indicates that the requested resource is no longer available on the server and will not be available again. This is a more definitive statement than a 404 Not Found error, as it signifies a permanent resource removal.

What is the Difference Between Status Codes 410 and 404?

While 410 and 404 indicate that a resource cannot be found, the key difference lies in the permanence of the situation. A 404 status does not specify whether the absence is temporary or permanent, suggesting that the resource might be available again. In contrast, a 410 status explicitly states that the resource is gone for good.

What is Error Status 410 Trying to Pull?

When a server returns a 410 status, it’s communicating that the requested resource has been intentionally removed and will not return. This is typically used to clean up old content and help maintain a tidy and relevant web presence.

What is SIP Error 410 Gone?

In the context of the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which manages multimedia communication sessions such as video and voice calls, a 410 Gone error indicates that the called party is no longer reachable at the address provided, and no forwarding address is available. This mirrors the HTTP 410 status code in its indication of a permanent change.

Ankit Bhatia

Founder & CEO at Reliqus

With 12+ years of experience building a web presence for 300+ businesses, Ankit understands how businesses can use technology to increase revenue.

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