Error 404 is an HTTP status code that means that the page you are trying to access cannot be found on a website on their server. The error indicates that while the server is reachable, the specific page that shows the error is not.
404 Not Found error messages are often customized by websites. So keep in mind that the error can show up in any way, depending on the website on which it appears.
Some forms exhibit 404 errors
Here are some common ways in which you may 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 operating system. Most appear inside a browser window like web pages.
In Internet Explorer, notice The webpage cannot be found usually indicates an HTTP 404 error, but a 400 Bad Request error is another possibility. You can check which error IE is referring to by checking the 404 or 400 that appear in the title bar.
Error 404 appears when opening the link through the Microsoft Office applications that generated the message “The Internet site reports that the item you requested could not be found (HTTP / 1.0 404)” inside the MS Office program.
When Windows Update generates an update, it appears as an error code 0x80244019 or as an announcement WU_E_PT_HTTP_STATUS_NOT_FOUND.
What causes HTTP 404 errors
Technically, the 404 error is a client-side error, implying that it was your error, due to the wrong URL you entered, or the page was moved or removed from the site.
Another possibility is if a website has moved a page or resource but hasn’t redirected the old URL to the new URL. When that happens, you’ll get a 404 error instead of being automatically redirected to the new page.
The Microsoft IIS web server sometimes provides more specific information about the cause of the 404 Not Found error by adding a number after the 404, as shown in HTTP Error 404.3 – Not Found, means MIME type restrictions.
How to fix error 404 Not Found
1. Retry the web page by pressing F5, click the refresh / reload button or retry the URL from the address bar.
The 404 Not Found error can appear for a number of reasons although no real issues exist, so sometimes a simple refresh will often load the page you’re looking for.
2. Check for errors in the URL. Usually, this error occurs because the URL was mistyped or the selected link was pointing to the wrong URL.
3. Scroll to each folder level in the URL until you find something.
For example if www.web.com/a/b/c.htm resulting in 404 Not Found error, please go to www.web.com/a/b/. If you get nothing here (or error), go to www.web.com/a/. This will lead you to where what you are looking for or at least confirm that it is no longer available.
Tips: If you have moved to the homepage of the website, try searching for the information you want. If the site doesn’t have search functionality, try navigating to the page you want using the category links to dig deeper into the site.
4. Search the page from a popular search engine. It can be as simple as having the completely wrong URL, in which case a quick search on Google or Bing will get you where you want it to be.
If you find the page you are following, update your bookmarks or favorites to avoid HTTP 404 errors in the future.
5. Clear your browser cache if there is any indication that a 404 message might be coming from your side. For example, if you can access the URL from your phone but not from your tablet, then clearing the tablet’s browser cache might help.
You may also consider clearing your browser’s cookies or at least the site-related cookie (s) in question if clearing the cache didn’t help.
6. Change the DNS server used by the computer, but usually only if an entire website causes you a 404 error, especially if the site is available to people on other networks (eg. Mobile networks your friends or friends in another city).
Site-wide 404s aren’t particularly common unless your ISP or the government filters / censors the websites. Regardless of the reason, if that happens, trying a different set of DNS servers is a good step to take. Check out our free Public DNS Servers list for some alternatives and instructions on how to do this.
7. Contact website directly. If they have removed the page you are following then the 404 error is perfectly legitimate and they can tell you that. If they redirected and generated an error for not redirecting visitors to the new page, they’ll be more than happy to receive a response from you and fix the error.
Tips: If you suspect that people are getting 404 errors for this site, but you’re not sure, a quick Twitter test can help resolve the issue. All you have to do is search by syntax #websitedown on Twitter, such as #facebookdown or #youtubedown. Twitter users are usually the first to start talking about a site outage.
8. In the end, if all options fail, wait. This is not fun, but it may be the only thing you can do right now.
Tips: You can find the 404 error on your own website through tools like DeadLinkChecker.com and ATOMSEO.
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