February 8, 2012

Shutting Down Some Websites

I recently decided to prune some websites that I was hosting, mostly ideas that I set up and then never took anywhere. Tammy had also decided to take her blog, Smaller Than a Redwood, down. I could have just deleted them but I wanted to be a good net.citizen” and not give people 404 Page not found” errors but instead the more appropriate 410 Gone” message. Here is a simple way to do this with nginx.

First, I catch the websites main configuration which I keep in a file for each site in /opt/etc/nginx/sites-available. I try to keep these configurations really simple, just handling the URLs, ports and then doing the application configuration in an include.

# Redirect to non-www hostname
server {
  listen 80;
  listen [::]:80;
  server_name www.roadsignwordplay.com;
  rewrite ^ http://roadsignwordplay.com$request_uri? permanent;
}

server {
  listen   80;
  listen   [::]:80;
  server_name roadsignwordplay.com;
  include /opt/etc/nginx/site-gone;
}

The include line then pulls in this configuration. I pointed this at a new directory in /srv/www so that any files that the site used to have could be left wherever they are. I also turn on an access log so I can easily see how many people are still going to the website. I still do a try_files because I have a robots.txt to help search engines know to go away. The important part is returning a 410 status and not a 404. The 410 is then handled by the @site-gone rule.

# this config is loaded into sites that are dead
root /srv/www/site-gone/public_html;
access_log /srv/www/site-gone/logs/$host-access.log;
error_log /srv/www/site-gone/logs/error.log ;

location / {
  try_files $uri =410;
}

error_page 410 @site-gone;
location @site-gone {
  rewrite ^(.*)$ /site-gone.html break;
}

Voila! Site is now gone”. I whipped up a simple HTML page to serve so people would know that the site was no longer available. And with that I wish Smaller Than a Redwood, Road Sign Wordplay, Road Sign Bingo, MediaWiki Cookbook, Sandbox Wiki and thinglesBot farewell!


nginx Techie


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