Someone here might have experience with this problem (it's not my personal problem and never has been):

Say you have a customer who is an observant Jew and he wants his site to be offline somehow (or at least online but unavailable for surfing) during Saturday - Shabat in Hebrew, Sabbath in English.

Is there a way to achieve this goal without causing SEO problem of any kind to the site?

The way I can think of is a full-screen Lightbox that will cover all the site with a small message, but might not actually hurt the SEO as the site itself will be online but without surfing.

  • 7
    The website for a christian conservative political party as in The Netherlands is off-line on Sunday. The same is true for its newspaper. The entire page is replaced by a single message that they do not offer information on Sundays.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:22
  • 7
    You might find useful advice, at least insofar as how the rules about what is and is not allowed can be interpreted, here : judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2799 , judaism.stackexchange.com/q/9304 , judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2671
    – J...
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:44
  • 19
    Remember that Jewish days start and end at sunset, not midnight, so to do this correctly you may need code to calculate the time of sunset as understood by your customer or their rabbi.
    – bdsl
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 14:46
  • 4
    While the site owner is Jewish, the site is not. ;-) It is one thing that a non-observant site takes orders while an observant site owner not process the order until the sabbath is over.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 15:32
  • 5
    Shouldn't the server and everything else be turned off to be compliant, that goes for all electrical devices and machinery as well?
    – NiKiZe
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 17:18

17 Answers 17


Check out how B&H Photo/Video handles this. They allow the site to remain active but inactivate the cart functions.

This handles the no work/commerce on the sabbath.

There will be an SEO issue if you deny access to the content.

enter image description here

  • 9
    Wikipedia says: [B&H Photo] is owned by Herman Schreiber. Schreiber and many of the store's employees are observant Satmar Hasidic Jews who close the store on Shabbat, most Jewish holidays (except for Hanukkah, when business dealings are permitted), and Christmas. The website remains open, but orders are not taken or shipped between Friday evening and Saturday evening and on Jewish holidays. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 14:54
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    +1 for a real life example. For a better customer experience, you might want to suggest something where customers can put orders into a queue, which isn't processed until the day ends. This way you're less likely to lose or frustrate customers who don't want to, forget to, or can't come back later. (whether the client wants to is of course their decision, but if they accept this compromise, it's much better for the customer) Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 0:44
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    As other comments here point out, accepting eCommerce orders on Shabbat could entice other Jews to be non-observant. Shutting down the shopping cart on Shabbat would prevent that. Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 0:35
  • The observant-jew customer might say it's problematic if the servers owned by Jews and especially inside the holy land (Israel or/as-well Palestine) since it will cause Jews to act as "Mehalel Shabat" (what you can define as "desecrator of the Sabbath").
    – user58733
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 8:45
  • 1
    Nice example. I think some comments/suggestions about servers not needing a day off are not considering that if you take orders at a particular time, you may be expected or required to provide customer service. (This question is relevant for any time a company will have no workers available, such as major holidays.)
    – Tim Grant
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 13:27

Remind your customer that the webserver is not Jewish and doesn't need the day off to go to the local synagogue. The functions of the site can remain active and any incoming inquiries can simply wait until Monday. The customer's physical store can certainly turn everything off and thus will not be "doing business" on Shabbat.

If they really want it "offline" I would do a javascript function to cover the page with a "Closed today" layer rather than disabling the site. If you go that route, also remind the customer that "Saturday" also has to have a timezone attached. Your Saturday morning is someone else's Friday evening.

  • 16
    "Your Saturday morning is someone else's Friday evening." - But it is the site owner that is observing the Sabbath, not necessarily the customer (that's their business). In the same way a shop might close at 5pm - that's 5pm where the shop owner is located, not where the customer is located.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:44
  • 16
    This... I've heard that you can setup lights to automatically switch on/off, coffee pots to automatically brew coffee, roomba's to clean, etc... You do the "Work" of setting up this stuff during the week and You do nothing on the day of rest. If that is true and accepted, why wouldn't this be? You do nothing on the Sabbath, yet the work happens because of your diligence during the week and you have a busy start to the week.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 13:20
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    @WernerCD see the Q&A of judaism.SE linked by J in the question comments. Although not a consensus in the Judaic community, leaving a website running during Sabbath (and NOT checking it) is analogous to receiving mail on the mailbox. As long as you don't interact with it, the website routines aren't considered work. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 14:36
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    The first paragraph seems inappropriate. You're the customer's webmaster, not his rabbi, and you're in no position to instruct him as to what his religion does or does not require. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 15:04
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    @WernerCD Probably not a lot. That's my point. Just because this person answering this question (who may or may not even be Jewish) claims that the web servers don't need to take a break, that doesn't mean the OP's rabbi would tell him the same thing. The question takes for granted that the website owner wants his website to be down on Shabbat.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:57

I haven't thought about this before. But I believe it will probably hurt your SEO but might not if you do it right. You will need to make sure to retrieve a "503 Service Unavailable" http header status, for. Then make sure to tell google or other bots to comeback in X time. To do this you need to create a php file with the script to create a header with the appropiate instructions I will do something like this:

  • 1) Create a 503-http-status.php page
  • 2) In that page insert the headers information with a php script to tell google to comeback in XX:XX:XX time
  • 3) Make sure to write the .htaccess every 7 days or Saturdays with instructions to direct traffic to your 503-http-status.php page. Something like this:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^111\.111\.111\.111
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/503-http-status.php$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* /503-http-status.php [R=302,L]
  • 9
    You shouldn't redirect to a 503 because the user-agent first sees the 302 status code, not a 503. See webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/55635/…
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:27
  • 5
    "Make sure to write the .htaccess every 7 days or Saturdays" - This could be automated in .htaccess with the %{TIME_WDAY} server variable (6 is Saturday). (Although I thought the Jewish Sabbath includes Friday evening, which complicates it somewhat.)
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:40
  • @w3dk you are right about the 302 status code. All I am saying is that you should retrieve 503 in headers information AND it was pretty obvious to me that you will not be writing to the htaccess file every 7 days manually
    – Raul Reyes
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 10:02
  • 3
    If it's obvious to you then why not state that in your answer? It's not obvious to anyone reading your answer.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 18:02

Removing the website during one day will hurt SEO, but not as much. Depending on the traffic, some crawlers (the ones not scheduled to visit your site during Sabbath) won't even notice. But it will hurt for the users and for the others.

Putting a lightbox or a javascript code is not the best solution either, because it can be bypassed/disabled easily.

One solution is to set a server-side routine that changes the main page to a "closed for Sabbath" version, with the main controls disabled.

But your customer is going too far. From what was gathered in judaism.SE, there is little problem to leave automated systems run during the Sabbath, as long as they don't interact with the people observing Sabbath.

So a more sensible option is to leave the site running, and just disable automated notifications (email, sms, app) to the owners, and/or disable either the user login page or the shopping cart. This way users won't be able to "shop" during Sabbath.

But you can Tell your customer there is no problem on leaving the website on, even if it is E-commerce.

From judaism.stackexchange:

The Torah says you need to let your animals rest; what about your machinery? ("Shvisas keilim"). We follow Beis Hillel that it's not a problem, so your server can go on doing whatever it was doing.

There's also the problem of doing business on shabbos. A more complicated case is leaving my online store open on Shabbos (then after shabbos, you read the orders and ship them); Rabbi Heinemann shlit'a first prohibited this, but then reconsidered and allowed it. It's somewhat analogous to people putting envelopes in your mail slot; you deal with them after Shabbos.

(emphasis mine)

From another question:

http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/halacha/Issue7.pdf mentions that one can keep a vending machine open on shabbos, because the pay one is getting is paid "Behavlaah" (Though I don't understand why, unless we're dealing with a contractor). When one buys and sells through the internet, the transaction isn't finalized for a few days. Moreover, then it isn't "Schar Shabbos" because the work that one is getting paid for took place before Shabbos.

Credits to J for linking the questions in the comments above.

  • 1
    I'm not sure the fact that a lightbox or other JS solution can be easily bypassed. You might liken it to putting a closed sign on an insecure storefront. People can still "break in", but at that point it is on the customer. Actively stopping the ordering process makes sense in this case.
    – wedstrom
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 23:45
  • Everything can be bypassed. There is surely a sanity limit to the amount of inconvenience you are required to go through to prevent "making it easier for others". So someone has found a domain where a ban could be technologically enforced. Doesn't mean it makes sense to do so - the numerous arguments against it shouldn't just be dismissed as excuses. We are talking about an unattended process little different from a solar power plant - are those deactivated on Shabat? Are interest rates suspended?
    – kaay
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 10:36
  • @wedstrom I really think that turning off the shopping cart / checkout is the way to go IF the client cannot be convinced otherwise. You leave the catalog on (so people can browse - there is no "work" by your part even if they are browsing a physical store) and the cart reactivates come sunday. The lightbox is just there for the sake of a complete answer attempting to exaust all options. Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 12:29

Should never mix business & religion.

I assume during Sabbath, you don't do business or any transaction. If that's your objective, you don't need to bring your complete website down.

The best possible solution would be

  1. If it is a ECommerce business, then in check out page have a message/wishes/whatever to your client on this Sabbath. This way, you can capture the leads and inform about your current situation. Next day, you can call the client and do the business / transaction

  2. If it is a service, then in Contact us page or a popup with in home page with message/wishes/whatever, then it conveys the message without bringing your website down.

I hope, it solves the problem.

  • 23
    Business should never be mixed with anything, but religion mixes with everything. Like it or not, this is not an uncommon request.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 8:37
  • 5
    "Should never mix business & religion" is a bit like saying "should never mix walking and talking." Of course they're going to mix. Business can't be excluded from religious life, nor vice versa.
    – LarsH
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 17:32
  • 10
    @LarsH Especially in Judaism which has entire halakhic volumes about business.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:46
  • 2
    When you take religion seriously as a way of life, it affects everything you do, just ask my Mormon and Seventh Day Adventist friends and my Catholic ancestors. And closing your store one day a week isn't forcing your religion on anyone, in fact in the case of several very successful businesses I deal with, it merely gives the competition a fair chance. And it's merely doing what is done in Brick'n Mortar, we're not all pressed to kill ourselves going 24/7. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 15:47

If the search engines are working correctly then they will be able to tell that the site is unavailable on a Saturday and is therefore potentially less useful to some people than a site that is available seven days a week.

Although it might be possible to trick the search engines into not noticing that for a time, such tricks are unreliable and have the potential to do more damage if the search engines detect that you're trying to trick them.

So I would think that's not reasonable to expect to make the main function of the site unavailable for a day every week without reducing search engine rankings.

  • 2
    The search engines don't even have to observe this directly. They rank sites by number of links, and someone updating their website on a Saturday is unlikely to link to a site that doesn't load. Other website operators might also remove links if their visitors complain that the site doesn't load.
    – bdsl
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 13:08

J. has already pointed out in his comment that it seems not to be a problem that a website is open on Sabbath. If you want an extended discussion, you can point out that neither non-Jews nor machines are prohibited from doing tasks during Sabbath (Sabbath clocks).

If you do not feel to discuss the issue (The whole thing is ridiculous from a technical standpoint anyway; electricity is not fire and there are no "sparks" generated by servers) and/or you want to act on the notion that the customer is always right, you can ask him how long the site should be shut down.

Should it be only for his timezone or should it be for the clients's Sabbath ? If it is a client, it means the whole world and that means he need to close from Friday to Sunday (The exact timespan depends on location).

If the person is still adamant in shutting down the website, set up a 503 page for Sabbath (503 is the correct HTTP code), then use .htaccess on the root directory:

RewriteEngine On

# The TIME_HOUR must be adjusted to whenever it is dawn on Friday
RewriteCond %{TIME_WDAY} 5
RewriteCond %{TIME_HOUR} >18  
RewriteRule .* - [L,R=503]

# The TIME_HOUR must be adjusted to whenever it is night on Saturday
RewriteCond %{TIME_WDAY} 6
RewriteCond %{TIME_HOUR} <19
RewriteRule .* - [L,R=503]

It should work, but test it before.
It is absolutely not your problem for SEO optimization if the customer demands that the website is down. Simply do if it is the customer's decision.

  • 1
    "%{TIME_HOUR} < 9" - There should be no space between the < and > operator and the operand. This is also a lexicographical comparison and to help this the TIME_HOUR variable returns a two digit, zero prefixed, string. So, it should read: %{TIME_HOUR} <09. (The // comment should also be removed if you want a working example.)
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 17:49
  • @w3dk Corrected. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:39
  • 1
    (Sorry, not intending to be picky, but the line-end # comment will also trigger a 500 error in this context since the flags (3rd) argument is omitted. Strictly speaking, Apache only supports full line comments.) (+1)
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:45
  • @w3dk No problem, had already enough 500s exactly because of Apache's pickiness. You're welcome. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:57
  • How about '451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons'
    – Wossname
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 3:40

Sometimes with arguments such as these, it's better to ask questions than to argue. Is your web server is just another machine like your refrigerator? Do you unplug your refrigerator on the Sabbath? If you or your family get food out of your refrigerator on the Sabbath and ate it, are you working or merely enjoying a nice meal? If someone browses to your web site on the Sabbath, are they working or merely enjoying your web site?

  • This isn't an answer to the question "Is there a way to achieve this goal without causing SEO problem of any kind to the site?"
    – bdsl
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 21:09

Placing a website on a temporary hold should it be downtime for maintenance or for religious reasons will not harm your on-going SEO. It may however lower search results temporary until the website is backup, but obviously this should be expected, but long-term, no problem.

The tip to placing a website on hold temporary without any serious impact on SEO is to use the correct status code. In all scenarios its always best to return a HTTP header response of 503 (Service Unavailable). Preferably it's best to use 503 without using a 302 redirect first, this is because the bots will see the status of 302 before it detects the 503 (good point by w3dk).

This can be done either in the HTML, PHP or HTACCESS. Since the majority of answers currently cover various htaccess methods I thought I'd add a PHP method in case someone will prefer an alternative solution.

Setting Header 503 Status in PHP

$protocol = "HTTP/1.0";
if ( "HTTP/1.1" == $_SERVER["SERVER_PROTOCOL"] )
  $protocol = "HTTP/1.1";
header( "$protocol 503 Service Unavailable", true, 503 );
header( "Retry-After: 3600" );

The Retry-After is in seconds, so 3600 is 1 hour. If you need more downtime then simply change the number to whatever you require. Simply Google how many seconds in X hours.

Varnish and other caching setups

If using a Varnish or any other setup that caches HTML, then you will need to purge the cache for the changes to take place as headers are generally cached.

  • 3
    In this case of a planned downtime I would actually give the time until the website will be back (+ some random minutes, to avoid a self-caused DDOS). You should also put a human-readable text with this info into the result body. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 23:41
  • If the website is down for maintenance (planned or unplanned) and search engine bots are properly informed (in terms of status codes and headers) then that isn't going to affect your SEO, but if the bots determine that your website is routinely down at the same time every week for the whole day then that will likely affect your SEO because, in the bot operator's thinking, you're performing too much maintenance or your server is too unreliable. Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 12:04
  • It can be harmful, if site down many times per month. Look out on my answer :)
    – Goyllo
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 12:17
  • What do you think about the Lightbox solution Simon? Have you though of including it as an alternative for users who might not want to use 503 in the answer, and about the php code, shouldn't some curly braces wrap the reaction after the condition (I just start to learn PHP thus I ask).
    – user58733
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:37
  • Looking forward for your comment Simon...
    – user58733
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 6:31

I would show a message explaining the situation and then people (jews or non-jews) can leave or click the button "i understand, let me continue". Orders or whatever are of course processed when the shabat is over.


Just imagine if all street lights and police cars and fire trucks couldn't be used on Shabat.

Observant Jews have insisted on some interesting technological quirks. First, a telephone that uses LEDs/phototransisters to sense when a button is pressed. Thus the user is not causing the LED to light, but merely interfering with its path. That has also been done to elevators.

But since G-d never wrote in Holy Scripture that other things should cease to function, one must realize that our Creator looks into our hearts. He knows that when you press that telephone button the resultant machinery will expend power. Same for elevators. But it is what is in the heart that truly matters.

To answer the question directly: There is no way to cause your search engine results to disappear one day each week. Let alone to synchronize the sundown-to-sundown duration of the Jewish day. Not even a reference city on which to base the sundown time.

Sure you can manually take down the server. And in your heart you are trying to obey. That is all He asks of any of us.

But there is no prohibition against your infrastructure doing its job.

Keep in mind that Shabat is the day of rest. One should focus on learning and prayer. Let the web server run on its own. Expend your energy towards knowing Him better each week.

I wish you the best.

Shalom, Brother

  • Good point. If the server crashes, fix it the next day. If someone contacts you through the server, let the server withhold the message until the next day. If the server's running on its own, then you aren't doing any work. Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 12:07
  • Right on, Michael. Exactly. It is a mystery what G-d did on the 7th day. I can only imagine that he was looking at His handiwork and saying to Himself that it is good. That is what we can do, in our limited way. We can rejoice about the wonderful people in our lives, and our accomplishments in business. And we can offer our lives to Him, demonstrated by taking that one day off to honor Him. The machines can do what they do without any prohibition. And we can honor our loved ones by saying Shabat Shalom. Thanks for writing this comment. Shalom
    – SDsolar
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 17:58

The literature is clear: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_on_Shabbat

In the real world how many observant businesses tear down their signage and shop front and have to rebuild it again every week?

It's not about whether the web site is up or not, it's whether they're using it. If they are observant than they will not be turning off/on electricity, cooking, or going near a computer / phone. They will not be interacting with the site and that is sufficient for them to be observant. If they want the rest of the world to be observant too, well that's a different matter entirely.

But... going back to the OP's question:

he wants his site to be offline somehow (or at least online but unavailable for surfing) during Saturday... ... Is there a way to achieve this goal without causing SEO problem of any kind to the site?

To address this strictly you need:

  1. every single page on the site to not be missing or give an error so as to not upset incoming links, visitors, or spiders
  2. presenting a page in each that does not degrade the searchable content of the site. That is, you haven't materially changed the presentation of purpose or use, just disabled it.
  3. timed to the appropriate local blackout period
  4. not mysterious to a user. That is, giving a reasonable explanation so as to drive a customer away.

In short, a Javascript solution that dims the page, pops up explaining that the site is observing a religious observance, and when they should return.

  • This isn't about the observance of the site's visitors; it's about the observance of the site's owner. The site owner does not want the server to be running on the Sabbath, no matter whether or not his visitors are observant. Whether the visitors attempt to browse his site on the Sabbath is their problem, not his. Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 12:10
  • My point is that the owner should consider that there is no strict requirement to disable the server and thus avoid the SEO implications entirely. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 4:03
  • It depends on what the owner and/or his rabbi believes to be observant. If he believes that it is necessary to turn his server (if it's actually his server, which we don't know for certain) off in order to be observant then the developer can't decide otherwise. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 10:27
  • I'm revising my answer to accept that this may be still the only course of action. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 11:16
  1. Consult with a rabbi.
  2. My guess is it can't be done in a way that doesn't look like your system is actually failing. Even if the site returns a 404, the HTTP server, DNS server, etc. are still doing work.
  3. OTOH, if you are gentile, and the DNS and HTTP server are yours, they might pass muster.
  4. Consult with a rabbi.
  5. Conditional URL rewriting taking anything in the customer's domain to a "Shabat shalom!" page?
  6. Don't forget that days in Judaism start at sundown on the evening before, i.e. Shabat starts at sundown on Friday.


Also, remember that customer in Leviticus... it is clearly stated that web developers asked to implement such a feature have to be paid 300% more than the price initially agreed.

  • If you take this path, firewall off ports 80 and 443 so the server really is down as far as crawlers are concerned. It's better to just disable the buy buttons, etc. instead with javascript and depend on the fact that bots don't execute javascript.
    – Joshua
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 16:37
  • Haha consult, consult, consult! Good point on the sundown aspect. Seems hard to predict that since much of the time/weather datapoints available for sunup and sundown times are only estimates.
    – dhaupin
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 16:57
  • 2
    Consulting with a rabbi is good, but make sure it's a rabbi whose word the customer accepts.
    – LarsH
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 17:32
  • Should this be a Pharisee or a Karaite rabbi @LarsH ;)
    – user58733
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 14:59
  • 2
    I'd say "Consult with the customer" (assuming that the poster is not Jewish but the customer is, so the poster should do what the customer asks him to to). The customer obviously should consult a rabbi to be sure to get everything right.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 16:36

Reminder: A web-server isn't Jewish and doesn't parse human morality. I'm not sure why it must be shut off to traffic because of what an old book said.

Anyways the way I would handle this is display a friendly message to humans, something along the lines of "YOU'RE A SINNER!", then use a 503 header wrapped with source side schema.org (metas or JSON-LD) to continue to display backend information for bots trying to index.

Easy peasy, no hassles involved.


We often think of E-commerce sites as digital stores. If any finance portions can be deactivated on the Sabbath, it might be more appropriate to think of it in this case as a digital poster or booklet. Would you take all of your posters down for the Sabbath?

If that's not enough, I would try to convince them of the JavaScript solution. Tell them it's a "closed sign". It's very reasonable to think of it in that way.

  • Javascript is client side and if the customer is in any way knowledgeable of how this works he likely won't accept it. Not only is the server still running, but all that's needed is for a visitor to have Javascript disabled (surprisingly common) and they'll miss the Javascript message and still be able to access the site (which is exactly what the customer is trying to avoid). Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 12:09
  • Including a server delivered warning would be useful to fix those edge cases, as well as turning of eCommerce features. The main point I'm trying to make is that it doesn't have to be secure. You don't need worry about people breaking in to do business with you.
    – wedstrom
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:48
  • It's not about "breaking in", but if the customer understands the implications of using a client-side script then he might not accept it as a way to ensure religious observance. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:51
  • I guess then it's just understanding the implications of the different approaches, explaining them to the customer and finding out how they feel about it. You can gently nudge that interpretation towards something more practical if you try to steer the analogies the right way. Websites are really nothing like traditional storefronts, and whether it's thought of as a poster, booklet, store and whether the users actions are like sending in a mail order, breaking in, or doing business with you directly have huge implications for the rules. We can only give suggestions and let them decide.
    – wedstrom
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 17:36

No, because a site which is only available 6/7 of the time is worse for the user than an otherwise identical site that is available 7/7 of the time, no matter what the reason for the downtime might be, thus search engines should downrank it.

  • 1
    If I were controlled a search engine I would want to remove that site from the results on the one day a week where it is not available, but include it in the index the other six days. It would be fine to send users there when the site is up and not good user experience when it is down. However, I'm not aware of any search engines that currently implement that. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 17:21

Never ever block search engine spider too often, it is bad SEO at all.

As per my view the best solution is use unavailable after meta tags. I am surprise nobody talking about this tag :p

With perfect timing, you can show anything in your webpage, it can be 404 error or blocked warning or anything else, which you don't want to show to user.

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