What is the difference between a soft 404 error and a 404 error? What is the ideal solution to fix a soft 404 error?

How is a soft 404 error different than a regular 404 error code, and what is the proper way to solve for soft 404s?
PrecisionAsked:
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Lucas BishopMarketing TechnologistCommented:
A soft 404 simply means your server isn't returning a 404 error code for a missing page, when it should be.

To fix it, you'll need to configure Apache (or whatever web server you're using) to return a 404 error code for all missing pages. Rather than redirecting the user and returning a 200.

Here's a brief overview from Google:
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2409443?ctx=MCE&ctx=S4&hl=en&authuser=0

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PrecisionAuthor Commented:
The pages are still there - there should be no 404.
Lucas BishopMarketing TechnologistCommented:
If the pages are not missing, then whoever is reporting the Soft 404 is likely mistaken.

Put the url of the page into a header check tool or use this browser extension to check on what your server is actually reporting:
https://goo.gl/r9hWAW
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