4 Common Website Errors and What They Mean

Common Website Errors – Most of the time, visiting a website is a simple affair. You type in the name of the site you’re interested in or click a browser bookmark, and you see it within a few seconds.

But what about when it goes wrong? Sometimes, you’ll see various errors alerting you to problems with visiting that website. While some of these are out of your control, you can troubleshoot others to find out what’s wrong.

Let’s quickly review some of the most common website errors. Note that errors starting with 4 (like error 451) are client-side errors (issues with your computer), while those starting with 5 are server-side (problems with the website).

When you try to access a website, you may receive an HTTP error message. It’s a web server error message informing you that something went wrong. It might be a mistake you made in certain circumstances, but most of the time it’s the site’s fault.

An HTTP error code is assigned to each sort of issue. If you try to visit a website’s non-existent page, for example, you’ll get the dreaded 404 error.

Now, you might be wondering, what are the most typical HTTP problems that users run into when surfing the Internet? In this article, we’ll address that question.

common website errors
Common Website Errors

1. Error 404

404 is a common error. It signifies that the page you were looking for doesn’t exist. This often occurs when you click a broken link, or if a website moves a page without redirecting it properly. But it can also happen if you mistype a URL.

When you see a 404, check to make sure that you haven’t entered the wrong address. Then try a Google search to find the right page, as it may have moved.

2. Error 401

A 401 error means that you need authentication to access the page, but don’t have it. This usually occurs when you need to log into a website to access something but haven’t done so yet.

If you see this, try visiting the main page of the site and logging in again.

3. Error 403

A 403 error signifies that you’ve made a valid request, but the server won’t complete it because you’re not allowed to access it. This is different than a 401.

A 401 tells you that you haven’t logged in and so it can’t authenticate you. But a 403 error says that it knows who you are, yet won’t let you access the page. Typically, this means you’ve stumbled across something private and need to access the website administrator for access.

4. Error 504

A 504 error signifies a gateway timeout, meaning that a server the website relies on isn’t communicating with it quickly. When this happens, you won’t be able to access the website until its administrators resolve this issue. You can try refreshing the page a few times, but you’ll likely have to wait until it’s fixed.

Why not allow millions of site visitors to inform us about the most common problems they encounter? We can achieve that in a roundabout way by using Google.

The underlying notion is that some users who experience problems when visiting websites will want to learn more about the error and will use a search engine to do it.

In summary, Google’s search data should be able to tell us which HTTP problems are the most prevalent in this scenario.

We looked through all of the different HTTP error codes that exist, comparing them against one other, using Google Insights for Search (a terrific tool for determining the “popularity” of search phrases). We used the location “global” for this comparison, the timeframe comprised all searches in 2018, and the search type was limited to online search.

Some additional Common Website Errors

We’d like to point out that all of the following error messages are faults that the webserver has reported to the visitor (that is the nature of HTTP errors; they come from the webserver you are accessing).

Needless to say, you won’t get an HTTP error if you can’t visit a website at all—for example, if the network is down. Your attempt to connect will just time out.

We should point out that the Google findings closely reflect our own data. As you may be aware, we at SolarWinds® Pingdom® make a business by monitoring websites and servers (you can set up your own account by clicking here). When assisting clients with issues, we frequently encounter the dreaded (and rather ambiguous) HTTP error 500, “internal server error.”

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