What Are 404 Error Pages?

by | Mar 7, 2017

We’ve all had it happen.  We click on a link and instead of our desired page, we instead get a webpage that says something like “404 Error – Page Not Found” and might look something like this:


What is a 404 Error page? The internet runs on a set of protocols set forth by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which was created by the U.S. government in the 1980s. Since 1993 the IETF has operated as a membership-based non-profit entity.  One set of their protocol are the “Response Status Codes” which are three digit codes that provide the result of any sort of attempt to understand and satisfy an internet request. Whenever you visit a webpage,  the web server will send your computer a status code – even before the webpage is displayed. The status code provides information about the status of the request.They are broken down as:

  • 1xx (Informational): The request was received, continuing process
  • 2xx (Successful): The request was successfully received, understood, and accepted.  200 is “Okay”
  • 3xx (Redirection): Further action needs to be taken in order to complete the request
  • 4xx (Client Error): The request contains bad syntax or cannot be fulfilled

Within the 400s there are a number of errors, such as 400: Bad Request, 403: Forbidden, 406: Not Acceptable and my favorite, 413: Payload Too Large. 404 is “Page Not Found” which happens when the requested page does not exist. 404 errors usually occur because the URL was mistyped, or the page no longer exists and the link was not updated/removed.

404 error pages can be customized.  Here are some great ones:


A really smart one from the Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/errorpage



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