Error 404 Sometimes when you know a page, you click on its link but instead of showing the result it shows a blank page with a message written on it ‘404 Not Found’. This 404 Not Found is an error message. This error message is a standard response code of HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) in computer network communication.
404 not found means that the server was unable to find what was requested by the browser. This HTTP error code is followed by a human-readable message to make it understood to the end-user.
Error 404 not found should not be confused with DNS errors. DNS errors appear when a specific URL is given is of the server that does not exist, but a http error 404 appears when the server is found but is not able to retrieve the requested page.
In http status code 404, the first digit indicates client error and the remaining two digits indicate the specific error encountered. Some websites report a ‘404 not found’ error by returning a standard page with the status code 200 OK (200 OK is the code for successfully found page). Falsely reporting that the page has been loaded is known as soft 404. The term ‘Soft 404’ was coined in 2004.
What can cause 404 pages not found
Multiple reasons can cause a http status code 404. Some of them are listed below-
- http 404 not found means that the server was unable to find what was requested by the browser.
- If the server finds the requested information but the access is not granted, the server may send the response as 404.
- The server sends a http 404 not found if the user attempts to browse a broken link.
- 404 also occurs when the pages have been moved or deleted.
- If the user types in the URL incorrectly, then also error 404 not found is thrown.
- If the server responsible for the website is not running or the connection is not proper in such a scenario the server sends ‘404 Not Found’ error code.
- If the domain name entered can not be converted into an IP address by the Domain Name System (DNS).
- The domain name does not exist anymore now. In such a case also the server sends a http error 404.
These are some basic things but human error too can cause a 404 error. Dead links are left because operators have no idea whether the content has been moved or deleted. Linked websites like blogs, news portals have no information that the websites are now removed and still they keep flashing the same old URL.
How to find Error 404
Website operators need to keep a check on 404 error pages. There are many tools available that will help you identify the broken links.
Google Search Console: If you already have a Google account and have your website registered, you can make use of Google Search console. Any 404 not found by Google are displayed on the web tool and can also be marked as corrected too.
Dead Link Checker: This web app helps you in finding the dead links of a web page or the whole site. Just simply enter the URL and start checking.
W3C Link Checker: This tool is from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The testing process is long because it tests one by one page. It is similar to the Dead Link Checker.
How you can fix 404 error
404 not found error does not necessarily mean that the information is not available but the information has been shifted to some other location. In most cases the user is redirected to the new location but if not then you can try some below-mentioned solutions.
Reload the page: Sometimes a 404 error can happen if the page is not loaded properly. Try refreshing the page and you might get your results.
Check the URL: Sometimes the user can also make mistakes while typing out the link or could be redirected by faulty link. Read the URL carefully, there might be some spelling mistakes or forward slash may be left out. All this can only be checked with ‘clean’ URLs.
Delete the cache: If the error 404 not found to be coming in one system and not in another then try cleaning out the cache and cookies.
Use a search engine: If the website exists on the internet then the search engine will be able to locate it. Just type a keyword in the search engine and you will be able to find what you were looking for.