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What Does HTTP Error 404 Mean?

Have you ever seen the 404 error message on your web browser? If so, you may have been wondering what it means. 404 errors are returned by servers when they cannot find the requested resource. In other words, if someone tries to access a page or file that doesn’t exist on your website, they will see the 404 error message. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as a typo in the URL or the file being moved or deleted. In this article, we will discuss what HTTP error 404 means and how to fix it.

If you see the 404 error message on your screen, it means that the server could not find the requested resource. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as a typo in the URL or the file being moved or deleted. This could also mean that the person who gave you a link or posted a link somewhere made a mistake. It could also mean that the resource existed at some point in time but was changed or removed later.

What can you do about 404 errors as a user?

As a user, there is not much to be done here to fix this issue. This sort of error is usually permanent, and unless a webmaster makes a change, this is unlikely to resolve on its own. It could be that the resource still exists but that the URL changed without automatic redirection. If that’s the case, you could try to make a local search query on the page, and if you’re lucky, you can find it. You could also try looking up what you meant to find on Google or another search engine, and if you’re lucky, you can find a link to the page with its new URL.

In general, a 404 error is not your fault as a user unless you manually entered the URL in your browser and made a mistake as you put that in. 404 errors can also happen if you type in a URL and the server that hosts the website is down or experiencing an issue. This would usually return a different error code, such as a 500 Internal Server Error, but it’s possible to get 404s in this case too. If you see 404s frequently on a particular website, it may be worth checking to see if the site is down before assuming that the URL you’re trying to access doesn’t exist.

What can you do about 404 errors as a site owner?

As a website owner, 404 errors can be frustrating. They can happen for a variety of reasons, some of which are under your control and others that are not. If you see 404s frequently, it’s worth doing some investigation to see if there is an issue with your website or server. It’s also a good idea to set up 404 pages that give visitors helpful information and links to other parts of your site. This can help reduce the frustration of users who see 404 errors and can also help reduce the number of times that 404s are returned by your server.

More info about soft 404 errors on the Google Seach Central website

If you’re a website owner and you see 404s, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue. First, check to see if the page or file that is being requested actually exists. If it doesn’t, you can delete it or move it to another location. If the page does exist, check the URL to make sure it is spelled correctly. If it is, you can try setting up a 404 page that gives visitors helpful information and links to other parts of your site. You can also contact the person who gave you the link or posted the link and ask them to update it.

What 404 errors mean for your SEO strategy

If you’re a website owner, it can happen that you add links in your content, and sometime in the future, they will turn into 404 errors when trying to load them up. This can be because the company might no longer exist, or they simply removed a particular website that you linked to. Linking out to resources that no longer exist and result in a 404 error means that search engines such as Google might penalize you, and this hurts your overall SEO.

Search engines reward good content, and broken links mean that you did a bad job with your research or skimp on keeping your content up to date. Therefore they will penalize you, and to avoid that, you should frequently create reports for broken links on your website and fix the same. You could link to similar resources or simply remove the link if there is no substitute.

List of HTTP status codes and what they mean

Not all HTTP codes are errors. Even though some might not be that well known, there are even status codes that simply give the browser the technical feedback that all went OK. Here’s a list of errors and status codes that might be interesting for you. Maybe you’ve encountered others than 404 as well before.

1xx informational response – the request was received, continuing process
  • 100 – Continue
  • 101 – Switching Protocols
  • 102 – Processing
  • 103 – Early Hints
2xx successful – the request was successfully received, understood, and accepted
  • 200 – OK
  • 201 – Created
  • 202 – Accepted
  • 203 – Non-Authoritative Information (since HTTP/1.1)
  • 204 – No Content
  • 205 – Reset Content
  • 206 – Partial Content (RFC 7233)
  • 207 – Multi-Status (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
  • 208 – Already Reported (WebDAV; RFC 5842)
  • 226 – IM Used (RFC 3229)
3xx redirection – further action needs to be taken in order to complete the request
  • 300 – Multiple Choices
  • 301 – Moved Permanently
  • 302 – Found (Previously “Moved temporarily”)
  • 303 – See Other (since HTTP/1.1)
  • 304 – Not Modified (RFC 7232)
  • 305 – Use Proxy (since HTTP/1.1)
  • 306 – Switch Proxy
  • 307 – Temporary Redirect (since HTTP/1.1)
  • 308 – Permanent Redirect (RFC 7538)
4xx client error – the request contains bad syntax or cannot be fulfilled
  • 400 – Bad Request
  • 401 – Unauthorized (RFC 7235)
  • 402 – Payment Required
  • 403 – Forbidden
  • 404 – Not Found
  • 405 – Method Not Allowed
  • 406 – Not Acceptable
  • 407 – Proxy Authentication Required (RFC 7235)
  • 408 – Request Timeout
  • 409 – Conflict
  • 410 – Gone
  • 411 – Length Required
  • 412 – Precondition Failed (RFC 7232)
  • 413 – Payload Too Large (RFC 7231)
  • 414 – URI Too Long (RFC 7231)
  • 415 – Unsupported Media Type (RFC 7231)
  • 416 – Range Not Satisfiable (RFC 7233)
  • 417 – Expectation Failed
  • 418 – I’m a teapot (RFC 2324, RFC 7168)
  • 421 – Misdirected Request (RFC 7540)
  • 422 – Unprocessable Entity (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
  • 423 – Locked (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
  • 424 – Failed Dependency (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
  • 425 – Too Early (RFC 8470)
  • 426 – Upgrade Required
  • 428 – Precondition Required (RFC 6585)
  • 429 – Too Many Requests (RFC 6585)
  • 431 – Request Header Fields Too Large (RFC 6585)
  • 451 – Unavailable For Legal Reasons (RFC 7725)
5xx server error – the server failed to fulfill an apparently valid request
  • 500 – Internal Server Error
  • 501 – Not Implemented
  • 502 – Bad Gateway
  • 503 – Service Unavailable
  • 504 – Gateway Timeout
  • 505 – HTTP Version Not Supported
  • 506 – Variant Also Negotiates (RFC 2295)
  • 507 – Insufficient Storage (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
  • 508 – Loop Detected (WebDAV; RFC 5842)
  • 510 – Not Extended (RFC 2774)
  • 511 – Network Authentication Required (RFC 6585)
UNOFFICIAL The following codes are not specified by any standard.
  • 419 – Page Expired (Laravel Framework)
  • 420 – Method Failure (Spring Framework)
  • 420 – Enhance Your Calm (Twitter)
  • 430 – Request Header Fields Too Large (Shopify)
  • 450 – Blocked by Windows Parental Controls (Microsoft)
  • 498 – Invalid Token (Esri)
  • 499 – Token Required (Esri)
  • 509 – Bandwidth Limit Exceeded (Apache Web Server/cPanel)
  • 529 – Site is overloaded
  • 530 – Site is frozen
  • 598 – (Informal convention) Network read timeout error
  • 599 – Network Connect Timeout Error
Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services)
  • 440 – Login Time-out
  • 449 – Retry With
  • 451 – Redirect
nginx
  • 444 – No Response
  • 494 – Request header too large
  • 495 – SSL Certificate Error
  • 496 – SSL Certificate Required
  • 497 – HTTP Request Sent to HTTPS Port
  • 499 – Client Closed Request
Cloudflare
  • 520 – Web Server Returned an Unknown Error
  • 521 – Web Server Is Down
  • 522 – Connection Timed Out
  • 523 – Origin Is Unreachable
  • 524 – A Timeout Occurred
  • 525 – SSL Handshake Failed
  • 526 – Invalid SSL Certificate
  • 527 – Railgun Error
  • 530 – returns along with 1xxx error
AWS Elastic Load Balancer
  • 460 – Client closed connection with load balancer before idle timeout period elapsed
  • 463 – Load balancer received X-Forwarded-For request header with more than 30 IP addresses
  • 561 – Unauthorized
Caching warning codes
  • 110 – Response is Stale
  • 111 – Revalidation Failed
  • 112 – Disconnected Operation
  • 113 – Heuristic Expiration
  • 199 – Miscellaneous Warning
  • 214 – Transformation Applied
  • 299 – Miscellaneous Persistent Warning

Summary

I hope you found this explanation about a 404 status which is an error, useful and can now better understand what is happening and what you can do about it. As a website owner, you should make sure to check if you can find 404 errors in logs and fix the root cause of the same to avoid that your visitors will keep getting these errors when trying to get to a page that no longer exists with the path they are trying to use. Make sure that you also avoid linking out to 404 sites that no longer exist to avoid search engine ranking penalties and other SEO issues.


YouTube: How To Fix 404 Error In WordPress – How To Fix 404 Page Not Found Errors

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Jakub Jirsák.

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isakhttps://techacute.com
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)

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