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Overview and background

Overview

The HTTP status message guidelines provides templates and advice to guide best practice implementation of common resource management scenarios for Queensland Government websites and web applications.

Implementing these guidelines will result in:

  • reduced incidence of broken links for organisations linking to Queensland Government websites (and reduced urgency of maintenance for updating links to moved resources for those organisations)
  • persistence of search engine ranking (even when resources are moved)
  • increased confidence in directly linking to Queensland Government web resources (otherwise known as deep linking)
  • a more consistent, quality user experience for users entering Queensland Government websites other than from the homepage (for example: via bookmarks, search engine results pages or emailed links).

Background

The appropriate and consistent use of HTTP response statuses and HTTP headers forms an important part of the overall CUE URL and resource management strategy:

  1. Design URLs to last and avoid changing them (see the URL design guidelines for detail on implementation)
  2. If a resource must be moved or removed, handle the situation using appropriate HTTP responses that will ensure the persistence of the URL for as long as possible.

It is therefore important that the Queensland Government takes a consistent approach to the design and appropriate use of HTTP status messages. This means that not only the content of responses but the HTTP headers sent must be consistent across Queensland Government agencies.

Please note that the statuses discussed in this document do not represent an exhaustive list and web application and web service developers may encounter situations not covered in this document. It is therefore important to be familiar with the full range of response statuses available and choose the appropriate status on a case-by-case basis.

See HTTP/1.1 - Status code definitions for the full list of available statuses.