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There is a PHP project that sometimes throws 500 errors, I'm making a customized 500 page so that people realize we are monitoring this event and we will fix the issues.

My question is related to SEO

Should I still send the 500 header? Or should I make it look like a normal page and just not index it or something?

Is it a bad idea to remove the 500 header and use a normal 200?

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Not an exact duplicate, but Will “performing maintenance” page holder affect your seo and page rankings? If so, is there a better way to handle it? may be of interest to you. (Do keep sending the appropriate 5xx response code, in any case) –  danlefree Apr 27 '12 at 13:14
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Google likes to know if your pages are having trouble. In doing so it can keep up-to-date information of your pages. If you send back 500 error, Google + your users will know you are having problems and come back later. I suggest keeping the 500 response fix up the issue.

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