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I have been working on a blog via wordpress that was setup through my hosting account for a while now. I currently have a plugin called, "Restricted Site Access 4.0 for WordPress" that displays a restriction message to visitors that prevents them from seeing the actual site.
I plan to deactive the plugin upon finishing but was wondering if this affects the SEO or SERP?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 2 '12 at 15:40

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You should install a plugin in your browser to view the status code the plugin is returning.

If it's restricting access it may be returning a 403 which is not advised when you're developing a site you should return a 410 server under maintenance. This tells Google and others yes your sites there, working but under maintenance so come back later. With this they wont cache your page.

Ideally though you should put up some content relevant to the final site and be working in a development environment that is not accessible at all by bots. Leaving them your main domain with the basic relevant content on your site to begin getting cached.

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Should i immediately do what you mentioned with adding relevant content in the meantime if it is indeed a 500 error? (see above). Is this going to severely hurt my SERP or is something that is easy to recover from? – sammich Aug 2 '12 at 19:43
I would add some content to them and let Google begin crawling them. Develop your sites locally or on another server then add it when ready – Anagio Aug 3 '12 at 1:27
ok. what about developing on a subdomain of the main domain with separate databases? say main domain is www.example.com and the subdomain is dev.example.com. In terms of SEO, not sure if true but upon further research, i've heard if your sub domain has the same content as your main, this could hurt your SERP as google bots view these as content duplication. If this is true, couldn't you bypass this with a 503 error http header response? – sammich Aug 3 '12 at 1:53
Just make sure your subdomain is password protected – Anagio Aug 3 '12 at 3:03

I can't give more information without seeing the site, but the point of that plugin is to restrict access to all user-agents. If you're developing on production and not letting visitors in without authorisation, chances are spiders from Google etc. can't get in to crawl the site.

Use a header checker on your site. I recommend WebBug by Aman Software.

If the HTTP header on your homepage is anything other than a 200 OK (500 Error, 401 Authorisation Required, etc.) then your SERP rankings are going to be heavily affected, as Google will not be able to crawl your pages.

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i downloaded the software, entered the url and executed the head option and got the following: HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2012 19:33:37 GMT Server: Apache Connection: close Content-Type: text/html But using another alternative such as, web-sniffer.net, I got a different response: I entered the url, chose http/1.1, request type: head, user agent: googlebot http response header: Status: HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error I think the latter is correct but I’m not sure. Any idea? – sammich Aug 2 '12 at 19:34
This plugin has been activated for a few months now. IF it is indeed a 500 error, are there any ways to alleviate this? – sammich Aug 2 '12 at 19:40

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