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Is 404 or orphaned better?

12:22 pm on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:July 19, 2006
votes: 0


For pages no longer used or linked in our site is it better to delete them entirely from our server and return a 404 error or leave them as orphaned pages in case they have been indexed by the search engines? There are no alternative pages to do a 301 redirect.

3:32 pm on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 2, 2002
votes: 0

I'd vote neither.
When a page is no longer needed and there's no sound historical benefit to keeping it online, I delete the page and set the htaccess to return a 410 error code (gone, not coming back) and eradicate any internal links to the page.

Any external link bringing someone to that page will result in a custom error page which includes a one line explanation and a link back to home page of the site.