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Return HTTP 503 instead of 200 for "Update in progress" page


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When upgrading IPB the webserver will return



Update in progress
We're sorry, this web site is unavailable while an update is in progress.

You can try again by clicking the button below, or try again later.


for every page requested during the upgrade.

With Invision Community v4.4.3 that page is returned with Status: 200 OK

This is a problem because web crawlers like GoogleBot visiting any page while the upgrade is going on will index these "update in progress" pages instead of the actual content (I guess it's the same issue when an admin manually disables the site via Settings -> General Configuration -> Site Online).

Best practice is to reply with 503 Temporarily Not available instead of 200 OK when replying with such an "site is offline / update is going on" page.

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We did this originally, but then site monitoring tools (which a lot of webmasters use to ensure their site remains online) would start going haywire whenever an upgrade was being performed.

Presently, we do send a 503 if:

  • You are not on our Community In The Cloud services
  • OR you are logged in
  • OR you are a search engine spider

So, generally speaking, most users do get a 503 response during the upgrade. 🙂

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We only return a 200 status code if this is a (non-spider) guest and you are on our CiC offerings. Again, the reason for this is to limit the confusion and panic that can ensue when a site is "offline" for 5 minutes to perform a maintenance update. We normally send a 503 response header when the site is being updated.

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