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Common Website Errors and What To Do About Them

By Mira Brody - Last Updated on 01/18/2018

Website errors happen, but what do all those numbers mean? As a website owner, when is there cause for concern? Are your site’s visitors and business’s customers experiencing the same thing? Although some are minor, if your site is throwing errors often, it can hinder customers from accessing your website when they need it, not only creating frustration, but also the potential for you to lose sales. Here is a handy list of common error states to help you understand what’s going on under the hood if you do come across one on your site.

404 — These occur when a visitor has clicked on a broken link, leading them to a webpage that no longer exists. Google doesn’t like 404 pages and will count them against you in search results.
Solution: Be sure to log in and review your site’s Google Search Console for broken links and check all of the links on your website every now and then to see that they all function as intended. When you do come across one that leads to a 404, you’ll have to fix the URL, or remove it from your site all together.

500 — You’ll see this when the web server hosting your website encounters an issue, usually when it is experiencing a high volume of requests.
Solution: First, try reloading your browser, clearing your browser’s cookies, or waiting until web traffic clears. If you find that this error is occurring frequently on your site, check with your website host and consider a new provider with improved service. If you are a JTech customer, that would of course, be us.

403 (Forbidden) & 401 (Unauthorized) — The link you clicked may be directed toward authorized users only, or has specific permissions, such as an employee portal, or the login attempt has failed.
Solution: Clear your cache and reload the webpage. If a site visitor without a login experiences this error, ask them to show you the URL they accessed the page from. You can check for misspellings, but also make sure it has an extension (such as .com, .net, .html, etc.). If the link to this login page was accessed from an external source, such as an email, it is possible it was pasted incorrectly. For JTech customers, if you were to ever see this error, contact us.

408 — This is a Request Timeout error, which means the request you sent to the website server (e.g. a request to load a web page) took longer than it was willing to wait. Your connection with the website timed out.
Solution: If you or your site visitors are frequently experiencing this error, your website host may not be handing the amount of traffic you have. As with all of these more technical errors, the best fix is to consider upgrading to a hosting service that can handle the number of visitors you have on your site. For JTech customers, if you were to ever see this, contact us.

502 — Another sign of a server being unable to handle your site’s traffic. We see this error a lot with those who have a commodity hosting service that can’t handle website requests in a timely fashion.
Solution: This error will clear once traffic decreases, but again, a persisting 502 error may require researching a better hosting service for your website needs. For JTech customers, if you were to ever see this, contact us.

We hope this compilation of errors comes in handy when you next see one. Although some are due to things out of your business’s control, such as poor internet connection, it is good to know what is going with your website so that you can stay running and available to your customers 24/7.

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About Mira Brody

Mira Brody is an editor, writer, and marketing expert with 12+ years of experience. She has worked as a local news reporter, a writer/editor, and as a leader in large-scale branding strategy. Mira worked at JTech as the staff writer and editor for internal and client projects from March 2015 to December 2019.