A 404 error is an HTTP status code that means that the page you were trying to reach on a website couldn’t be found on their server.
To be clear, the error indicates that while the server itself is reachable, the specific page showing the error is not.
404 Not Found error messages are frequently customized by individual websites. So, keep in mind that the error might show up in just about any way imaginable depending on what website it’s shown from.
How You Might See the 404 Error
Here are some common ways in which you might see the HTTP 404 error displayed:
- 404 Error
- 404 Not Found
- Error 404
- The requested URL [URL] was not found on this server
- HTTP 404
- Error 404 Not Found
- 404 File or Directory Not Found
- HTTP 404 Not Found
- 404 Page Not Found
- Error 404. The page you’re looking for can’t be found.
These error messages can appear in any browser or any operating system. Most display inside the browser window just as web pages do.
In Internet Explorer, the message The webpage cannot be found usually indicates an HTTP 404 error but a 400 Bad Request error is another possibility. You can check to see which error IE is referring to by checking for either 404 or 400 in the title bar.
Cause of HTTP 404 Errors
Technically, an Error 404 is a client-side error, implying that it’s your mistake, either because you typed the URL incorrectly or the page has been moved or removed from the website and you should have known.
Another possibility is if a website has moved a page or resource but did so without redirecting the old URL to the new one. When that happens, you’ll receive a 404 error instead of being automatically routed to the new page. Advanced SEO can avoid breaks in URLs and automatically redirect old URLs to the new one.
Microsoft IIS web servers sometimes give more specific information about the cause of 404 Not Found errors by suffixing a number after the 404, as in HTTP Error 404.3 – Not Found, which means MIME type restriction.
How to Fix the 404 Not Found Error
- Retry the web page by pressing F5, clicking/tapping the refresh/reload button, or trying the URL from the address bar again.The 404 Not Found error might appear for several reasons even though no real issue exists, so sometimes a simple refresh will often load the page you were looking for.
- Check for errors in the URL. Often times this error appears because the URL was typed wrong or the link that was selected points to the wrong URL.
- Search for the page from a popular search engine. It’s possible that you simply have the entirely wrong URL in which case a quick Google or Bing search should get you where you want to go.If you do find the page you were after, update your bookmark or favorite to avoid the HTTP 404 error in the future.
- Clear your browser’s cache if you have any indication that the 404 message might just be yours. For example, if you can reach the URL from your phone but not from your tablet, clearing the cache on your tablet’s browser might help. You might also consider clearing your browser’s cookies or at least the one(s) involved with the website in question if clearing the cache didn’t work.
- Finally, if all else fails, wait. No, it’s not fun, but it might be your only course of action, especially if you’re confident the 404 error shouldn’t be happening (i.e., the page really should be at the URL you have and others are having the same problem and find it equally strange).
- How do I fix error 404 messages on my website? If you’re aware of pages on your website with broken links, redirect or correct them. If a 404 error appears due to a deleted page, consider restoring or redirecting it to new and related content.
- How do I fix error 404 on WordPress? If you use WordPress, 404 errors often pop up because of redirect conflicts or permalink issues. Fix broken links for individual pages or posts.
Visit Client Area to request support if 404s become present on your website. There may be some investigating to do as to why there are breaks on your website.