Chances are you’ve run into a 404 Error while browsing the web. If you haven’t, it’s only a matter of time. A 404 Error, or HTTP 404, 404 not found, or page not found, is the most common web error and is encountered when the page you are searching for could not be located by the server it was requested on.
Undoubtedly, there is a lot that goes into managing a healthy website. Keeping track of everything from site visits, security, plugin updates, broken links, and the dreaded error messages can quickly become overwhelming. One place to start in maintaining a healthy and functional website is to have a general understanding of web error codes. Web error codes can hinder the effectiveness of your website.
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s zoom out and talk about what HTTP Status Codes are, the issues they pose, and how to correct them.
What are HTTP Status Codes?
HTTP Status Codes, which include common web errors, are numbers sent from the web server to the browser that gives web developers and search engines, like Google or Bing, information about the web page and web server.
When a request for data, like a web page, is sent to the server, the server will respond with a code that indicates if the request was successful.
Sometimes this number indicates that the content is found and should load as expected. On the other hand, it can also indicate an error; like the content is missing or the server is experiencing difficulties, such as thinking it might be a teapot.
To put it plainly, if everything on your website is working cleanly, an HTTP status code won’t show up. If something is out of line (or date, more likely), a web error code shows up in the browser for all to see.
Common HTTP Status Codes
- 202 – OK: this happens behind the scenes and means that everything went as expected and the web page is displaying as desired.
- 301 – Permanent Redirect: this let’s search engines know that the page they have landed on has been permanently moved to a new URL and that the record in their database should be updated.
- 302 – Temporary Redirect: this functions almost exactly like a 301, yet they tell search engines that the requested page has only been temporarily redirected; therefore, the URL should not be removed from their database.
- 404 – Not Found: the most common web error – encountered when the page you are searching for could not be located by the server it was requested on.
- 500 – Internal Server Error: one of the hardest codes to troubleshoot, for they can be as vague as the name they are given. This is a common code if something related to the core of your website has a code error. These need to be found and fixed as soon as possible as they can seriously damage the function of your website, as well as its reputation on search engines.
- 503 – Service Unavailable: these can occur because the server received too many requests at once or because it needed a reboot for a software update. If noticed, it is best to contact your development team or hosting provider.
To keep a reference of these codes, download our Web Errors Cheat Sheet!
Why Error Codes are a Problem
Web errors can cause issues for many reasons, from reputation to performance. If you notice any of these errors – 4xx or 5xx – it is important to move towards resolving them as soon as you can, to the best of your ability.
Some, like a 404 Not Found, can be as easy as updating a link from a button or hyperlink. Others, like a 500 Internal Server Error, can be harder to troubleshoot. Ultimately, all will have a negative effect on your website’s performance.
That is, as search engines crawl your site for ranking in search results, these errors lead to a lower ranking than if no errors were discovered. Lower rankings lead to less traffic and less traffic leads to lower conversions. Thus, the less errors on your site, the greater potential for conversion.
Moreover, from a user standpoint, running into a broken web page can give off a negative impression. One that may stick with users in a time they are looking to establish credibility with your business.
Stay on Top of Web Errors
There are easy-to-use tools, such as SEMRush, that allow you to identify these issues through a DIY method. However, if you don’t fancy yourself a web developer, or the very thought of that overwhelms you – don’t panic. VSG Marketing is here to help you!
Our solution for those looking to improve the overall health, accessibility and security of their website is Web Monitoring.
Now offered in four tiers – Basic, Plus, Pro and a new option tailored for E-Commerce – Web Monitoring is a recurring service conducted by our team that is structured to keep your website in pristine performance. Check out the different tiers below.
Ensure your website is secure & healthy with this base plan that focuses on informing you of key optimization areas to focus on. The monthly activities include the following activities:
- 1 Monthly Site Audit
- Broken Link Check
- Summary Report
With our Plus Plan the focus is on both Optimization & Security. We will provide you advanced support to improve the performance, safety and security of your site. These monthly deliverables include the following activities to meet your needs:
- Comprehensive Monthly Audit & Report
- Web Developer Analysis & Recommendations
- Software & Plugin Updates
- Hack & Malware Removal
- SSL Certificate to Protect Visitor Info
- Speed & Performance Tests
- A Dedicated Account Manager
This comprehensive plan focuses on Optimization, Security & Engagement. We will provide you comprehensive strategy, security and support along with key searchability insights.
- All the Plus Plan Offerings, in addition to:
- 1 Monthly SEO Report
- Suggestions and next steps for SEO improvement
- Social Media Report (optional)
This plan is structured to help businesses with large E-Commerce stores integrated into their website.
In addition to the offerings listed in the Plus Plan, we will also tackle the following store related activities:
- Cart Abandonment Reports
- Bounce Rate Assessment
- Search Console Checkup (to ensure your product pages are being indexed by Google)
- Monthly Test of Checkout Process *only possible with certain store platforms
If you are looking to secure your website, optimize its performance, and identify ways to increase engagement, we would love to talk to you about our Web Monitoring packages in order to discover the plan that best fits your needs.