Recovering from a broken heart in HTTP status codes

14 August 2010 | dating

Sometimes a breakup is a breath of fresh air and sometimes it causes chest pain. The stages below are for the chest pain moments. I’ve totally been there. If you’re there now, maybe HTTP can help you through. HTTP helps everything.


I often think of myself as a website with several facets/folders. It’s a pre-req for this whole post so please bear with me. Imagine you’re a structure like:

(yeah, you’re a real winner.)


Just kidding. If you’re into the subdomain vs. subdirectory debate, that’s fine. I made subdirectories because that’s what came to me, but feel free to knock yourself out with subdomains.


Now imagine that you’ve been dumped (or you dumped the other person, whatever). And your feelings are just not cooperating. In a word, you feel “sadness.” That sucks, but it’s human, and of course things gets better — it’s like working on your website.


Stage I
503s across the entire domain is down. This is the equivalent to being in shock. Life is difficult.


Foo: Bar, I heard the news… how you doing?
Bar: Site-wide 503.
Foo: Sorry, dude.


Stage II (optional)
404s across
503s or 200s nearly everywhere else


This stage is optional and can last weeks/months/until you find someone else attractive. Never been at this stage myself, but sometimes in movies you’ll hear dialogue like:


Friend: I know Jack broke your heart, but how about I set you up with Dave? He’s a nice guy.
Main character: I know you’re trying to help, but no Jack, no Dave. I swear off all men completely .


Stage III
200s everywhere except…
503s for romantic-interest/


Hooray, you’re functioning! This can be a really productive stage. I bet the content on has expanded. And with all your free time, you might even have new folders: and


Stage IV
302 temporary redirect from
200s everywhere else


Also known as the “rebound.” Try not to make the target of your redirect 200 on the domains or The key to Stage IV is that’s it’s a 302, not a 301.


Stage V
200s everywhere, including romantic-interest/


Yay for life! The orb is green. Backend ready to publish unique content. Your frontend always turning heads.

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