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HTTP Error Response Codes by BOP5 (Help reduce "soft 404" errors for improved SEO) Details »
HTTP Error Response Codes by BOP5 (Help reduce "soft 404" errors for improved SEO)
Mod Version: 2.2.1, by BirdOPrey5 (IB Staff) BirdOPrey5 is offline
Developer Last Online: Jul 2019 I like it Show Printable Version Email this Page

vB Version: 3.8.x Rating: (2 votes - 5.00 average) Installs: 21
Released: 11 Mar 2014 Last Update: 27 May 2014 Downloads: 76
Supported Uses Plugins Re-usable Code  

Brought to you by BirdOPrey5 /

This issue was brought to my attention by Sherrie at TAZ in this thread.

The issue is that when Google crawls a site and runs into the vBulletin No Permission message or other standard vBulletin error pages vBulletin gives the standard "200" HTTP response code which means everything is OK, even though there is no real content on these pages. Therefore Google considers these "soft errors" and they can damage overall SEO of your site if there are too many of them.

What this does is make vBulletin return standard HTTP "Error" responses- by default 403 (Not Authorized) for No Permission pages and 404 (Not Found) for general error messages. When Google sees these responses (as opposed to 200) it knows not to bother indexing the page and everyone is happy.

As of version 2.2 new options have been added to return custom response codes when the forum is closed or when the forum is busy. It will also send a retry header telling the crawler they can try again later. As of version 2.0 there is also a separate response code for search.php errors.

A limitation of this mod is it works best with PHP 5.4.0 or higher. As of version 2.0 If you are on an older version of PHP it may not work, but it should not cause any errors, so it is worth trying.

There are no instructions, once installed it is enabled by default. In Admin CP -> Settings -> Options -> HTTP Error Responses by BOP5 you can enable/disable the mod and choose the response codes you want for the two different error types. You can use any standard HTTP response code available from this list at wikipedia.

The mod works fine on VB 3.x or 4.x including VB 3.8.8 (still in Beta) and VB 4.2.2.

To test that it is working use a free online status checker such as:
(Note the site will cache your result for a while so test with a unique URL each time.)

Before you install the mod any URL that will show a no-permission or other vBulletin error will show a status code of 200. After installing the same page will show a 403, 404, or other code that you have configured.

Added Boothby as a "co-author" as thanks for his contribution of code and ideas.


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Similar Mod
Mod Developer Type Replies Last Post
Mini Mods HTTP Error Response Codes by BOP5 (Soft 404 Solution) BirdOPrey5 vBulletin 4.x Add-ons 138 14 Jan 2017 18:57

Old 30 May 2014, 01:13
Gadget_Guy Gadget_Guy is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Not that I am aware of.

I opened a ticket with my hosting company for them to check logs and stuff.

Maybe they will find something.

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Old 27 Apr 2015, 21:30
samba7 samba7 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014

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