404 → 302

A simple gesture for an evergreen Web.

What if links never died? What if we never broke the Web? What if it didn’t involve any extra work?

It’s possible. And easy.

Just make your 404s into 302s.

Thoughts, suggestions, and contributions welcome:



Aral Balkan @aral

PS. Looks like archive.org tried to index the missing page and so the final 404 now forwards to Yahoo Domains! 🤦

(I’m currently downloading a local copy of my old Geocities page so I can serve – and back it up – myself and I’ll update the link in the example once that’s ready. Also flying to Belgium today to kickstart a very exciting project that we’re collaborating on with the City of Ghent so apologies if it’s not fixed immediately.)

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@aral I really like the message of trying to get web publishers to think about creating their own archives, instead of relying on the Internet Archive blog.archive.org/2013/10/24/we A distributed web needs a distributed archive, and many different types of archives.

The first step of "Backup your current site to a subdomain" is the hardest part I think. While it's relatively easy for a static site, what does it mean for a dynamic web application?

@inkdroid It was badly worded, I didn’t mean backup as in a static backup, I meant “serve your old site from a different subdomain.” So, even for dynamic sites, mostly a trivial DNS change. The use case doesn’t really extend to pages that require a login.

@aral if the host name is simply an alias to the current website how is that an archive — how can its contents persist after the main site changes or has content deleted from it?

Right, now serving a downloaded copy of my Geocities site instead of hitting @internetarchive directly so the examples on 4042302.org should all work perfectly now.

Also: testament to how quickly you can set up a different version of your site with this technique :)

@aral interesting idea to redirect to past versions of the site on subdomains. I just use a big .htaccess file with lots of redirection rules but I find your idea intriguing.
As for GeoCities I just found a few days ago that archive.org archived the last copy of my site before GeoCities went down. I don’t know if my local copy is as good as that. I should check.
alexschroeder.ch/geocities/ken (that color theme!!)