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    When visiting websites, we may encounter messages that read ‘404 – page not found’ or ‘502 – bad gateway’. These are HTTP responses that the server sends to users to tell them how a particular request was handled. This is the information by which we can find out whether the sent request was successful or not.

    What server responses we may encounter most often and what they mean in practice?

    http responses

    Server HTTP responses

    Server messages are important information for both users and professionals working on a site. Response codes do not always mean errors so it is worth knowing what information they give us.

    When a given message is an error message, the owner of a given site is able to quickly respond, diagnose and fix the problem so that users can use the site without interruption.

    Server response type 500

    These are errors that signal problems within the server. Each of the errors starting with the number 5 has a specific meaning. 

    • 500 – Internal Server Error. This is a message that displays when the server cannot match more precise code to the current problem. It can be caused by malfunctioning software or disk failure. 
    • 502 – bad gateway. Occurs when the firewall is incorrectly configured or the proxy server has been blocked in some way. It means that the proxy server cannot get a valid response from the master server. 
    • 504 – gateway timeout, which means that the server’s response timeout has been exceeded. Appears when there is an error in communication between the servers associated with the page. 

    Server response type 400

    These are errors that occur when there is difficulty in processing and executing a sent request. Usually the problem occurs on the application side. The most common errors include:

    • 400 – bad request. This message appears when the browser connects to the server, but cannot process the request. Often this is caused by incorrect syntax of the request.
    • 403 – forbidden. Access to the page has been blocked. This happens when the site requires login or authorization. It’s also worth checking access permissions and clearing cookies that may be blocking the site.
    • 404 – not found. This is the most common error that occurs when the server cannot find the location or file you want to access. This often happens when the site you are trying to access has been moved or removed, or when there is administrative work going on. 

    Server response type 300

    Redirect codes 300 contain information about the redirects of a given page.

    • 301 – moved permanently. This is the information that says that the page has been permanently moved to a new location. The task of the server is to update the link and move the user to a subpage at a different address. 
    • 302 This is a temporary redirect, used when the page the user is redirected to is not final or if the redirect is temporary. It is less cost-effective from an SEO point of view, as it does not pass on the “link juice” from the previous address. 

    Server response type 200

    These are responses indicating that the site and server are working properly. However, they also get small errors. A message that reads “Error http 200” or “OK” contains information about extended response time to user interaction or slow system performance. 

    This can be caused by viruses, malware or damage to the operating system.

    Server response type 100

    Response codes with starting with the digit 1 are informational codes. These include information about a protocol change (101), about a connection timeout (110), and about a connection being rejected by the server (111). 

    Ways to eliminate errors

    There is no universal way to deal with errors. However, there are a few basic factors that can affect your site’s performance, and it’s worth reviewing them before looking for more advanced solutions.

    • Check the URL – when typing a URL into the browser bar, we often make mistakes. It is important to check that the address is typed correctly and that there are no typos in it.
    • refresh the page – some errors occurring on the page are temporary, so reloading the page may solve the problem
    • using another browser – if the error occurs due to a server connection error with your browser, it is worth trying to open the page in another browser if you have access to it
    • cleaning memory and cookies – it happens that the problem is caused by cookies and temporary memory files stored on your device. Removing them may solve the problem
    • redirecting the site – if the domain is ours and we have noticed errors occurring, a good solution would be to create a redirect to another related subpage or the main page of the site. It is worth using this procedure especially in case of occurrence of 404 error.
    • check the connection to the server – websites often work with multiple servers. It is worth verifying that the connection has not failed or is undergoing administrative work

    How to control errors?

    If you are a website owner you surely realize the importance of constantly monitoring your website and its proper functioning. Any error that appears unexpectedly can result in a loss of traffic and a decrease in user interest. Web site positioning Therefore, it is worth monitoring the situation and reacting to problems that occur.

    If you don’t have access to specialized tools (such as ScreamingFrog), you can use the tool offered by Google Google Search Console Setting up an account for your domain is free and allows you to constantly monitor it. 

    When checking for errors, the most helpful feature will be the Status tab, where you can find out what problems are occurring on your site and on which pages. Using this tool allows you to continuously solve the errors that arise and analyze the remaining server responses.

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    Karolina Jastrzebska
    Karolina Jastrzebska

    The author of the post is Karolina Jastrzebska. She started her adventure with SEO in 2021. She currently works as an SEO Specialist at Up More.