Top 3 HTTP Error Messages Explained

May 19th, 2014
Technology News

One question I’m asked on a near weekly basis in my role as Account Manager, here at Media Street, is:

What does this HTTP Error message mean?

We’ve all seen these HTTP Errors at some time or another browsing the web but have you really thought about what the error message means and what its relating to? Well think no more as here’s my guide to the most common of these errors and exactly what the mean.

1. HTTP Error 404

This classic error is so common that it has even managed to inspire numerous songs (see here for just one example) as people across the globe share in their frustration of the dreaded 404.

HTTP Error 404 simply means that the page can’t be found – this can be for a number of reasons including spelling errors in the URL, a broken link or the page getting deleted. As it’s such a common error, larger companies will often make a dedicated, branded and often amusing 404 page.

Funny 404 Error Page

2. HTTP Error 401

Although much less common than our friend the 404 – an HTTP Error 401 is still often seen, mainly due to logging into restricted sections of a website using the wrong login information – D’OH!

Error 401 just means that the page you’re trying to access is forbidden – either check you’re spelling on your login details, or go away – this page is not for your eyes! Unfortunately, amusing 401 Error pages are hard to come by but if you’re really keen to show your support for the humble 401, Spread Shirt offer this rather fetching hoody!

401 Error Hoody

3. HTTP Error 500

Probably the most common of them all! The 500 Error message is a generic “what the hell?!” message when a more specific message can’t be shown. It refers to problems encountered internally on the server such as a server overload or requestes that can’t be handled correctly.

My favourite response of a 500 Error Message comes courtesy of The IT Crowd:

500 Error Quote

Well there we have it, 3 of the most common HTTP Errors explained and understood. I will be returning to the subject of 404 Error messages in the near future with my Top 10 Funny 404’s – if you have any suggestions, please do let me know. In the meantime, if you’d like to see how Media Street can assist with your Web Design questions/queries, just get in touch to see how we can help.

About the Author

James Thompson

With a passion for forward-thinking and innovative design, James brings creative flair to the Media Street team and an unbeatable "can-do" attitude.

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