The 404 Error - How To Detect And Correct It?

The 404 Error – How To Detect And Correct It?
We would have often come across this annoying message on our screen “404 error, page not found”. This prompt on a web page especially when we have been eagerly looking forward to fetching some valid information, undeniably makes our heart sink. Many of us might have even vowed never to return to that web page link, only to recheck it the very next day!

What exactly is this 404 error and how do we deal with it?

What is 404 error?

Technically, “404 error, page not found” is called an “HTTP Response Status Code” and when this hits your screen, it typically implies that the web page you are looking for does not exist, in the sense that it could have been moved/ removed /the URL has been changed. It is basically a client-side error meaning the web page does not correspond to the URL used.

How do you detect this error?

Beginning with interpreting few terminologies, the server refers to a remote computer. The client is the web browser and source is the webpage or its corresponding URL. There are majorly two different possibilities for the error to occur. Firstly, when the client sends a valid request to the server which after successfully receiving it is unable to process due to unavailability of the resource in the particular location. Secondly, when a fake 404 error is thrown out. This happens when the resource location has actually been found but deliberately gives out a 404 error. Such fake error hit hard on search engine results of web pages as Google algorithms are stringent to filter only legitimate resources and links. However, in both cases, a resource which has existed is called without a proper server-side redirect.

Read also: Is URL masking the best way to deal with redirects?

How do you prevent this error?

In order to avoid interruptions during your browsing due to such 404 errors, few simple steps can be followed:
Ensure to clear your cookies and caches at regular intervals of time. The error message could have been thrown due to a previous unsuccessful browsing session.
Always check the URL you intend to access. You would definitely not like to be surprised by an incorrect URL.
Make sure that your system is free of virus and malware. If you still are not able to access the source, you may need to contact your web administrator.

Read also: Do 404 errors pull down SEO Strategies on websites?

How to correct it?

Going further, here are few troubleshooting tips to avoid the “404 error, page not found” prompt altogether:

Managing deleted pages:

Do take care to redirect unused or deleted web pages to your homepage as it takes search engines almost a month to recognize pages as unused or deleted. This may impact the performance of your webpage drastically. So be cautious!

Check for permissions:

404 errors with “you don’t have permission to access” state that there is an access problem involved. Permission access needs to be checked via FTP or for a detailed analysis the concerned provider maybe contacted.

Memory limit:

The memory limit also needs to be checked if an “out of memory” message pops up. You will need to contact your host to increase your memory limit.


A regeneration of this file leads to a 404 error. It controls, protects folders and changes aspects of URLs. You may simply delete it manually through FTP or mere toggling the option for friendly URL may work.

SSL certificate configuration:

When an SSL certificate is incorrectly configured, it throws a 404 error on the web page. This can be resolved by contacting the host provider.

SEO tool

Using a powerful SEO tool which helps in rectifying web page issues thereby boosting potential traffic to your web page. It backs you with its features of evaluation for on-page SEO and usability issues. This tool scans the web page for the possibility of errors including 404 error and generates highly interactive reports for you to track the progress of your web page from time to time. The implementation of such tools not only turbo charges the performance but also helps you in crafting a future-ready online presence strategy.

Read also: Best SEO Tools for complete Website Analysis


SEO Scientists

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