404 error page returns status of 200

I just noticed that Google Webmaster Tools has unverified my site because:
We’ve detected that your 404 (file not found) error page returns a status of 200 (Success) in the header.

I have a custom error page I setup years ago. It’s a PHP page, so I didn’t use missing.html. I setup .htaccess so that
ErrorDocument 404 http://www.my site.com/404.pcgi

How do I make it so that the header still returns a status of 404?


Change it to:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.pcgi

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Thanks. It used to be that didn’t work.

So I’m curious, why does that change the status?

My guess: http://www.my site.com/404.pcgi must be pointing to /home/username/my site.com/404.pcgi while /404.pcgi is pointing to root directory of the system. Is that correct?

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I knew it at one point and forgot. Could it be because it’s being treated as redirecting to another URL, and since the 404 page exists, it returns 200?

I’m not sure why anyone would enter anything as a 404 and want it to return 200, so it would seem like a flaw instead of a feature… to me at least.

I’d imagine there are a lot of people unknowingly doing it, while Google might think they’re intentionally trying to generate a page for any request.

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