Some HTTP Codes
On occasion, instead of seeing the web page that you are trying to access you will see a cryptic error message instead. Here's some information on what some of these error messages mean. Each HTTP error has a three digit error code associated with it and every time that you ask for a page one of these three digit codes will be returned by the server. Depending on the server, the exact messages associated with each code may differ so it's best to use the error code to work out which of the following errors that you have.
- The one code that you will never see is 200 because that's the code that is returned along with a successful retrieval of the web page.
- 301 indicates that the page has been permanently moved. You're unlikely to see this code as the server should automatically transfer you to the new location of the page and download it from there.
- 400 means that you entered a bad request. The address that you have entered is incorrect in some way or you don't have the necessary access authority. Check that you entered the correct address of the page that you are trying to access.
- 401 means that authorization is required. You are trying to access a restricted site and don't have the necessary authority. Either this is a password protected site and you don't have the right password or your computer doesn't have access to the site (the site may only be accessible via a particular ISP or to particular organizations).
- 402 means that a payment is required in order to be able to access that page.
- 403 means that access to the page is forbidden. You have probably entered a wrong password.
- 404 is the most common error and means that the page you have requested is not found. Either you have entered the page address incorrectly or the site owner has renamed or removed the page. You might try accessing the site's home page and see if you can find the page that you are looking for from there.
- 408 means that your request has timed out. Something has slowed the retrieval of your requested page so that it hasn't been retrieved for you within a reasonable time. You should try to access the page again. If it still times out then you may want to leave further attempts until later when the load on the various servers may be less.
- 500 indicates a generic server error. There is something wrong with the server hosting the web site. Try again later and hopefully the site administrator will have fixed the server error.
- 501 indicates that the web page that you are trying to download is trying to use a server side facility that is not implemented on the web server. The person who created that web page stuffed up big time. You might want to send them an email to let them know. Until they fix it, you'll have to try somewhere else.
- 502 means that the server is temporarily overloaded. Lots of people are trying to access information from the same server as the page you are trying to get to. Try again later.
- 503 indicates that a server side service that the page you are trying to access uses is temporarily unavailable. Try again later and hopefully the site administrator will have the service running again.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.