HTTP Error Codes – 4XX Errors and More
When an online consumer (or anyone) is surfing the web, the browser is constantly in communication with the web server. The browser makes multiple requests and the web server tries to fulfill them. The 1xx codes are informational and they tell the browser that the request was received and processing. They serve as status reports to let the browser know what it’s doing.
The 2xx codes are the successful codes. They serve to let the browser know that the request is valid and has gone through or is in the process of going through. When this happens, the web page that the consumer is attempting to reach will show up. The 3xx codes are redirectional codes. They serve to represent that the original webpage has been moved or removed and attempt to bring the consumer the new URL. They tell the browser that more steps need to be taken in order to see the desired page. Since the 1xx, 2xx and 3xx are mostly informational, they are called HTTP Status Codes.
Within HTTP Status codes exists 4xx and 5xx codes. They represent the errors that can occur so they are referred to as HTTP Error codes. 4xx codes represent client error, and the most common rage from 400 to 404. The most common mistakes include having bad syntax or simply just cannot be fulfilled for whatever reason. 5xx codes represent server error, and the most common range from 500 to 510. The 5xx are a little more complicated because they represent that the server has failed to process what is apparently a valid request. When these codes show up, it means that the request cannot be processed and you may encounter something like the following:
It is important to understand what these errors stand for so that you can quickly resolve it to give the consumer a positive experience. While many error codes are behind the scenes and undetectable by the consumer, the daunting 404 page is a common page that many people fear.
The traditional 404 page is sterile and stale, only serving to let the consumer that something went wrong. This could install a fear in the consumer that your webstore has been compromised and the consumer may fear for their security. If this happens, they will most likely take their business elsewhere. For that reason, it is important to have customized 404 pages with recommended navigational options to give the consumer another route.
Here are some examples of less imposing and more approachable 404 pages:
For a full list of 4xx and 5xx codes please see the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Status Code Registry.