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How does Google handle website outages?

     
4:59 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My website was down for about 24 hours. It's crawled by google pretty much daily. I'm pretty sure that google was getting 404's left and right, plus my home page was actually a different address during the downtime.

How does Google handle situations like this?

8:06 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google seems to be quite forgiving of both complete outages and config errors returning 404's etc.

My guess is that some kind of algo will kick in that will start to lower the crawl frequency until the content returns, at which point the algo will cause the crawl frequency to ramp back up to whatever it was before the temporary 404 situation.

It's certainly nothing to worry about anyway; Google want your content in their index as much as you do.

1:45 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree with dmorison.

However, one has to take issue with the reasons for the outage, as it could adversely affect the website in other ways. Viewers won't return if they see the site down, you may lose a sale, your existing customers/viewers will lose faith, and so on.

If the problem is because of the service provider, you may be better to look elsewhere for a more reliable one. But a word of caution: changing a website to another server requires professional assistance, as it has to be done methodically and precisely.

4:15 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If the website was down Google couldn't get 404's it would see timeouts (making some assumptions here).

Please define what you mean by down.

5:26 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Didn't seem to affect WebmasterWorld during their outage - which lasted several days.
10:31 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just before Christmas I know of a site that suddenly returned 404 for all pages and it took Google just over 2 weeks to delist most of the pages.

Only the index page is still listed, and the cache date has reverted to one from 9 months ago. They didn't keep any of the recent cache samples. At the time of the outage they did have a cache only a few days old, but they have dumped it in favour of a much older one.

If the site had come back online during the initial two weeks, I suspect there would have been very little long term damage. The site is still down (5 weeks now).

10:33 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I had a site down 2 1/2 weeks. The rankings were destroyed, went back up and Google put everything back where it was almost immediately.
1:03 am on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Please define what you mean by down."

It was a server move gone bad (my fault for not registering new nameservers)

Had a redirect from the old server to the new server so you could see the home page, but all the internal pages gave 404's.

If I was in control of it, I might have done the redirects differently, but everything was already deleted off the old server, so I spent most my time escalating through the ranks of my domain registrar trying to get them to register the new name servers.

11:17 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Jordo, I have faced the same outage problems with several different sites and never had a problem (even if the sites were recently indexed).

So don't worry about the 24-hour outage; you will probably have absolutely no problem.