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What is HTTP 410 Gone?

The 410 Gone status code indicates that the resource you are trying to access is no longer available on the server and is likely gone for good. It is typically used when a resource or webpage is intentionally removed from the web.

Unlike the 404 Not Found status code, which indicates the webpage or resource may exist but cannot be located, the HTTP 410 status code confirms that the webpage or resource does not exist. In response, search engines will typically remove the resource or page from their index. 

The 410 Gone belongs to the 4xx series of HTTP status codes.

  • 4 indicates a client error
  • xx is a placeholder for two numbers that provide more information about the status of the HTTP request

Difference Between the 404 and 410 Status Codes

The 410 Gone status code serves a similar purpose to the 404 Not Found status code. Both HTTP status codes indicate a requested resource was not found at the location. 

However, the 410 status code is much more specific. It indicates that the resource was previously at the location but has been deliberately removed and is not expected to return.

Unlike the 404 Not Found, setting up a 410 status code requires some work, and this extra work is further proof that the content was deliberately removed from the URL. 

How Google Handles the 410 Gone Status Code

Google’s John Mueller mentioned that the difference between the 404 and 410 status codes is so minimal that he could not think of any situation in which he would prefer one over the other. 

This is consistent with Google’s long-standing position that we should not worry about whether to use the 404 or 410 status codes on our site

While Google recommends using the 410 Gone if you are sure that the page is not coming back, it has mentioned that it treats 404 and 410 errors similarly after a while. It reduces the rate at which it crawls URLs that return both status codes and consequently removes them from search results. 

The major difference between 404 and 410 status codes is that Google removes pages that return 410 Gone errors from its index quicker than it removes those that return 404 pages. However, the difference is just a few days, so there is not much difference at the end.

When to Use the 410 Gone Status Code

You should use the 410 Gone status code when you are sure that the page is not coming back. Otherwise, you should stick with the 404 Not Found.

This is particularly helpful in situations like a security breach where a site is overtaken by a hacker who creates many spammy pages. In this case, setting up a 410 Gone status for those pages may be helpful when you recover your site.

That said, you should know that Google does not penalize pages for returning 404 or 410 status codes. If anything, the status codes allow you to inform Google of the situation of the URL.

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