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I have removed a forum system from my CMS and now I want to return an 410 status code whenever a search engine visits the former posts. I know that I have to use a number of Rewrite Rules to do the job, but I can't get them working.

The base URLs of the forum that I have removed are like these:

Posts -> mywebsite.com/forum-viewtopic-p-xxx.html

Topics -> mywebsite.com/forum-viewtopic-t-xxx.html

Subforums -> mywebsite.com/forum-viewforum-f-xxx.html

Taking that into account, these are a couple of examples of the code I have added to my .htaccess:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} forum-viewtopic
RewriteRule .* - [G]

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} forum-viewforum
RewriteRule .* - [G]

I don't know that I am doing wrong, but the HTTP headers of these forum posts show a '404 Not Found message' instead of a 410 error.

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Based on the sample URL's you provided, its good to use these lines at the top of your .htaccess file in the document root folder (where index.html normally is located):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^forum-view(.*)$ - [NC,R=410,L]

That way, all links starting with forum-view regardless of whether the word is upper or lower case or a mix of casing will be redirected to the gone status (That's what R=410 means). Also, L is included to indicate rule processing ends there if there's a match to prevent further rules later on from messing things up. The .* means any or more characters and I enclosed it in paranthesis for simplicity.

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%{QUERY_STRING} referrs to everything after the ? in the URL. Your URL doesn't have a question mark, so it isn't matching it.

You just want to make sure the that the URL contains forum-viewtopic or forum-viewforum to return 410 gone status. This single rule should do it:

RewriteRule forum-viewtopic|forum-viewforum - [G]

Another option that would be even simpler:

RewriteRule forum-view - [G]

Or maybe you want it to say "anything that starts with 'forum'":

RewriteRule ^forum - [G]

You could also use mod_alias's RedirectMatch directive rather than using mod_rewrite:

RedirectMatch gone /forum.*

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