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

Lynne Pope lynne.pope at gmail.com
Tue Mar 10 01:11:15 GMT 2009

2009/3/10 Daiv Mowbray <daiv at daivmowbray.com>

> Why don't you just use the Dunstan-style Error Page plugin
> <http://www.andrewferguson.net/wordpress-plugins/dunstan-style-error-page/
> >
> and get as user friendly as you want.

That's an oldie but a goodie ;)

I had the same issue with calendars when I built that site. Its been around
since July 2000 so there was potential for a whole lot of monthly "not
found" results. I got around this by making sure my archives only published
months for which there is content (you can see that here:

I remember having a similar discussion years ago with another open source
project. They decided that monthly archives should return a 200 response and
not send users to the 404 page. This was changed on the next release after
search engines started returning results for links like:
I had one site that had thousands upon thousands of results in search
engines, for non-existent "content" dating from 1972 to 2300. (Search
engines are a bit smarter now, but not too smart!)

Search engines need a 40x response if content doesn't exist. Users just need
a useful 404 page that tells them how to quickly find related content or
seek help if they need it.


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