Glossary keyword - A 404

A 404

A 404 is an error message displayed anytime a server fails to find the requested resource for your browser. It is a standard response code across all Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) in computer network communication. This message displays when access to information on a server fails, but the server wishes to conceal this fact. Servers hosting a website will usually return a 404 not found page any time your browser tries to access a dead, moved, deleted, or broken link. Consequently, this error message is perhaps the most recognizable on the entire world wide web.

What Generates 404

When a server and a browser attempt to communicate through HTTP, the server has to reply with a numeric response code and disallowed, optional, or mandatory message. The exact response code depends on the status code. In the case of a 404 error code, the first digit shows the client error. For example, a typographical error in the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). The remaining digits show the specific error that ensued on the server. This three-digit codes that HTTP uses are akin to the codes used by its predecessors; examples are NNTP and FTP.

Introduction of Soft 404

In some cases, websites return a ‘not found’ message by a typical web page that has a ‘200 OK” error code. By so doing, providing a false report that the particular page was able to load. This false response code is the soft 404. Ziv Bar-Yossef et al put forward the term Soft 404 in 2004. He introduced the term, and since then, it has been in use. Usually, soft 404s pose a problem when you attempt to discover a broken link using automated methods. Search engines like Google and Bing deploy automated tools for detecting soft 404s.

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