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Fixed 403 Error for poll result ID not exist

Discussion in 'Resolved Bug Reports' started by caoanh204, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. caoanh204

    caoanh204 Active Member


    + I create a poll for threads domain.com/threads/topic.123/ with 5 poll responses (poll_response_id: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) .

    + Then, I edit this poll to remove 3 poll responses (poll_response_id: 1, 3, 5).

    + But after that when I access to old link: domain.com/threads/topic.123/poll/results?poll_response_id=1 or 3 or 5, it's return "Error : You do not have permission to view this page or perform this action."

    + And In Google Webmaster Tool, I got so much 403 error.

    I think after we delete poll responses, it must to return 404 to notify with crawler it had deleted.

    P/s: Xenforo use too 403 header, it's not good for SEO.
  2. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    This is not correct and a common misconception.

    If every page on your site was throwing a 403, sure. Bad. Very bad. But if a handful of pages deep within your site return a 403 response, it's fine and perfectly expected and acceptable.

    Arguably the error there could be a 404, but, really, it doesn't matter either way. Both responses will ultimately cause Google to stop trying to index that URL. It will not penalise you for this.
  3. caoanh204

    caoanh204 Active Member

    No. You are wrong. I had 2 site (1 site use xenforo, 1 site non-xenforo) banned/limited by Google because so much 403 forbidden error, I'm sure, the site using xenforo had banned from 1 month after I convert vBulletin to Xenforo, vBulletin use very small 403 header.

    Common 403 error on xenforo:

    + 403 on profile page of banned user (my forum has ~8.000 banned -> 8.000 403 error)

    + 403 on profile page of user limit who can view (very much people limit -> very much 403 error, with vBulletin or Facebook profile page, it still return 200 header with/without meta robots noindex, and show some basic info of user, only hide some tab like: visitor message, about me...)

    + 403 on /posts/id or /goto/

    + 403 on deleted poll results.

    + 403 for every page ask permission to access.

    This is traffic of my site from 1/7/2013 to 1/7/2014, I had convert my forum to XenForo on 1/7/2013, traffic increase about 1 month, and on 6/8/2014 my site had limit by google, lost 70% traffic

  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Well-Known Member

    XenForo uses 403 when appropriate as it is the error code for "Forbidden", aka, no permission.

    As an anti-spam method, banned profiles are limited in who can see them. Limited profiles function in the same manner. Now let's take your Facebook argument and compare. Facebook contains all user content and information on profiles, and when I limit my profile, there's still some public information that can be accessed: my name, profile picture, various tid bits of small data. Returning a 403 is inappropriate for this scenario as you get a valid response.
    Amaury likes this.
  5. Mike

    Mike XenForo Developer Staff Member

    I have adjusted the error in this case, but 403 is the correct response code when someone tries to view something they don't have permission to see. While you saw a drop, it could be from all matter of things, including various Google algorithm changes (August 6th is the announced HTTPS change so there was likely an update there). I haven't found anything to backup the claim that 403s are a problem (when they're expected).
    caoanh204 and Chris D like this.
  6. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    I've seen one off articles by "SEO experts" but nothing conclusive.
  7. caoanh204

    caoanh204 Active Member

    Thanks for your response. But that is my typing mistake, 6/8/2013 not 6/8/2014, my site had limited by google over 1 year, lost 70% traffic after 1 month since I convert my forum from vbulletin to xenforo.

    But now, I'd found and edit hard code to remove some 403 header (banned user, limit user...), my site had increase again.

    This is my GA last 3 month:
    ekool likes this.

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