Table of Contents

    The Top 10 Most Common Website Errors And What They Mean

    Website Errors

    Most website owners that encounter an HTTP error experience a combination of panic and confusion. Knowing what error messages mean is the first step to resolving them.

    Here is a breakdown of the top 10 most common errors that you could encounter on your site.

    500 Internal Server Error

    When your web server faces a problem but is unable to determine the issue, you will see a 500 Internal Server Error. In fact, all 5** errors are server-side errors and not linked to your PC or internet connection. Oftentimes, this error is a result of overloaded servers. 

    To fix this type of server error, try the following easy steps from your end. 

    • Reload the page to check if it is a temporary error
    • Clear your browser cache to avoid seeing a cached version 
    • Delete the browser cookies for a fresh restart 
    • Exit and reopen the browser 
    • Resolve syntax error via .htaccess  

    If the error is still there, test your third-party plugins individually. If all else fails, contact your web hosting service provider to get to the bottom of it.

    401 Unauthorized 

    There are two reasons why this error could occur. It either indicates a failed login or an attempt to access restricted sites. Simply put, when the request of a user fails to pass the security threshold such as a password or other verification, 401 is displayed and access is denied.

    Keep in mind that all 4** errors are client-side errors. You can troubleshoot them from your end via a staging server to create backup copies. Clearing the cache and cookies in addition to checking the relevancy of the URL can help too. 

    400 Bad Request 

    Another client-side error, a 400 Bad Request error could be indicative of invalid login requests, dubious request routing, trespassing, malformed request syntax, and more. It means that the data transmitted by the client’s browser did not meet the HTTP protocols, and such an error is a sign of an invalid request.

    Seeing as the key causes are a poor internet connection, OS security issues, and cache trouble, the user will need to fix the problem on their end. 

    403 Forbidden 

    You can upgrade the security on your website by using the 403 Forbidden notice. It lets you hide sensitive information from hackers and malicious bots. For example, with the best web hosting service provider, you will be able to personalize permissions for users to access directories from your cPanel. 

    When someone attempts to access restricted directories, this error message will put an end to their journey. Typically, this is displayed when a user opens a directory that is not allowed to be accessed via the web.

    To resolve this error, you can reset your .htacess file or disable problematic WP plugins.

    404 Not Found 

    Yet another customer-side error, this notice will be displayed when a user attempts to access a deleted, expired, or non-existent file. The most common error message across sites, your users might see this when a page is removed, when the server speed is slow, or if the files accessed by them are oversized. 

    As a site owner, it is crucial that you bring down the total number of 404 errors on your website because it leads to high bounce rates and has a negative impact on SEO.

    The 404 error is considered similar to the 410 gone error. Understanding these two errors can help you improve your SEO rankings. In brief, 404 indicates a temporarily removed page, while 401 indicates a permanent removal of pages. 

    501 Not Implemented

    When a user’s browser does not support the requested features, a 501 Not Implemented error could be displayed. This server-side error is an indication that the server is incapable of completing the action.

    502 Service Temporarily Overloaded

    Yet another server error, 502 is typically resolved by reloading the page. This happens during traffic surges that lead to excessive resource consumption.

    503 Service Unavailable 

    When a customer attempts to access your website while it is overly busy or facing downtime, this is the error that shows up.

    Connection Refused by Host

    This error indicates a wrong choice of port or a misspelled IP address. Put simply, this is akin to the 403 error as it means that the client is not permitted to access the requested page or that the authentication details are incorrect.

    File Contains No Data 

    Sometimes users will come across pages with empty data. In such cases, the error message ‘File contains no data buffers’ could appear. This is mainly due to corrupt downloads of information and you will need to get a new version of the file to reset this error.

    Summing Up

    Now that you know that 5** are server-based errors and 4** are client-side issues, you can identify 400, 500, 401, 501, 403, and 503 easily and carry out some basic troubleshooting on your side before reaching out to your web hosting provider or reviewing your website setup.