“Blocked due to other 4xx issue” is a Google Search Console status. It means that an affected page responds with one of the 4xx HTTP response codes other than 401, 403, 404, or Soft 404. It also indicates that the page didn’t get indexed.
Although the list of 4xx client errors is impressive, some HTTP status codes are rarely seen in the wild.
That’s why Google groups them all under the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” status in opposition to the 401, 403, 404, and Soft 404 issues that are represented by separate statuses in the Page indexing report.
However, before we begin, you need to know that Google isn’t perfect at sorting 4xx errors”. It means that sometimes you may also encounter, e.g., some 404s under the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” status.
To help you avoid unnecessary confusion, let me guide you through the common causes and ways to fix this issue.
Common causes of “Blocked due to other 4xx issue”
If you see the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” in your Page indexing (Index Coverage) report, it means that:
- Googlebot sent a request to your server to retrieve a given page, and
- The server responded with one of the 4xx HTTP status codes due to an error on a browser or search engine’s side (the client.)
Although some of the 4xx errors are rare, remember that the larger your website is, the more likely you are to encounter these issues.
Let’s explore the most common 4xx errors that may trigger “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” in Google Search Console.
“Bad request (400)”
The 400 HTTP response code reflects a situation when your server could not serve a given page due to an improper request you sent.
The reasons behind this response code may refer to, e.g., incorrect URL structure or uploading a file beyond a server upload limit.
“Blocked due to unauthorized request (401)” is one of the 4xx issues that is covered in a separate status in Google Search Console.
If you see the 401 HTTP response code for your page, it indicates that the requested URL is hidden behind a login form.
Most often, you block such pages intentionally as you don’t want bots and users randomly coming across your content on the Web.
Otherwise, research why Google Search Console is showing the status.
“Blocked due to access forbidden (403)”
Having a page returning the 403 HTTP status code means that, when requested by a browser or search engine, your server denies giving access to the URL.
Although there are situations where it’s perfectly normal for a page to respond with this status, the uncontrolled “Blocked due to access forbidden (403)” may contribute to further SEO issues on your website.
It’s also another case where Google dedicates a separate status in the Page indexing report to a 4xx issue.
Take a look at Ania Siano’s article to find out how to address the “Blocked due to access forbidden (403)” issue and avoid indexing problems.
“Not found (404)”
The 404 HTTP status code signals that the server couldn’t find the requested page because it no longer exists on your website.
Although it sounds scary, sometimes setting up a 404 status code may result from optimizing orphan or duplicate content on your website.
As Google covers this issue in a separate status, I decided to give it a closer look. Read my article to learn when to fix the “Not found (404)” issue in Google Search Console.
What about “Soft 404”?
Although it’s not an official HTTP response code, “Soft 404” is one of the most common issues detected by Google Search Console, and it’s represented by a separate status in the Page Indexing report.
Read the article on our blog to learn more about this status and how to fix it.
The 410 HTTP status code indicates that a page has been permanently removed from your website.
In general, this status should be the result of your deliberate actions.
When may you want your page to return a 410 status code? It is the case when a page:
- Has no search demand or business value for your website, so you don’t want it to exist any longer, and
- Contributes to wasting your crawl budget. This way, setting up the 410 status code indicates to Googlebot that further crawling is unnecessary, and it should remove the URL from the index.
And although the outcome for these URLs is the same as for 404s, remember that the 410 status code is more specific for Google regarding what happened to your pages.
This way, setting up the 410 HTTP status code may remove your unwanted content from SERPs quicker than a standard 404.
But watch out: because of its similarity to a 404 error, you may sometimes spot “Gone (410)” in the “Not found (404)” status page report.
“Length Required (411)”
If you see the 411 HTTP response code for a page, it indicates your browser may not have defined the content-length header.
From the server’s perspective, the content-length header is crucial to assessing your request size.
To troubleshoot this, you should contact your development team to set a proper header.
“Too many requests (429)”
“Too many requests (429)” differs from the other 4xx statuses above, as Google treats this as a server error.
Why? When your server responds with the 429 HTTP response code, it means it received too many requests in a given period of time, e.g., from search engine crawlers.
However, from Google’s perspective, friendly bots, like Googlebot, can’t contribute to overloading a server as they limit the number of requests they send when a server is getting slower. Therefore, Google sees this situation as coming from your server’s own problems.
But remember that there are still other search engine crawlers and bots that are sending requests to your server, affecting its processing capacity.
Sometimes, for example, even if Googlebot sent only one request, it could still be ‘too much’ for your server to manage, so it will return 429.
If “Too many requests (429)” is the case for you, try to clear your browser cache or consider reaching out to your hosting provider.
How to fix “Blocked due to other 4xx issue”
As the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” status results from an error on the client’s side, it may happen that you won’t be able to replicate a given problem in your browser.
It doesn’t mean that the issue doesn’t exist. However, it indicates that some of your website’s visitors encounter that problem, so it still should be crucial for you to address it.
Let me guide you through the step-by-step process to help you navigate and fix “Blocked due to other 4xx issue”.
Analyze the list of the affected pages in Google Search Console
Enter the Page indexing (Index Coverage) report and head to the status page to analyze the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” URLs.
- Check how many of your pages are affected to assess how significant your problem may be, and
- Look for any patterns in the URL structure of the pages. Try to observe if the affected URLs are in the same category. Then, most likely, they are based on the same template, which may make it easier to analyze further and fix the problem.
When you enter the status page, click on the inverted pyramid symbol to filter out the URLs for a given path you want to analyze.
Then, you can further research each of the affected pages by using the URL Inspection tool.
The URL Inspection tool might help you diagnose how often Google crawls a page or how it discovered it.
However, it’s common for “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” that Google can’t define a referring page or sitemap. Then, diagnosing the roots of the problem may be a real struggle.
In this case, don’t be afraid to consult your developers on the “Blocked due to other 4xx issues” pages. As they should know your website’s history and files dependency inside out, they can give you a clue on the possible reasons for these issues.
If you are an SEO having any concerns about contacting a dev team, you may find our guide on SEOs – developers relationship useful.
Check for “Submitted URL Blocked due to other 4xx issue”
“Submitted URL Blocked due to other 4xx issue” was previously a separate Google Search Console status.
What didn’t change is that monitoring if any of your affected URLs are added to your XML sitemap should still be an integral part of your analysis in Google Search Console.
You can now filter out all affected URLs to “All submitted URLs” in the upper left corner of the report to look for the URLs added to your sitemaps.
In a perfect scenario, your sitemap files should only include pages responding with the 200 status code. Otherwise, you need to remove the affected pages as your priority.
Even if you deliberately made some of your pages respond with “Blocked due to other 4xx issue,” like “Gone (410)”, you need to remember that adding these pages to your sitemap may waste your crawl budget.
What’s more, if you’re managing a large website, except looking at the list in Google Search Console, you should also perform a full crawl of your sitemap. Remember that as the Page indexing report shows you a sample of 1000 pages, it may give you only an insight into what’s going on with your submitted pages.
Analyze your internal linking
One more step that you should also take as a priority is to monitor your internal linking to the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” pages.
When according to Google’s official documentation, “Pages that serve 4xx HTTP status codes (except 429) don’t waste crawl budget”, many internal links pointing to 4xx pages may actually influence the way Google crawls your website.
Why? Because when you extensively link to pages that you may not care about, Googlebot thinks they are actually important to you. As a result, bots use up their resources to get to the content they eventually can’t see or access.
That’s why checking on internal linking to 4xx pages should be crucial, especially when you are sure that some of them, like “Gone (410)”, stay on your website for good.
If you can’t track the referring pages in the URL Inspection tool, you should perform a full crawl of your website. To do so, you may take advantage of an SEO crawler like Screaming Frog or Deepcrawl.
To troubleshoot improper internal linking, you may:
- Remove the broken links to the 4xx pages (these are the most often the 404 or 400 pages), or
- Replace the links from the 4xx pages with the related ones that respond with the 200 status code.
If you want to keep the internal linking to these pages as they are, read on to learn more tactics to fix the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” pages.
When you squeezed all you could out of Google Search Console…
This stage may be your turning point in the whole process, as it should help you decide on the next steps.
Here’s when you need to assess the scale of the problem and how addressing “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” applies to your website’s urgent SEO priorities.
You may consider two possible solutions:
- Ignore “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” when:
- There are only a few issues that do not significantly affect your website, and you know they don’t require immediate attention or
- It is caused by your deliberate actions, e.g., setting up the 410 HTTP status code.
- Dive into a thorough analysis of the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” pages when:
- The number of affected pages is significant or constantly growing, and
- You don’t know how to approach these issues or what further SEO problems they may contribute to.
If the second option is the case for you, off we go to a further analysis!
Identify the response code triggering “Blocked due to other 4xx issue”
Once you decide your “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” pages need some further actions, you should check what response codes they are returning.
It’s not something that you may find in Google Search Console, so here’s when you can dive into Chrome DevTools.
You can simulate the Googlebot user agent in your browser and check what status code a given page is returning.
To do that, head to ‘Network’ and open the ‘Network conditions’ tab at the bottom of the console.
Then, to simulate Googlebot User Agent, unclick ‘Use browser default’ in the User-agent section and select ‘Googlebot Smartphone’ from the drop-down list.
In the main console above, you’ll see what status codes the specific files and resources used on your page are returning.
Another easy solution is to use the Link Redirect Trace tool. This Google Chrome extension enables you to track the HTTP statuses of your pages when browsing any website in real-time
Another option is to take a look at your server logs. Here’s when you may take advantage of our server log analysis.
When you know the exact response code for your “Blocked due to other 4xx issue”, you may specify your following actions.
These may be related, for example, to identifying any spelling mistakes in your URLs to troubleshoot the “Bad request (400)” error or working on your .htaccess file in the case of “Blocked due to access forbidden (403).”
Redirect the affected pages
If you can’t fix a specific issue you’re struggling with, a good practice may be redirecting your page using a 301 redirect.
It’s also a valid solution, especially when the affected URL:
- Is an essential part of your website structure, valuable for your business, and
- Has many backlinks pointing to it.
Learn how to redirect your pages in an SEO-friendly way by reading our guides to redirects and troubleshooting the “Redirect error” issues in Google Search Console.
Watch out: sometimes, the data for “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” data in Google Search Console may not be accurate and up-to-date.
For example, even if you have redirected a given page, Google didn’t pick up your latest change as it may not crawl these pages regularly.
Therefore, always double-check the current HTTP response codes for your affected URLs before taking action.
Set up another 4xx status
If a “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” page no longer applies to your website’s strategy, or you can’t fix a specific 4xx error, consider changing the status to 404 or 410.
When you let Googlebot know that a page doesn’t exist, after some time, it will limit its crawling to a minimum as it understands there’s no content to be found.
Also, seeing an informative 404 page instead of a blank one may contribute to a better user experience on your website.
Summing up, it’s rare for “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” to contribute to an SEO nightmare when they’re random individual cases. However, on a larger scale and without sufficient experience, these issues may lead to significant problems.
And remember that when managing a large website, you must carefully decide your SEO priorities.
To properly approach “Blocked due to other 4xx issue,” you need to refine your website’s technical SEO strategy to avoid uncontrolled chaos.
Here’s what you can do now:
- Contact us.
- Receive a personalized plan to deal with your 4xx issues.
- Enjoy your organic traffic!
Still unsure of dropping us a line? Read how technical SEO services can help you improve your website.
Why you should take care of “Blocked due to other 4xx issue”
Google treats the majority of the “Blocked due to other 4xx issue” pages (except for the “Too many requests (429)”) the same – they can’t be served, so Googlebot thinks that the requested content doesn’t exist.
If you don’t remedy this in any way, you may limit your website’s potential to get your valuable content indexed and ranked.
Also, remember that you should regularly monitor your website to ensure none of the significant errors aren’t overlooked.
For example, you can find some of the 4xx errors on the staging version of your website. When your site isn’t live, it should be impossible for Google Search Console to detect them. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on such mistakes as it’s also very likely to miss them when performing a website migration.
Also, in rare cases, it may happen that even if your page is responding with the 200 status code, Google assigned it as “Blocked due to other 4xx issue.” Knowing your website inside out is crucial to ensure various tools show the correct information.
“Blocked due to other 4xx issue” in Google Search Console outlines the 4xx errors with which some of your pages may respond.
Although some of them aren’t probably the key indexing issues to be addressed, remember that Google presents them in the Page indexing (Index Coverage) report for a reason.
Contact us for a thorough technical SEO audit of your website to navigate even minor errors that may grow into significant issues and harm your website’s health.