A simple Guide to HTTP Error Codes

There are nearly 2 billion websites operating in the world today. No doubt you’ve run into those annoying HTTP error codes during your time browsing amongst them.

But what do they mean? And how can you deal with them?

This guide will help you better understand HTTP error code meanings and help you get your browsing (and web building) back on track.

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Redirect: Codes 301 and 302

While codes 301 and 302 aren’t necessarily error codes, they are fairly common. These codes are redirect codes. Usually, these mean that the website has:

  • Moved permanently (301)
  • Moved temporarily (302) 

If your site is set up through WordPress, it’s pretty easy to set up a redirection by using one of the many WordPress-supported plugins. 

For those who aren’t using WordPress, redirections can still be fairly simple to accomplish. All you’ll need to do to set up a redirection is adjust your .htaccess file.

HTTP Errors: Err_Too_Many_Redirects

It is possible to redirect your website too many times. When this happens, you’ll receive one of the more common website error codes: err_too_many_redirects. 

You’ll also receive this error code when you’ve inputted your URL incorrectly. This can create a redirect loop, where all your end destinations are forever redirected, confusing your server.

This error code can also appear when your cache is too full. To fix err_too_many_redirects start by clearing your browser data. This will empty up your cache, helping your browser clear the confusion. 

If that doesn’t work, you can also try:

  1. Make sure the WordPress “Website Adress” and “Site Address” are identical
  2. Investigate to determine what’s causing the loop
  3. Review your HTTPS settings
  4. Investigate your Cloudflare settings
  5. Look for plugin conflicts
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Error Code 400: Bad Request

A 400 error code is usually solvable by the end-user. After all, it is the user who’s made the bad request. 

Website URLs under a 400 error code usually aren’t forbidden or missing. Instead, the request to access these URLs has usually become corrupted in some way. 

One of the easiest HTTP solutions for most error code messages is to simply clear out your cache and browser data. This is the best way to reset your browser to clear up any confusion. 

You can also bypass the cache altogether by pressing CTRL/CMD – SHIFT- R on your keyboard. Sometimes, this simple command can help to push your request through. 

If this doesn’t work, make sure your URL is correct. You should also check to see if problems with any of your browser extensions or plugins could be causing the issue.

Error Code 401: Authorization Requested

401 error codes occur when there are problems authenticating the credentials of your browser. This is different than having incorrect login information. 

In some cases, the site host server will need to fix this error. However, you can look into troubleshooting this error code yourself by:

  • Clearing your cache/browser data of possible corrupted cookies
  • Looking for DNS issues

Error Code 403: Forbidden

One of the most common website errors, 403 codes means that you are forbidden from accessing the website. This is usually not a user error and denotes that something is wrong with the website itself. 

If it’s your own website, solving a 403 error means searching for the broken credentials that led to the error in the first place. Some things you can try include:

  • Inspect file permissions 
  • Review your .htaccess file 
  • Deactivate and reactivate your plugins
  • Review configuration of your website’s hotlink protection
  • Consider temporarily deactivating your CDN
HTTP Error Codes

Error Code 404: Page Not Found

Perhaps the most common of all website errors, you’ve no doubt seen a 404 code first-hand. This code means exactly what it sounds like: the website is having trouble finding your request. 

404 error codes could be an issue with either the user or the server itself. The most common solutions for 404 error codes are to clear your cache and make sure the URL is correctly entered.

For more complex 404 error problems, try enrolling in a WordPress training course to explore all your troubleshooting options. 

Error Code 410: Gone

Similarly to error 410, you won’t be able to find the website you’re looking for when this error code pops up. Unlike code 404, however, 410 means the page is gone for good. This is useful for website owners when they’re ready to delete a page or website. 

Error Code 429: Too Many Requests

Usually, a 429 error means that your server simply needs time to cool off. Perhaps you’re experiencing unusually large traffic or you’re experiencing a DDoS attack.

Either way, the best thing to do here is clear your cache, close some browser pages, and try to wait out the storm. 

HTTP Error Codes

The 500s Error Codes: Misconnections

Most of the error codes in the 500s mean there’s some kind of problem with the connection. For example, 500 means there’s an internal server error. 

For website owners, there are a few solutions you can try. For example:

  • Create a new .htaccess file to place in your home directory
  • Update your PHP memory limit
  • Review your WordPress plugins for potential errors

501: Site Down

For users, there’s nothing you can do about a 501 error except to contact the site owner and wait it out. 

For website owners, a 501 is a serious problem. It means your site is down, usually attributed to malware. You’ll have to do some serious investigation and overhaul to solve this one.

502: Bad Gateway

This error code means there’s a bad connection somewhere along the way to your website. You’ll have to do some trial and error to discover where the bad gateway actually is.

But, like many of the other error codes, try solving it by deleting your cache, resetting your DNS settings, or resetting your CDN. 

 503: Service Unavailable

Usually, 503 errors are temporary and will go away on their own. The server has lost service, but it will likely return. The best thing to do here is to wait it out. 

504: Gateway Time-Out

This usually means that due to some poor connection, the server is taking too long to respond to a request. For website owners, review your proxy settings to ensure the domain is appropriately set up. 

508: Resource Limit Reached

This error code appears when your server is at capacity. Try scanning for malware, deleting files, or buying extra server storage space. 

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Handling HTTP Error Codes For Optimal Browsing

Now that you are more familiar with the meanings of these common HTTP error codes, you can ensure both your browsing and web building are (mostly) pain-free.

Contact our team at Let’s Build a Website to find out how you can optimize your small business’s supersite.

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