Loading a web page only to get a 404 error instead of content is quite common. This error tells you that the page you are looking for is unavailable. And you might be wondering what causes this error – your search engine or is it the website itself?
A 404 error is an HTTP response code that means a website server could not find the page you requested. One of the reasons for this error is the removal of the web page by the website owner or a third party. Another reason for a 404 error could be an incorrect URL.
You may not always see the same 404 error message on your screen, as the written text can appear with slight variations, depending on the website. The rest of this article will explain 404 errors in more detail and how to solve them.
What Is a 404 error?
A 404 error appears when your browser cannot locate a web page. This is generally what happens:
- You search for a page on a website or via the search engine.
- The website server searches for the webpage but cannot find it.
- The website hosting server sends a 404 error to your browser.
The unavailability of the webpage could be due to several reasons:
- The website owner deleted the page or changed the URL. In this case, you are likely to receive the message HTTP 404 error.
- If you mistyped the website’s URL.
- There is a coding error at the backend.
- There is a broken link or some fault with the URL text.
- The website domain name no longer exists.
Remember, a 404 error means that the fault is not with the website server but the page you are trying to load.
Types of 404 errors
The error message on your screen usually states a 404 error in the text. However, sometimes, you may get the message that the URL or page you requested is unavailable without mentioning the 404 error. When such a message appears, the error is still 404.
How To solve the 404 error
If the problem is not with the website backend, you may be able to fix the 404 error. Here is what you can try:
- First, try to search for the page again or refresh the page. If the error appeared because the page could not load properly, you might be able to load it on a second try. Type the URL again in a new browser window or refresh the current page with the 404-error message.
- Instead of typing the website address directly into the top browser bar, try to load the page through the search results. Type the website’s name in the search bar and click the page from there when you get the search results.
- Check the URL address for mistakes. You may have misspelt the URL or used a different word.
- Open the website on a different device. The problem could be your browser cache or cookies, which would not bother you on another device.
- Try taking out a directory level, one at a time, from the URL. Remove the last directory level from the URL. For example, if the original address is www.mynameis.com/level1/level2/level3/, and it flashes the 404 error, remove level 3, so your URL looks like www.mynameis.com/level1/level2/. If this doesn’t work, remove level 2. If the page is available, you may be able to find it this way.
If the above tips don’t work, you can contact the website to find out why the page isn’t loading.
A 404 error is standard and can appear because of a mistake you made or an error at the website owner’s end. You can only solve the issue if the problem is not with the website. As for the website owners, 404 errors create a bad user experience and can lose search rankings.