blog background image

Common HTTP Error Codes and Messages

Table of Contents


(Feature Image: Common HTTP Error Codes and Messages)

HTTP error codes are an essential aspect of website management and maintenance. They provide valuable information about the issues your site visitors might encounter while browsing. 

In this guide, we'll explore common HTTP error codes, their meanings, and potential solutions. We'll also discuss the importance of addressing these errors for effective SEO. 

Understanding HTTP Error Codes

HTTP error codes are three-digit numbers that indicate the outcome of an HTTP request. These are sorted into five groups based on the first digit:

  • 1xx (Informational): The server got your request and is still working on it.
  • 2xx (Successful): Your request was properly processed and understood by the server.
  • 3xx (Redirection): To finish the request, you need to follow some additional steps or go to a new location.
  • 4xx (Client Error): There's an error or issue with your request, so the server can't complete it.
  • 5xx (Server Error): Even though your request was correct, the server couldn't finish processing it due to its own issues.

Understanding these error codes can help you identify and resolve issues on your website, enhance user experience, and maintain your search engine rankings.

Common HTTP Error Codes and Their Meanings

4xx Client Error Codes

  1. 400 Bad Request: This error occurs when the server is unable to understand the request due to invalid syntax. To fix this issue, check for errors in the client's request, such as incorrect URL formatting or improper use of special characters.
  2. 401 Unauthorized: The request lacks valid authentication credentials for the target resource. Ensure that your site's authentication system is functioning correctly and that users have the appropriate permissions.
  3. 403 Forbidden: The server understands the request but refuses to authorize it. This status often indicates that the user does not have permission to access the requested resource. Check your server's file and directory permissions to ensure proper access.
  4. 404 Not Found: The requested resource could not be found on the server. This error often occurs when a page or resource has been moved or deleted. To resolve this issue, update any broken links and implement 301 redirects for moved content.
  5. 429 Too Many Requests: The user has sent too many requests in a given amount of time. Implementing rate limiting can help prevent this error and protect your site from potential abuse.

5xx Server Error Codes

  1. 500 Internal Server Error: A generic error message that indicates a server-side issue. To resolve this problem, review your server logs and check for any coding errors or misconfigurations.
  2. 502 Bad Gateway: The server received an invalid response from an upstream server while processing the request. Check the configuration of any proxy servers or load balancers to ensure proper communication between servers.
  3. 503 Service Unavailable: The server is currently unable to handle the request due to maintenance or server overload. Monitor your server's resources and consider upgrading your hosting plan if necessary.
  4. 504 Gateway Timeout: The server did not receive a timely response from an upstream server. To fix this issue, optimize your server's performance and ensure that all connected systems are functioning correctly.

(Table: Common HTTP errors, diagnosis and solutions)

The Impact of HTTP Errors on SEO

HTTP errors can have a detrimental impact on your website's search engine ranking, as they can lead to several negative consequences. These include decreased user satisfaction, increased bounce rates, poor website quality signals to search engines, and ultimately, lost traffic and potential conversions.

When users encounter HTTP errors on your website, their overall satisfaction is likely to decrease, causing them to leave your site sooner than anticipated. This increase in bounce rates can be interpreted by search engines as a sign that your website does not provide valuable content or a satisfactory user experience, which may result in lower search engine rankings.

Furthermore, HTTP errors can signal to search engines that your website is of poor quality or unreliable. This perception can influence how search engines index and rank your site, leading to reduced visibility in search results and a decline in traffic and potential conversions.

To counter these negative effects, it’s crucial to promptly address HTTP errors on your website. By proactively fixing these issues, you can maintain your website's search engine rankings and ensure a positive user experience for your visitors.

Regular monitoring and maintenance of your website will help you stay ahead of potential problems and enable you to consistently provide a seamless and enjoyable online experience for your users.

Tools for Monitoring and Addressing HTTP Errors

Each of these tools offers unique features and capabilities for monitoring your website's performance and detecting HTTP errors. Here's how they can help:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site's presence in Google search results. It helps you detect HTTP errors by:

  • Providing a detailed report of all the pages with crawl errors, which include HTTP errors such as 404 (not found), 500 (internal server error), etc.
  • Offering a URL Inspection tool to check the status of specific URLs and identify any issues related to HTTP errors or indexing.
  • Sending notifications and alerts when new errors are detected on your website, helping you address them promptly.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a powerful website crawler that can quickly analyze your site's structure, identify broken links, and detect HTTP errors. It helps you monitor your website's performance by:

  • Crawling your website and providing a comprehensive list of all URLs, including their HTTP status codes, making it easy to identify and fix any errors.
  • Allowing you to filter and export the list of URLs with specific HTTP errors, such as 404s, for further analysis and resolution.
  • Identifying broken internal and external links that may be causing HTTP errors, which can affect user experience and search engine rankings.

Ahrefs Site Audit

Ahrefs Site Audit is an SEO tool that provides valuable insights into your website's technical health by analyzing on-page and off-page factors. It can help you detect HTTP errors and monitor your website's performance through:

  • Conducting a thorough crawl of your website and reporting any HTTP errors, such as 400 (bad request), 404 (not found), or 500 (internal server error), allowing you to take corrective action.
  • Highlighting broken internal and external links, which may lead to HTTP errors and negatively impact user experience and search engine rankings.
  • Offering detailed reports on your site's performance, such as page load times, redirect chains, and other factors that can directly or indirectly contribute to HTTP errors.

By using these tools together, you can effectively monitor your website's performance, detect HTTP errors, and implement necessary improvements to ensure a better user experience and improved search engine rankings.

Level Up Your Site Speed and Performance Today

Fix My Site Speed is dedicated to providing comprehensive uptime monitoring services that are tailored to meet the unique needs of your business. Our goal is to ensure the optimal performance and reliability of your website for an enhanced user experience and improved search engine rankings.

With our services, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Prompt Detection and Resolution: We swiftly identify and resolve any performance issues that may arise on your website, ensuring minimal disruption to your users and maintaining a seamless online experience.
  • Expert Advice: Our team provides valuable insights and guidance on enhancing your website's user experience and SEO, helping you stay ahead of the competition and attract more traffic.
  • Access to Leading Tools and Resources: We offer access to industry-leading tools and resources that support website accessibility and reliability. These tools enable you to monitor your site's performance, identify areas for improvement, and implement the necessary changes to optimize your website.
  • Proactive Monitoring: We take a proactive approach to uptime monitoring, continuously scanning for potential issues and ensuring that your website remains accessible and responsive at all times.
  • Customized Solutions: We understand that every business has unique requirements, which is why we offer customized solutions to cater to your specific needs. This ensures that you receive the most appropriate and effective service for your website.
  • Transparent Reporting: Our transparent reporting system keeps you informed about your website's performance, allowing you to make informed decisions about its ongoing maintenance and optimization.

(Image: Level up your speed and performance with the help of the Fix My Site Speed team)

By choosing Fix My Site Speed, you can rest assured that your website will remain accessible, reliable, and optimized for the best possible user experience and search engine rankings.

Don't let HTTP errors hold back your website's success. Contact us today and let us help you optimize your site's performance and SEO.

help section background

Slow Store? We can Help!

Our purpose is to assist Shopify merchants wherever possible to enhance their performance from every angle – speed included. If you want your site to get the best possible results in the market, you need to get ahead of your competition. And that starts with Shopify speed optimisation.