Browser Error Definitions

Dealing With Browser Error Messages

If you’re a frequent visitor to the internet, then you’ve more than likely come across a cryptic error message before while you were browsing. You know the ones I’m talking about – something like 400: Bad Request or 404: Page Not Found.

Now, for the most part these messages remain hidden in the vast black hole that is the World Wide Web, but occasionally you may run across one or two of these errors that cause you to believe you’ve done something wrong.

That’s simply not true, and the following guide is designed to clue you in to the meaning behind various browser errors and what you can do (if anything) about these pesky nuisances.


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400: Bad Request

Probably one of the more common browser errors, this error simply means that you mistyped a URL or that you don’t have valid permission to access the page you’re looking for. Because websites are case sensitive, you’ll need to check to make sure you typed the URL exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

Subsequently, if you’re trying to visit a website that you found in a magazine or newspaper and you’ve received one of these errors, it’s quite possible that whoever got that link wrote it incorrectly.

Mess around with the URL and see if you can get to the main page of the website that you’re trying to visit.

 If you can, you may be able to manually navigate to the original page you were trying to view.


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401: Unauthorized

If you’ve bumped into one of these little guys, that means the page you are trying to access doesn’t recognize you as someone who belongs at that URL. You either don’t have the correct password or were never authorized by the page creator to view that site.

This could also mean that the website you are trying to connect to is restricting people based on the domain they are using to connect, i.e. .edu or .gov. If you believe this message was caused in error, then check the spelling of your password and make sure it’s correct.

Remember, most passwords are case sensitive so “Password” does not look the same as “password.” If you cannot get through and you know you have access to the website, then you have no choice but to contact the site admin and hope they can help sort out your difficulties.


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403: Forbidden

Similar to the 401 error, this browser message pops up when you’re trying to visit a website that you don’t have access to view. It might be protected in some way, or restricted for viewing by certain people.

If you believe your password is correct (after repeating the steps in #2 and checking to make sure it’s spelled correctly,) but you are still unable to connect, e-mail the sites admininstrator and try to figure out what’s causing your browser to display the error.


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404: Not Found

Another common browser message, a Not Found indicates that a website you’re trying to view may not exist anymore. Alternatively, the page could have been moved to a different server or renamed to something else.

Once again, you want to check the spelling of your URL and ensure that you’ve spelled it correctly. If it’s still not working, you may want to try changing the URL until you’re able to locate the main site.

For example, if you’re searching for yourwebsite.com/mainpage/fun, try searching instead for yourwebsite.com/mainpage. Keep doing that until you end up at www.yourwebsite.com, the main part of the site. If the URL works, you can try to manually navigate to the intended destination.

Some webmasters design custom error pages for links on their website that no longer work or are outdated.

While some of these error messages may be humorous or interesting, they all mean the same thing every other messages means — but they are customized so the viewer can actually understand what’s going on.

Generally, these custom error messages are used in place of your standard 404: Not Found browser error, but they can be used for other errors as well.

Now that you know what all of these browser messages are REALLY saying, you can surf the web without worrying too much about these bad boys popping up.


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