What is a 404 Not Found Error (and How to Fix It)

A 404 not found error is an HTTP status code that appears when a website’s server cannot find the page you tried to load. Usually, you will see a 404 not found error when accessing a broken link or bookmark.

In this article, we will cover what the 404 not found error is, how it is caused, and what you can do to fix it.

What causes 404 not found error

The 404 not found error is one of the most common error codes on the internet. It’s a client-side error that appears when the web server can’t find the specific page for the URL.

The most probable causes of the 404 not found error are:

  • URL is mistyped
  • URL or domain name has changed
  • Pages are deleted or pages are missing

Many site administrators create custom error pages for the 404 not found error code, so it may appear differently depending on the site you’re trying to load.

Some common names for HTTP 404 errors are:

  • 404 not found
  • Requested URL [URL] not found on this server
  • Thunder 404 Heartless Equipped
  • Error 404. The page you are looking for could not be found.
  • HTTP 404
  • 404 File or folder not found
  • 404 error page Not Found

The 404 not found error doesn’t just happen to people browsing the web. If you run a website, the error means that people who come to your site will load your page, see the error code, then leave within seconds. Most people won’t visit the page again. It can negatively affect your SEO because Google algorithms think your page is not suitable for user search intent.

Quick fix

There are several ways you can try to fix the 404 error, including:

  • Refresh the page: Sometimes a 404 error page is caused by a minor glitch. Press F5 or click the refresh button in the top left corner of your web browser.
  • Check URLs: Check the URL in the search bar for any typos. Often this is what causes 404 errors, and a quick scan of the spelling can fix the problem.
  • Using Google: Try searching the page using a popular search engine like Bing or Google. Enter the site’s homepage and the name of the site that caused the 404 error in the address bar and press enter. If the site’s admin has changed the site’s URL, the site’s URL will show up here.
  • Search the site: Likewise, you can try scrolling folder levels down until you find a loadable page, then navigate the site to find the page you’re looking for. For example, if www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/how-to doesn’t load, move the directory level (e.g. www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/) and try to find the page there.

Entire website is down

If you cannot load any pages from the website, chances are, the website is down. Use a service like Is it crashing right now? to find out if there is a problem with the site. Alternatively, you can go to social media (if it’s a popular site or one with its own social media pages) to see if anyone else is having the same problem.

If the entire site is down and it only affects you, there are a few things you can try:

  • Clear your browser’s cache: If you think the 404 error is only happening to you (for example, you can get it on another device), try clearing your browser cache. See our guide on how to clear your cache in all popular browsers.
  • Change DNS server: Change your DNS server 404 errors can sometimes be fixed. However, if the entire site is giving you a 404 not found error, it may have been blocked by your ISP or government censorship filters.
  • Let the webmaster know: Finally, you can contact the site’s administrator to notify them of the problem. Sometimes, minor misconfigurations that occur during site updates can affect the site’s performance and they may not be noticeable.

How to fix 404 not found error on my website

If you are a website or admin and want to find and remove broken links from your site to improve user experience, try checking out Google Search Console. This tool uses web crawlers to check your site for problems, including links that cause users to receive a 404 error response code.

  1. Go Google Search Console website and choose Start now.
  1. Enter your website URL and verify that you own the domain. To do so, go to your hosting control panel and enter a TXT record. This may take some time to update.
  1. Once verified, click Go to property.
  1. From the menu on the left, select Network coverage.
  1. Here you will see any errors related to your pages.

If you use WordPress, you can fix the 404 error easily. Usually, 404 errors on the WordPress platform are caused by problems with .htaccess file.

Fix 404 errors on your site by doing the following:

  1. Open the WP admin dashboard.
  2. Below Setting, option Permalinks.
  1. Click Save changes.

This will rewrite the .htaccess file and remove the rewrite rules, solving your 404 error code problem.

Alternatively, you can use a dead link checker like www.deadlinkchecker.com or SEMRush audit tool.

Back to browsing

Whether you’re a webmaster or you’re just trying to read an article, there’s nothing worse than seeing a 404 error pop up. This is one of the most common and annoying error codes, but now you know how to fix it if it reappears.

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