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Which status code for temporary unavailable

parts of the website are temporarly down

     
3:57 pm on Oct 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Which status-Code to use?

I have a website with several thousand pages of unique content.
Because of some error, about 80% of the content pages in the CMS wont be available for at least one week and just will give back an empty page.
Which HTTP-Status code is correct in this case?

204 = available but no content
302 = moved temporarily (redirect everything to the mainpage)
404 = error with page
503 = server temporarily not available

I thought about using 404 error code and just hope that search egines will index the site again after its online again.
As far as I understand, 503 is only used if a whole webserver is down, not only part of the service?

Kim
6:04 pm on Oct 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Use 503, absolutely 503.

Server isn't available for this request. The fact it might be available for a different request a few seconds later and then not available again only seconds later for some other request probably doesn't come into it.
7:40 pm on Oct 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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OK, thanks for the answer. After some more research I found this:

[askapache.com...]
503 it is, tell google to try again in 7 days:)
10:33 pm on Oct 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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the 503 status code response is one of the few cases where the Retry-After response-header [w3.org] is actually useful.