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Almost every Internet user has encountered the message “Error 404 – Page not found” at least once. This error is one of the most common problems on websites. So it’s high time to take a little closer look at it, discover ways to fix it, and learn about other popular error messages on websites.
What does a 404 error mean?
A 404 error means that the requested page was not found on the server, even though the browser managed to connect to the site’s server. This is information to users that the page they are looking for does not exist. Because of this, the server cannot find the correct file that is responsible for the page’s operation.
Error 404 – why does it appear?
Error 404 can be due to various reasons. The most common reasons for the “Error 404 – Page not found” message appearing on the screen of your device include:
- Moving or deleting the page: If a page has been moved or deleted and the reference to it remains on another page or in search results, you will receive a 404 error message.
- Incorrectly entered URL: Quite often, a simple typo is behind the appearance of the 404 error message. A single mistake in letters, numbers or punctuation marks is enough to make it impossible to find the page.
- Incorrect or broken links: Sometimes a 404 error occurs when there is an erroneous or broken link on a page. This could be due to a typo, a change in the page URL, or incorrect link formatting.
- Server problems: If the server hosting the page has technical problems, this can lead to a 404 error. Server overload, hardware or software failures can prevent the requested page from displaying.
- Error while creating or updating a page: A 404 error message will also be displayed if an error occurred while creating or updating the page. In this case, the server cannot load the page correctly.
How to fix a 404 error?
Fixing a 404 error as quickly as possible is extremely important, as it affects the experience of the user visiting the site. Here are some steps you can take to fix a 404 error:
- Refresh the page: sometimes a 404 error can be due to a temporary unavailability. Therefore, it is advisable to simply refresh the page first.
- Check the URL: Make sure the URL you entered is correct and does not contain typos or other errors. If there is such a problem, simply retype the correct website address.
- Check redirects: If the site has been moved to another URL, you can set up a 301 redirect (permanent redirect) from the previous address to the new one. This will automatically redirect users to the new site.
- Use an .htaccess file: If you are using an Apache server, you can use an .htaccess file to redirect 404 errors to appropriate pages. You can set RewriteRule rules that redirect users to another page or display a replacement message.
- Add a custom 404 page: To provide a better user experience, you can create a custom 404 page with content informing users that the requested page was not found. Also think about including navigation links to help users return to other parts of the site.
Other Web page errors
The 404 error is not the only problem you may encounter when browsing or creating web pages. You should definitely learn the meaning and reasons for other common errors.
Error 301 – moved permanently
A 301 error means that the page has been permanently moved to another URL. In this situation, users will be automatically redirected to the new address. This problem is due to the fact that the old page address is still valid, although the page has been moved to a different location as a result of, for example, a change in the article category.
Error 403 – access error
Error 403 occurs when the user does not have permission to access the requested page. This may be due to server security, improper settings of access permissions or dedication of the site for use only by certain people, i.e. company employees, for example.
Error 500 – internal server error
This error occurs when the server encounters a problem that prevents the requested page from being displayed. This can be caused by a faulty script, a database problem, incorrect server configuration, server overload or other technical factors.
Error 503 – service unavailable
Error 503 indicates that the server is temporarily unable to serve the request. The fault may be due to too many requests, server problems, overload, maintenance or other temporary technical problems.
Error 504 – response timeout exceeded
Error 504 occurs when the gateway server (such as a proxy server) has not received a response in a timely manner from the destination server. This can be caused by server overload, network connection problems, slow performance of the target server or other factors that delay the response from the server.