When a site is accessed through a browser like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, etc. you may be frequently seeing some error messages. After seeing these error messages you may come to a conclusion that the site can’t be accessed and probably close the page. However, a simple reading of these error messages thrown by the browser will help in understanding more about the issue better and try opening the sites in other way or ignore it. Here we will discuss most frequent error messages shown on the browser to indicate what’s happening on the backend.
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Browser Errors with Status Code
Most of the error messages shown by the browser will have a three-digit code called “HTTP Status Code”. Whenever the browser from a PC or Mac try to reach out the site, the server on which the site is hosted will return a code indicating the status of the request. The success codes are not shown in the browser and only the error codes are shown to the users.
400 – Bad Request
The “Bad Request” message on the browser indicates that the server received a wrong or invalid URL request from the browser. It could be a wrong URL when you typed or a link you clicked might have been with special characters not recognized by the server. Check the URL entered or the link clicked to see any mistakes in that. If not the easy way is to find the IP address of the site you are trying to open from any IP lookup tool and enter the IP address in the browser’s address bar to open the site.
401 – Unauthorized
This is very simple to understand – you have no rights or authorization to the page you are trying to view. The page could have been protected with a password typically a page for site members that needs user id / password and anyone trying to access the page without appropriate access will get “Unauthorized” error. Check you are supposed to view the page and have required login credentials, if yes then go to the login page of that site and try to login with your user id / password. If still not working then follow the instructions on the login page for setting up an account or contact the webmaster of that site.
404 – Not Found
You may see different types of “Not Found” errors since it can be customized by the site owner. The error “Not Found” essentially means that the page you are looking for is no more available on the server. There could be various reasons for this such as the owner might have deleted the page or changed the URL without setting required redirection.
Most of times you will get alternate options like viewing the home page of the site or a search box to look for your interested topic on that site. Still if you do not find the page then you need to assume that the page is deleted by the owner.
408 – Request Timeout
When you try to open a site from the browser, it will have an expected time to receive a response from the server. If the browser did not receive any response within the expected time then it shows a message “Request Timeout” indicating that no response was received from the server. Here the problem could be at sever side and the page may not be reachable at that moment. You can retry opening the site by refreshing the browser after few minutes.
5xx series errors are mostly related to server errors, which you can’t correct from local computer. If you are not able to open the site after few attempts it is better to reach out the site owner or support to resolve the issue. Below are some of the most frequently seen 500 series errors in a browser.
500 – Internal Server Error
This indicates the problem with the server’s internal configuration. Might be the server facing a momentary issue when you are trying to access the page or could be different issue, which needs to be resolved by the site owner. You can refresh the page after a while and if the same error continues then reach out the site’s support to resolve 500 server error.
502 – Bad Gateway
Generally when a new page that was not accessed previously from the browser is opened, the request was sent to more than one server to get the exact location of the page on the web. The “Bad Gateway” message indicates that the servers between the browser and actual location of the site do not interact appropriately. Here the solution could be to change the DNS settings of your browser and use different DNS servers other than the default one so that the browser will try to get the site’s location through different route.
503 – Service Unavailable
This is a temporary or short-term error message from the site owner to inform the users that the website will not be available for sometime. 503 status message indicates the site’s downtime and you can access the site once it is up and running.
504 – Gateway Timeout
This is a same kind of error like 408 with the difference that “Gateway Timeout” error indicates that the two servers can’t interact each other to get the appropriate response for the requested URL within the expected time. Possibly one of the servers might be down or having momentary issue and you can try to reach the page after a while.
Browser Errors Without Status Codes
It is always not necessary that the error messages are relevant to server status codes. There are messages displayed not connected to status codes and generated by the browser itself. Below are such error messages seen frequently on the browser.
Sites with https protocol and providing online transactions should have a digital certification from the required authorities. The browser when trying to open such a site will look for digital certificates and the validity to ensure that it is reliable to access. If you see any certificate related errors such as “Untrusted Certificate” it is better to be away from the site by not accessing it. There could be various reasons for this message like the validity might be expired or the site was hacked by someone. If you want to access the site then contact the site administrator or support asking the explanation for the browser’s message.
Related: Fix private connection error in Chrome.
Most modern browsers have built-in malware detection and show the message that accessing the site may harm your computer. It is highly recommended not to open such sites though you have latest antivirus running. The security alert may also be displayed when the link you clicked try to access the application from your computer. If you receive security alerts more frequently even for the sites you regularly visit without any issues then check your security level settings. If it is set as “High” then the browser will show many alerts and change it “Medium” or “Low” based on your need. At any case when a browser shows a security warning it is better not to open the site.
If you see message related to connectivity then try to open few other sites and check whether you are receiving the same message or not. If you receive the same message it could be a network issue that your computer is not connected to Internet or your Wi-Fi / LAN is not connected appropriately. In this case check the network connections and retry to access the site again.
Plugins and Add-ons
Sometimes the browser plugins / add-ons may also block access to the site and show irrelevant error messages like security alerts. Use only reliable plugins and delete all unnecessary plugins from your computer. If required you can uninstall all existing plugins and install only the plugins what you need.
Are you seeing a different content showing many ads and links that are not related to the site you opened? The possible cause is it could be a parked domain by the hosting company since the original domain registration might have been expired. Check the URL you entered is correct and contact the site’s support to know whether the site can be still accessed with other URL. It is better not to click on any links or download content from the parked domains.