Error 404 explained

Pretty much all the time, there’s an interaction between the browsers and servers. This communication is triggered every time someone in the world requests a website. Servers have their own way of informing the status of that request: the HTTP codes. There are five HTTP code categories. Statuses are expressed through three numbers. The first number indicates the type of status.

  • 1XX, informational responses.
  • 2XX, successful responses.
  • 3XX, redirects.
  • 4XX, client errors (like error 404). 
  • 5XX, server errors.

What is error 404?

Error 404 means “not found”. It is a type of HTTP response status code that points to the category of “client errors”. 

That “not found” status can mean:

  1. The requested resource can’t be found on the server.
  2. Talking about a browser, it means the requested URL can’t be found.
  3. In APIs (application programming interfaces), even if the endpoint is valid, the resource is not available anymore. 

For sure, you have seen error 404 different times while surfing online. The reason is the Internet has a really big amount of broken or dead links. So every time someone clicks one of those dead/broken links, the error 404 message is shown.

This code only points that the requested resource is not found, but it does not supply additional information to understand if this resource’s lack of availability is temporary or permanent. 

Error 404 format.

This status code can be shown as follows.

  • HTTP 404 Not Found
  • 404 Page Not Found
  • Status 404 Not Found 
  • 404 Not Found Error 
  • 404 File or Directory Not Found
  • The requested URL was not found on this server

How can you repair error 404?

Detect broken links. Your website can have internal or external links causing error 404. You can check them manually or through a software tool. Once found, fix them or delete them.

Talking about internal links, it’s not rare people mistake while typing URLs, and typos produce broken links. Articles placed in incorrect categories can drive to broken links too.

External links are useful to give examples, to recommend content, etc. The problem is, they all belong to different websites, and they can be deleted or relocated by the owners without you knowing about the change. Check external links regularly. Delete the ones that don’t work or replace them with others that work properly. 

Be careful while deleting content. Sometimes, some pages are deleted during maintenance or renovation of websites, but the links that point to them remain. These become broken links. 

Redirect properly. While organizing websites, the change of URL for certain pages (content) is a common action. But if you don’t redirect your audience correctly, they can be clicking a dead link.

Customize Error 404. To have an error 404 is always a possibility. Prepare in advance! Customize your error page to apologize and not to lose your audience. As users, we all get annoyed when we request content, and instead, we receive an error answer with a code we don’t necessarily understand. Make this page useful, informative for users to know what’s going on.

Conclusion.

Error 404 is common, but you can track its causes to repair the pages manually or with software’s help. Prevent it as a part of your website maintenance before it affects your users’ experience, and bounce rating. Broken links affect the SEO, and you don’t want to harm your search ranking, do you?

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