The dreaded 404 message has been around for years. It comes in many flavors and is displayed differently depending on what browser you are using such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc. When you are browsing the Internet you are going to different pages in your browser. Each page you visit, like www.google.com, for example is accessing some big computer called a web server that is in some big data center on this planet. When you attempt to access a web page that does not exist on that server, the server is designed to give a standard response that lets you and your browser know that the page does not exist. That is the 404 error. It does not mean that your computer is broken by any means. It just means that you are trying to get to a page that can not be found on that server. This means carefully look at the address you typed and make sure you did not accidentally mistype something. Or if you are using an old bookmark from a page that you may have liked a long time ago, then its very possible that the owner of the website may have taken that page down because he/she has updated their content.
Nowadays many websites (especially larger websites like amazon.com or google.com) tend to customize their 404 pages by giving you something a bit more descriptive to let you know why are getting the 404 message in the first place. For example at www.boxaid.com if you accidentally go to a page that no longer exists because we have updated our content, you will get a message telling you the page is not there and you will be automatically redirected to the home page in 3 seconds. Go ahead and try it if you like. Here is a page that does not exist on our web server, “www.boxaid.com/idontexist.html”, go ahead and copy and paste it in your browser (without the quotes) to see what happens. Here are some other versions of the 404 error message below:
* “404 Error”
* “Page cannot be displayed”
* “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”
* “404: Not Found”
* “The page cannot be found”
* “Error 404: NOT FOUND”
* “HTTP 404 – File not found”
* “Not Found”
Resolution-Here are some other things to try when you get a 404 error
1. Retry the web page by clicking the refresh/reload button or trying the URL from the address bar again. The 404 Not Found error has been known to appear on occasion even if there is no real issue so a simple refresh will often load the page you were looking for.
2. Check for errors in the URL. Often times the 404 Not Found error appears because the URL was typed wrong or the link that was clicked on points to the wrong URL.
3. Move up one directory level at a time in the URL until you find something. For example, if www.w.com/a/b/c.htm gave you the 404 Not Found error, move up to www.w.com/a/b/. If you get nothing here, move up to www.w.com/a/. This should lead you toward what you’re looking for or at least confirm that it’s no longer available.
4. If you move all the way up to the website’s main page, try to run a search for the information you’re looking for. If a search function isn’t available, try finding your information by using links from this page to dig deeper into the site.
5. Test the page at www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com. Just enter the webpage in this online tool and it will tell you just that – if the site is down for everyone, or if the problem is on your end somewhere. If the page is up for everyone except for you then the problem is at your end. Try rebooting your cable modem or router and see if you can then get to the site. If you are getting a 404 message on every website you try to visit after you have rebooted your router then it’s possible you have a virus or a trojan. Check out our article on how to confirm if have a virus.
6. Finally, if all else fails, you may want to attempt to contact the webmaster for information on where you might locate the page you’re looking for. The webmaster of most Internet sites can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, replacing website.com with the actual website name.