What Is 404 Error And How To Fix 404 Error

By LightNode ·

For users who frequently browse various websites, encountering the "404 Not Found" error page is almost inevitable, which greatly affects the browsing experience. Now, we will discuss what the 404 error is and how to effectively resolve it.

What is the 404 Error?

404 is one of the HTTP status codes. When the server cannot find the requested web page or resource from the user, it will return this code. The browser usually displays the "404 Not Found" error message, indicating that the requested page does not exist.

404 Error

The Reason for 404 Error

There are several possible reasons that can trigger a 404 error:

  • Entering an incorrect URL. This may be caused by typos, incomplete copying of links, etc.
  • Files on the server have been moved or deleted. When the website administrator restructures the site, the original pages or resources may no longer exist.
  • Web server configuration errors. The server cannot correctly locate the page path and resource location in the request.
  • Broken links. The hyperlinks on the web page may point to pages that have been removed.

Locating and Resolving 404 Errors

As a regular user

  • Carefully check if there are any errors in the URL. Sometimes, incomplete copying and pasting can lead to incomplete links or typos.
  • Clear the browser cache and reload. The browser cache may prevent the page from refreshing correctly.
  • Return to the parent directory or homepage and search again. After changes to the site structure, the desired content may have been relocated.
  • Contact the website administrator directly. If the above methods fail to resolve the issue, you can report it to the administrator and request them to check the server configuration or fix broken links.

For website owners

  • Maintain the website structure properly to ensure that links do not become invalid when pages are updated or removed.
  • Configure the web server's rewrite rules to intelligently redirect requests to the correct pages.
  • Deploy a user-friendly custom 404 page, providing suggestions for finding content and a feedback mechanism.

FAQs about 404 Errors

Why do 404 errors occur?

404 errors mainly occur when the server cannot find the requested web page or resource from the user. Specific reasons include entering an incorrect URL, the requested file being moved or deleted, server configuration errors, and broken links.

What is the difference between a 404 error and a 500 error?

404 and 500 are different HTTP status code errors. 404 indicates that the requested resource does not exist, while 500 means that an internal server error occurred, and it cannot process the request.

Why does clearing the browser cache help resolve 404 errors?

Sometimes, the browser caches previously visited pages. Even if a page has been removed, it still displays the cached old version content. Clearing the cache forces the browser to request the latest resource, which can help resolve 404 issues in this situation.

Even if the URL link seems correct, it is still possible that the resource cannot be accessed due to server-side reasons. In this case, you can contact the website administrator and request them to check the server configuration and resource location.

Is 404 Errors harmful for a Website?

Yes, if 404 errors frequently occur on a website, it can have some negative impacts:

  1. Affect User Experience A 404 error means users cannot access the content they want, which can severely disrupt the user experience and may leave users feeling frustrated and confused. Poor user experience reduces the website's usability and appeal.

  2. Lower Website Authority If a website has a large number of 404 error pages, search engines will consider the website's content quality to be poor. The website's authority and trustworthiness will be affected, potentially leading to a decline in search engine rankings.

  3. Loss of Potential Traffic and Revenue When users encounter a 404 error, they are likely to leave the website and seek other resources. This means the website will lose valuable traffic, and for websites that rely on traffic to generate revenue, this will directly lead to a loss of income.

  4. Impact on SEO 404 error pages are detrimental to a website's search engine optimization (SEO). When search engine crawlers encounter a large number of 404 pages, they may decrease the crawl frequency, affecting the website's indexing quality. Furthermore, poor internal link structure will also impact the transfer of authority between pages.

  5. Increased Server Load Excessive 404 errors will place an additional load on the server because the server must process all these failed requests, which may decrease the website's response speed and overall performance.

As a website owner, how can I reduce 404 errors?

  • Check and fix broken links when updating or removing pages.
  • Configure the server's redirection rules to intelligently redirect requests to the correct pages.
  • Deploy a user-friendly custom 404 page, providing guidance for finding content and feedback channels.

Any other HTTP Status Codes?

Yes, if you want to know more HTTP Status Codes, refer to Understanding HTTP Status Codes