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Taking Site Offline For A Couple Of Hours ?

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#1 rjohnson


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Posted 05 April 2008 - 06:26 PM

I will be taking my server offline for a couple of hours, and that includes the site as well.
Could you give me some ideas as to what i should do to display a message to all users,
and how would this possibly affect search engine rankings if they index me at those times.

The only option I can think of is to setup an alternate ww2.domainname.com
and point it to another server and display the offline message there.
The other server would have a completely different IP and would be in a completely different city, and would only serve to display the offline message to users.


#2 saschaeh


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Posted 05 April 2008 - 07:08 PM

I dont think you need to worry to much if it is only for couple hours.

Do it on the day that you have least traffic, probably Sunday sometime. I don't think the search engines will have a problem with it but lets see what that others say.

#3 kulpreet_singh


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Posted 05 April 2008 - 07:20 PM

I would suggest you only take down those parts which need to be taken down, and provide links to the parts that are still up. Also I would include a support link or a contact form.

Also I would give an estimate of how long the site will be down and try to stick to that timeline.

As far as I understand, if you are optimizing for a particular city, moving your servers to another state/country might affect it. However, if you are just optimizing for particular keywords, it should not affect your ranking.

#4 rjohnson


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Posted 05 April 2008 - 08:58 PM

thanks for the help. Really useful.
Ive decided to display a simple message page, and wont worry at all about the 2 hours down (as far as SEO goes).

#5 AbleReach


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Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:11 PM

My favorite "site down for maintenance" message is SitePoint's. They have a message that offers a pretty good discount on purchases made while the site is down. A link leads to the purchase page for their big list of books and kits. I think that's both thoughtful and smart.

#6 JohnMu


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Posted 06 April 2008 - 03:07 AM

Hi rjohnson

Here's what I would do:
- reduce DNS TTL to a minimum (5 minutes?) (this needs to be done in advance to allow propagation to all clients)
- set up an alternate server
- change the DNS over to the alternate server when you're taking down the site
- have the alternate server return result code 503 (for crawlers) with a readable message (for users)
- when you're done, restore the DNS

Done :)

By returning code 503 the search engines will know that the site is just away for maintenance and will continue to crawl it later on as if nothing happened.


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