[wp-hackers] Should Monthly Archive Pages ever return 404?

Jess Planck jess at funroe.net
Mon Mar 9 18:56:18 GMT 2009

Problem is there is not a proper HTTP error code that I could find  
dealing with your situation. Correct me if I am wrong.

404 means not found. There are a couple of 3xx error codes, but I  
don't think any would apply to a guessed URI like your example. Giving  
a guessed URI a 200 is probably not appropriate.

Building a useful 404 is probably the best way to go. You can make  
them quite complicated and keep your 404 functionality in your theme.  
I typically use at the minimum a site page list and search form. My  
personal theme framework injects a "report broken link" form allowing  
visitors to send a notice with their e-mail address if they get there  
with a referrer. Sniffing the URI for some archive, category, tag,  
etc. wouldn't be too hard and might be a nice idea for some sites. I  
like that.

A 404 is important and personally I really wouldn't want to promote  
bad habits of URI guessing by visitors.


[  :P  ]  jess planck  -  http://funroe.net

On Mar 9, 2009, at 1:38 PM, Mike Schinkel wrote:

> The problem with a "helpful 404 page" is that such a 404 page must  
> know about all potential error states in a system to be helpful vs.  
> allowing the pages that already know about "the error states" to  
> take action.  It would seem to me a lot more appropriate for a page  
> to be able to "punt" and say "Ya know, I consider this a 404" if it  
> wants to trigger such a use case rather than having to modify the  
> 404 for every potential error situation.  This is like having a  
> function called "display page" with a case statement that hard-codes  
> (i.e. doesn't delegate to any other code) what to display for each  
> URL; it's crazy architecture.

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