Error 404

What does that error page 404 actually mean?

Ever seen this?

Not Found The requested URL /file was not found on this server. A 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

We’re happily browsing away and all of a sudden we get this plain, ugly error message. What did we do wrong? What does it all mean?

404: Page Not Found

Basically this means that the page you’re trying to get to is unavailable or doesn’t exist. If you’ve followed a link and got this error page, it usually means one of two things:

  • the page doesn’t exist anymore and the link hasn’t been updated
  • there’s a typo in the link and it’s trying to go to the wrong address

How can I get to the right place?

The first thing to try is to hover over the link and see what address it’s pointing to. Most browsers will show you the link address at the bottom of the browser – check it for an obvious typo and you can sometimes correct it in the address bar yourself. If you can correct it then:

  • right-click on the link
  • select Copy Link Address or similar
  • paste it into the address bar
  • correct the obvious typo then hit Enter

Some common typing errors are:

  • Upper case instead of lower case, or vice versa
  • Letters switched around
    • Like www.theinetrnet.com
  • The wrong suffix
    • .com instead of .org, for example
  • missing suffixes in web page areas
    • www.theinternet.com/page2 instead of www.theinternet.com/page2.html

Also check for images and other files that have been uploaded to the wrong directory in CPanel, it’s so easy to do.

If your website has too many 404 errors then Google may punish your website in the rankings. It is really important to monitor your 404 errors on a monthly basis through Google Webmasters.

404-error-message

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About Nick Miletic

Nick Miletic is a director of successful Australian web host company, Rack Servers. Nick has many years' experience in the web hosting industry and his peers consider him an authority on all things internet related.

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