Demystifying 8 Common Website Errors

Demystifying 8 Common Website Errors

Demystifying 8 Common Website Errors You Might Encounter

The internet can be frustrating, especially when you encounter cryptic error messages that leave you scratching your head. Fear not, fellow web traveller! This guide will shed light on eight of the most common website errors you might encounter, explaining their meanings and offering tips on how to navigate them like a pro.

(1) 400 Bad Request: Oops, Something Went Wrong!

This error usually occurs when your browser sends an invalid or corrupted request to the server. Browser extensions, incorrect form submissions, or network issues could cause it.


  • Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • Try using a different browser or device.
  • Check for any typos or errors in your form submissions.

(2) 401 Unauthorised: Access Denied

This error pops up when you try to access a restricted area of a website that requires authorisation (e.g., logging in with your username and password).


  • Ensure you’ve entered your login credentials correctly.
  • If you forgot your password, use the “forgot password” feature to reset it.
  • If you don’t have an account, create one if necessary.

(3) 403 Forbidden: You Shall Not Pass!

Like the 401 error, this indicates you lack permission to access a specific page, even if you’re logged in. This might be due to content restrictions or administrator-only access.


  • Check if the page is intended for a specific user group (e.g., administrators).
  • Contact the website owner or administrator for access if needed.

(4) 404: The Infamous Not Found

This classic error message indicates the server couldn’t locate the specific webpage you requested. It could be due to a typo in the URL, a missing page, or the page being permanently removed.


  • Double-check the URL for any typos.
  • Use the website’s search bar to find the page you’re looking for.
  • Check the website’s sitemap for a complete list of pages.

(5) 408 Request Timeout: Patience is a Virtue (But So is a Fast Server!)

This error signifies the server took too long to respond to your request, often due to high traffic or overloaded servers.


  • Refresh the page to see if the server can respond faster on a second attempt.
  • Check your internet connection for any stability issues.
  • Try accessing the website later when traffic might be lower.

(6) 500 Internal Server Error: Houston, We Have a Problem!

This generic error message signifies a problem on the website’s server, preventing it from fulfilling your request. It could be due to overloaded servers, software issues, or database problems.


  • Refresh the page to see if the error resolves itself.
  • Try accessing the website later, as the issue might be temporary.
  • Report the error to the website owner for them to investigate.

(7) 503 Service Unavailable: Be Back Soon!

This error indicates the server is temporarily unavailable, often due to maintenance or high traffic.


  • Wait a few minutes and try again, as the service might be restored soon.
  • Check the website’s social media or status page for updates.

While not technically error messages, broken links and slow loading times can be equally frustrating. Broken links lead to dead ends, while slow loading can test your patience.


  • Report broken links to the website owner.
  • Use a fast and reliable internet connection.
  • Consider clearing your browser cache and cookies if loading times persist.

Remember, encountering errors is a normal part of the web browsing experience. By understanding what these common errors mean and following the troubleshooting tips, you can navigate them confidently and get back to enjoying your online journey!

About the author

Steve Baron, an astute entrepreneur and seasoned marketing professional, is the driving force behind Webprecision, a company specialising in crafting affordable, fast, and SEO-friendly websites. Before his venture into the digital realm, Steve established Baron Marketing Ltd, an advertising agency that flourished under his leadership for over two decades. His entrepreneurial spirit further propelled him to launch several successful online startups.

A staunch advocate for nurturing budding entrepreneurs, Steve has served as a mentor for Business Mentors NZ. His academic credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Waikato, complemented with a Political Science Honours Degree from Victoria University of Wellington.

A prolific writer, Steve has penned three books, and his insightful editorials have graced the pages of newspapers across New Zealand. When not immersed in his professional endeavours, Steve fulfils his role as the Clerk of the Scales for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, is a competitive Bridge Grandmaster, and indulges in his passions for walking, running, and savouring the café experience.

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