New SEO tool: Server response code tester

Ian Lurie

AKA: The Responsinator

Lee Odden, Todd Malicoat, Jonathan Allen and I did a site clinic/lab at SES San Francisco last week. Of 5 sites we reviewed, 4 delivered the wrong response codes if I:

  • Visited a broken link on the site. A server should respond with a ‘404’ error code. Most of these servers instead sent a 302 redirect code.
  • Visited a non ‘www’ version of the domain where the domain included ‘www’, or vice-versa. I’d expect a normal web server to send me from ‘’ to ‘’ or vice-versa via a 301 redirect. But noooooo. Not these sites. They all either used 302 redirects, effectively chopping all site authority off at the knees, or they just sat there, staring at me.

Then I spot-checked a few other sites. They all did it wrong, too. I have a feeling there are a lot of servers out there delivering completely incorrect responses:

Your browser says “Hi, can I see that web page, please?”

The server responds “My, but your carrot gets good gas mileage.”

Total chaos.

I started to feel a little insulted. Doesn’t anyone read my article about server response codes?

But I got over it. Instead, I wrote a quick little tool you can use to test your server’s (and your webmaster’s) mental stability.

It’s pretty self-explanatory: Try it here

[ The Responsinator ]

Important note!!!! I am storing the results of all these tests. I’m not going to use it to hunt you down. In fact, I have no idea who you are. I just want to see how many servers out there are correctly configured. I promise. Someday, I may hatch a plan to steal your personal data, stalk you and make millions by redirecting your GameSpy subscription to my house. Today is not that day.

Other stuff


Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action


  1. Awesome tool.
    Though I’m not sure if code 200 is all fine with my domain that’s suppose to redirect to my other domain but well… obviously software doesn’t know this. But anyway – thanks, just found one issue with it! 🙂

  2. Ian, great job.
    Much more user friendly than the other server response tools, especially for those who may be new to server response codes.
    I understand it’s just meant to be a quick tool, but if you had it check to see if the non-www was redirecting to the www (and how) that would be really cool too.

  3. Hey Ian, great tool.
    Though you should note in the url field to not include http://
    I’m torn; our server responds with a 406 header because the content type requested (aspx/php) isn’t appropriate, are you of the opinion we should bulk standard 404 anything other than the correct content type(s).

  4. @Sam I’m not 100% sure, but Google has cited a preference for 404 and 410’s. Somehow I doubt they’d ding you – a 40x means ‘that page isn’t here’.

Comments are closed.

Close search overlay