Fixing a 404 Error
A 404 error is an HTTP status code that means that the page you were trying to reach on a
website couldn’t be found on their server.
To be clear, the error indicates that while the server itself is reachable, the specific page
showing the error is not.
404 Not Found error messages are frequently customized by individual websites. So, keep in
mind that the error might show up in just about any way imaginable depending on what
website it’s shown from.
How You Might See the 404 Error
Here are some common ways in which you might see the HTTP 404 error displayed:
- 404 Error
- 404 Not Found
- Error 404
- The requested URL [URL] was not found on this server
- HTTP 404
- Error 404 Not Found
- 404 File or Directory Not Found
- HTTP 404 Not Found
- 404 Page Not Found
- Error 404. The page you’re looking for can’t be found.
Any browser or operating system can display these error messages. Most appear within the
browser window just as web pages do.
The 404 error message in Internet Explorer usually indicates an HTTP 404 error, but a 400 Bad
Request error is also possible. The title bar of your browser can be checked to see if IE is
returning 404 or 400 errors.
The Internet website reports that the item you requested (HTTP/1.0 404) could not be found
when opening links via Microsoft Office applications.
When Windows Update produces one, it appears as a code 0x80244019 or as the message
Cause of HTTP 404 Errors
An Error 404 is technically a client-side error, meaning it exists because of your error, either
because the URL was typed incorrectly or the page has been moved or removed from the
website and you should have known.
It is also possible that a website moved a page or resource without redirecting the old URL to
the new one. Instead of being routed to the new page automatically, you’ll receive a 404 error.
How to Fix the 404 Not Found Error
Retry the web page by pressing F5, clicking/tapping the refresh/reload button, or trying the URL
from the address bar again.
The 404 Not Found error might appear for several reasons even though no real issue exists, so
sometimes a simple refresh will often load the page you were looking for.
Check for errors in the URL. Often times this error appears because the URL was typed wrong or
the link that was selected points to the wrong URL.
Move up one directory level at a time in the URL until you find something.
- Retry the web page by pressing F5, clicking/tapping the refresh/reload button, or trying the URL from the address bar again.
- The 404 Not Found error might appear for several reasons even though no real issue exists, so sometimes a simple refresh will often load the page you were looking for.
- Check for errors in the URL. Often times this error appears because the URL was typed wrong or the link that was selected points to the wrong URL.
- Move up one directory level at a time in the URL until you find something.
- For example, if www.web.com/a/b/c.htm gave you the 404 Not Found error, move up to www.web.com/a/b/. If you get nothing here (or an error), move up to www.web.com/a/. This should lead you toward what you’re looking for or at least confirm that it’s no longer available.
- Search for the page from a popular search engine. It’s possible that you simply have the entirely wrong URL in which case a quick Google or Bing search should get you where you want to go.
- If you do find the page you were after, update your bookmark or favorite to avoid the HTTP 404 error in the future.
- Clear your browser’s cache if you have any indication that the 404 message might just be yours. For example, if you can reach the URL from your phone but not from your tablet, clearing the cache on your tablet’s browser might help.
- You might also consider clearing your browser’s cookies or at least the one(s) involved with the website in question if clearing the cache didn’t work.
- Change the DNS servers used by your computer, but usually only if an entire website is giving you a 404 error, especially if the website is available to those on other networks (e.g., your mobile phone network or a friend in another city).
- 404s on an entire website isn’t particularly common unless your ISP or government filters/censors websites. No matter the reason, if it does happen, giving another set of DNS servers a try is a good step to take. See our Free and Public DNS Servers List for some alternatives and instructions on doing this.
- Contact the website directly. If they’ve removed the page you’re after then the 404 error is completely legitimate and they should be able to tell you that. If they’ve moved the page and are generating errors instead of redirecting visitors to the new page, they’ll be happy to hear from you so they can go fix it.
- Finally, if all else fails, wait. No, it’s not fun, but it might be your only course of action, especially if you’re confident the 404 error shouldn’t be happening (i.e., the page really should be at the URL you have and others are having the same problem and find it equally strange).
Errors Similar to Error 404
Some other client-side error messages related to the 404 Not Found error include 400 Bad
Request, 401 Unauthorized, 403 Forbidden, and 408 Request Timeout.
Several server-side HTTP status codes also exist, like the popular 500 Internal Server Error.