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What is 404 not found error? 5 ways to fix it

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We’ve all seen this one. The nasty little error popping up on our screens telling that a webpage isn’t available. Every webmaster has seen it. Majority of the people on the web have seen it at some point in their life. So today we ask the question, What is error 404?

What does error 404 mean?

Error 404 is an HTTP status code. This code implies that even though a client was able to contact a particular server, the server couldn’t find what the client requested. It is often caused by moving or deleting pages on a web server.

What is 404 not found error? 5 simple ways you can fix the error

A website hosting server will typically generate a 404 Error page when a user tries to access a broken or dead link. As this tends to happen quite frequently, error 404 is among the most commonly encountered web errors of all time.

Further breaking down the error code tells us the fault in more detail. The first digit indicates a client error (such as a mistyped URL). The following two numerals, 04 in this case, indicate the specific error encountered.

At HTTP level, error 404 is usually followed by a human-readable phrase such as ‘File not found’ or something similar

Also read: Why do you get a 403 forbidden error? 6 ways to fix it

The 404 error can be seen in many variants across the web. A sincere web developer will modify the error message and page to blend in with the theme of the website. As long as you see the number 404, the problem is still the same.

Error 404, however, should not be confused with DNS not found errors. A DNS was not found error is encountered when the URL a particular client is looking for points to a server that doesn’t exist. A 404 error means that the server itself was found, but the file/directory requested by the client wasn’t.

How to fix a 404 Error?

As easy as it is to encounter a 404 error, it is much easier to fix it. Here are five most common fixes for the 404 error.

Reload the page

Yes, simple as that. Perhaps the most common and simple way of fixing this error is to reload the page. It often happens that a page isn’t loaded properly and the browser shows a 404 error.

Check the URL

Cross-checking the URL, you’re entering is never a bad idea. URLs are often long and case sensitive, and even one wrong character can give a 404 error. There’s a good chance you’ve misspelt something if you typed the URL yourself or perhaps you left out something while copying it.

Use the website’s search function

Most websites offer a local search function that lets you find what you’re looking for. If you can’t find something by name or link, there’s a good chance that it has been renamed or relocated. Searching might just get you to the right page.

Also read: How to pause Windows 10 update? Here are 4 ways that might help

Use a search engine

Sometimes, entire websites change names and their hosting domains. In such cases, all pre-existing links to that particular website might stop working as there is a relocation in nameservers and so forth. Using a search engine, Google, for example, might just help you find the page you’re searching.

To search for something from a specific website all you need to do is write the keyword you’re searching for followed by “site:” (as shown in the image above). Here, can be replaced by any other site that you wish to search.

Clear your browser’s cache and cookies

Often cached versions of web pages cause problems when loading their newer counterparts from the web. In such cases, you can try clearing your cache to fix this issue. Corrupt cookies also are one of the major causes of the 404 error. Clearing cache or cookies can fix the 404 error quite often.

You can alternatively also contact a website to check if the error is emerging from their end due to website maintenance or some other reason.

Also read: If Google says a website isn’t secure, what does it really mean?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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