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Need to Block Site on Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath), How to minimize negative effects?

4:15 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A client of mine insists that his site be closed for Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath each week, which occurs from Friday before sunset to Saturday after sunset.

This is for religious reasons, and not something he's willing to debate with me. There are a lot of nuances here, I'm personally against his reasoning, but none of it matters, as currently the only option the client will consider is to serve some kind of "closed for shabbat" splash page.

As far as I can see, my options are:
*serve a 503 response with a "closed for shabbat" splash page for any requests.
*302 redirect all requests to a "closed for shabbat" splash page.
*Client is not willing to only disable the shopping cart.

Is there some other approach/option?

What seems like it will do less damage to the site in terms of Google over an extended period of time - a 302 or a 503 HTTP response?

Does anyone have experience with serving a 503 once a week for an extended period of time?

My two main concerns are Google thinking the site is technically crap, since it is down once a week and negative site usability parameters, since I'll have a 100% bounce, low time on site, and pogosticking back to the SERPs for about 15% of each week.
11:52 pm on July 13, 2013 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 10, 2004
votes: 13

i would go with the 503 and the custom error document.
"Service Unavailable" is the most precise technical description of the issue.

this recent google webmaster help video is well-timed for your question.
If my site goes down for a day, does that affect my rankings?:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eYJuT0yGrI [youtube.com]