404 page not found error: What it is and how to fix it

When you know how to fix a 404 page not found error, you gain peace of mind in case it happens again. This is a common error encountered across different browsers.

Seeing a 404 error can be frustrating, but the good news is that there are various solutions to try.


What Does 404 Mean?

The 404 page not found error is an HTTP response status code indicating that the server did not find the page you requested. This does not mean the server is unavailable; it simply means that the specific page you were trying to access cannot be found.

Does a 404 Error Mean I Was Blocked?

Not necessarily. A 404 error has many potential causes other than being blocked. Here are some steps to determine if you’ve been blocked:

  • Try accessing the page from a different device.
  • Check the site’s terms of service to see if you violated any rules.
  • Contact the site’s support team for clarification.


Variations of the 404 Error

The 404 error can appear in different forms depending on the website and server configuration. Some common variations include:

  • 404 not found
  • 404 error
  • Page not found
  • The requested URL was not found on this server
  • HTTP 404 not found

Websites may also use humorous versions of the error, such as “Oops! You found a black hole in our website,” or Google’s “That’s all we know” with a broken robot graphic.


Common Causes of a 404 Error

Several issues can lead to a 404 error, such as:

  • Mistyped URL: A simple typo can prevent the page from loading.
  • Moved Page: The page has been moved without a proper redirect.
  • Broken Links: Changes in the URL structure that haven’t been updated.
  • WordPress Issues: Redirect problems and permalink issues can cause 404 errors.
  • DNS Issues: Incorrect DNS configuration can lead to 404 errors.
  • File Permissions: Accessing restricted files can result in this error.
  • Caching Issues: An outdated cache may cause you to see the error page instead of the current content.
  • Deleted Page: The page no longer exists on the server.


How to Fix a 404 Page Not Found Error

There are several easy steps to fix a 404 page not found error:

  1. Refresh the Page: Sometimes, simply reloading the page can resolve the issue.
  2. Check the URL: Ensure the URL is typed correctly without any errors.
  3. Clear Browser Cache:
    • In Chrome: Go to Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data > Advanced tab > Choose All time > Clear data.
  4. Use the Site’s Search Tool: Enter keywords related to the page you are looking for.
  5. Try Another Device: See if the page loads on a different device.
  6. Use Incognito Mode: This mode does not save cookies or cache, providing a fresh version of the page.

If these steps do not resolve the issue, contact the website for more assistance. They may be able to provide additional help or fix the problem on their end.