Tag Archives: errors

Google & ‘Soft 404’

Many of us who manage websites are familiar with Google’s ‘Search Console‘. The search console is a way for webmasters to manage how Google interacts with our web sites. It provides functions to tell Google what parts of the site to search, what parts to ignore, and determine what pages are doing better than others.

One of the functions it provides is a way to see what parts of a web site that Google has indexed and what part it hasn’t. It also can tell what parts of a site it is ignoring and, to a certian extent, why it’s ignoring them.

One of the reasons that Google might be ignoring a page is because it’s been to be determined to be a ‘Soft 404’.

What’s a Soft 404 error?

Well, a REAL 404 error is a page not found. It’s a function of the web server software. Most web servers provide the ability to use a custom page when a 404 error is encountered. You can see an example of one here.

As for a ‘Soft 404’ … according to Google …

A soft 404 means that a URL on your site returns a page telling the user that the page does not exist and also a 200-level (success) code to the browser.


While some sites might actually do that … handle a page not found error with a friendly page but indicate to the browser that it’s a normal page (200 status code) … I suspect it’s actually a minority of sites (granted, it may be a way to game the system).

However … it turns out that pages that contain the words ‘not found’, ‘error’, ‘authorized’, ‘not allowed’, etc., in the title or body are often treated by Google as a soft 404 error … even if the page isn’t a 404 at all. Additionally, the words do not even need to appear on the page at all. The details of what constitutes a ‘soft 404’ are very mysterious.

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ReadyNAS and SMART Errors

As some of you may be aware, I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the “SMART” feature of hard drives.

Rarely have I had the SMART capabilities of a hard drive actually tell me that the drive was going to fail.

Recently I had an encounter with SMART errors in a totally different way.

Basically, my ReadyNAS NV+ storage server was telling me that “Disk 1” was having problems and might fail soon … but all my tests indicated that the drives were fine.

After a lot of hassle, and going back and forth with Netgear support, I finally figured out the problem.

It started a few weeks ago with an email the ReadyNAS sent

Reallocated sector count has increased in the last day.

Disk  1: Previous count: 671 Current count: 677

Growing SMART errors indicate a disk that may fail soon.  If the
errors continue to increase, you should be prepared to replace the

The odd thing was, the SMART information on the drives, that was available via the ReadyNAS web interface, did not indicate any of the 4 drives currently installed had any reallocated sectors.

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