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What is a 404 Error?

What is a 404 Error?

Have you ever been browsing the web and come across the unhelpful page that says “404 Error: Page not found?” While this page seems unnecessary, it actually has value. When a web page has been moved or deleted, a “404 error” is returned.  The 404 error code tells the user that the server was found but was not able to retrieve the requested page. The most common and likely cause of this error is a mistyped URL.

When you see a 404 error when trying to access a website, first make sure the URL in the address bar was typed correctly.   If the desired web page still cannot be accessed, it has likely been renamed or moved. This can happen while accessing an outdated bookmark.

But what is the significance of the number 404? The last number 4 indicates the specific error in the group of 40x, which also includes 400: Bad Request, 401: Unauthorized, etc. One rumor states that  the error was named after room 404 at CERN, where the World Wide Web was conceived.. Their goal was to create a database infrastructure that allowed access to data albeit it be text, picture or video.  The fourth floor was the “central database” of their project. Any requested file over the network would come from Room 404.

During the testing phases, faulty requests were answered with a standard message:  Room 404: file not found.


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