During an office hours hangout, an SEO professional was asking a follow-up question about a website outage.
His client is still seeking a website migration. And they don’t want to deal with any redirects from things like HTML files, CSS, and anything else.
His solution to the issue is to potentially take the entire website down for just an hour or so, and add it to the new server. Then, just for a couple of hours, perhaps one or two, add the 503 result code to the site, then bring the site back up.
Their main question is: is this the correct approach? How long should they use the 301 for? A couple of days, or for a month?
And should we just let Google understand that the migration has taken place from server A to server B?
John explained that it’s expected when a server migration takes place, that if you change your IP address or move from one server to another, you would keep all the URLs the same.
When all URLs are the same, you don’t need any redirects. From that perspective, it’s normal to not have any 301 redirects at all.
However, if you need to take the server down for a couple of hours, serving a 503 result code for those few hours is the desirable solution.
This happens at approximately the 2:37 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 1 2:37
Last week, you said if your website will be down for an outage, you can show a status code called a 503, not for a couple of more days, but for a day, it will work. So recently, my client is again, you know, trying for a server migration. To which he said, “We don’t want a lot of 301 redirects from images, the HTML files, and CSS and all that stuff. So what they were thinking is to just for an hour or so, just take the whole website down and add it to the new server.
And just for a couple of hours, let’s say one or two, the website will be like 503, and then it will be back again. So is it the right way? Like, is it going with the 301 for a couple of days, or a month? And let Google understand that we have migrated from server A to server B? or just down the website for a couple of hours?
And then, you know, again, showing up the website, since you know, just like us what migration happened, but it does not show you know, the computer, you know..
So usually that’s kind of expected where if you do a Server migration, in that you change your IP address, or you move from one server to a different server, then usually you would keep all of the URLs the same.
And if the URLs are the same, then you don’t need to do any redirects. So from that point of view, like not having 301 redirects in place is kind of normal. With regards to whether taking it down for an hour or two to do the migration is kind of the best approach, I don’t know.
I mean, ideally, you would not need to take your server down. But if you need to take your server down and if you can serve a 503 result code in the meantime, for that hour or two time that you need to move everything over. Usually that should be fine. From a search point of view, we will see that there’s a temporary error. We’ll try back after a couple of hours and if it works, then like perfectly fine. There shouldn’t be any effect at all in search.