3 Simple Ways to Turn-Off the Website for a Day


You have been working 16-20 hrs/day from the past 4-5 yrs. As, an independent business consultant you can’t afford to say no to new opportunities. Any potential client or customer can turn up at any point and you have to ensure that his/her calls are answered immediately.

But, taking time off from your daily schedule is important to relieve stress and stay focused. Following few options you can easily take a break from normalcy and spend some time to rejuvenate yourself;

Choice: If you simply intend to block users from purchasing things, then as per Mueller’s recommendation the ideal approach to accomplish this is to temporarily disable that functionality.

How: There are two ways to perform this;

One way is to build Robots.txt file can be used to block them crawling. However, there are few limitations associated with URL blocking method;

  • • Instructions in Robots.txt are directives only: Using other means such as blocking URLs by password-protecting your server directories is another alternative.
    • As, different crawlers read Syntax differently, so, proper & clear syntax must be written to direct different web crawlers
    • Robots.txt directives can’t stop references to your URLs from other sites; an alternative to this is using password-protecting your server directories or implementing no-index Meta tag. No-index Meta tag can be implemented as follow;

For most search engine web-crawlers: Add into <head> section of page:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

For Google web crawlers:

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”>

Choice: If whole site needs to be blocked from users, use an informational message or pop-up saying “temporarily service unavailable.”

How: Server should return 503 HTTP result code. This ensures temporary content doesn’t get indexed. Missing 503 result code; may result in indexing interstitial as main web content. To be on the safer side, it is recommended to use 503 request code not more than a week as; retaining this for a longer time may lead to drop in the content from SERPs.

Choice: Another alternative is to completely turn-off the server.

How: This can also, be done on physically moving a server to a different data center. For this, a temporary server must be available to direct 503 HTTP result code for all URLs (with a relevant informational page for users), and in that time span switch your DNS to point to that temporary server.

1. A few days in advance, set your DNS TTL at a low time(such as 5 mins)
2. Switch DNS to temporary server’s IP address
3. Switch off the main server, once all requests are directed to temporary server
4. Your server is now offline
5. Once the site is ready, let main server go online again and switch DNS back to main server.

Final Takeaway

The above mentioned points cover some of the essential points that can help if required to disable the site temporarily. Additionally, make sure to mention the opening hours if local listings has been done for business.

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