HomeBlogBlogTop Website Errors That Are Killing Your Online Success (And How to Fix Them!)

Top Website Errors That Are Killing Your Online Success (And How to Fix Them!)

Having website errors can seriously harm your business’s online success. These errors prevent search engines from properly crawling and indexing your site, provide a poor user experience that increases bounce rate, and even completely shut out customers from accessing your site.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the top website errors you need to know about and how to fix them. Avoiding and resolving these common errors is crucial for ensuring maximum online visibility and access for your business.

Introduction to Website Errors

Website errors, also known as HTTP errors, occur when there is a problem loading web pages on your site. When a user clicks on a link to your site, their browser sends a request to your web server which then sends back a response code to either successfully display the page content or show an error with a specific error message.

Some of the most common types of website errors include:

  • 400 Bad Request
  • 401 Unauthorized
  • 403 Forbidden
  • 404 Page Not Found
  • 500 Internal Server Error
  • 503 Service Unavailable

You may encounter website errors like these either intermittently or consistently, depending on the cause. Identifying and troubleshooting errors swiftly is important because website errors negatively impact both customer experience as well as your organic search engine visibility.

Specifically, website errors can:

  • Prevent search engine crawlers from properly indexing the affected pages, leading to drops in organic traffic
  • Increase bounce rate as customers immediately leave your site due to frustration over errors
  • Show customers errors instead of your products/services, costing you leads and sales
  • Cause security issues and site crashes depending on the error

In even a single error can indicate serious technical problems that are barriers to visitors accessing and enjoying your website. Much less hundreds of recurring errors across multiple site pages over time.

By learning the most common website errors, their causes, and solutions you can act fast to provide the seamless experience customers expect in order to convert and support your overall SEO strategy. The next sections will cover specific details on major errors you want to address right away.

401 Unauthorized

401 Unauthorized

The 401 Unauthorized client error is one of the most common errors you may encounter. This error occurs when a user tries to access a page or resource on your site that requires authentication, but the login credentials supplied are incorrect or do not grant access.

For example, if you have a login-protected members area, an admin dashboard, or other private content, visitors not logged in or who supply incorrect login details would get a 401 error message instead of the content.

Some common causes of the 401 error include:

  • Typing in the wrong URL for a protected page
  • Using an incorrect password when trying to log in
  • Having an expired session that requires reauthentication
  • Issues with user permissions and roles preventing content access even when logged in
  • Browser cache or DNS issues blocking successful login

Visitors will get a short message like “401 Unauthorized” or “401 Authentication Failed” depending on the server configuration when this occurs.

While some level of login errors from users mistyping details is normal, a high volume of 401 errors or issues successfully logging in generally points to a technical configuration issue or problem with user accounts.

To troubleshoot 401 errors, steps you can take include:

  • Check spelling on any private page URLs being accessed
  • Try supplying login credentials again correctly
  • Clear browser cache and DNS flush to resolve potential interference issues
  • Test user roles and permissions settings in your CMS or membership plugin
  • Contact your web host support if the issue persists for help investigating

Keeping 401 unauthorized errors to a minimum is important both so users can seamlessly access private content but also for SEO, as pages blocked behind a failed authorization will not be indexed by search engines. Resolving any persistent or underlying issues swiftly keeps all vital site content visible to search bots.

Now that you understand the 401 error, its potential causes, and solutions to test, you can get this common yet major error resolved quickly should it arise. Failing to control unauthorized access errors means losing out on leads and customers trying to view premium content.

400 Bad Request

The “400 Bad Request” error is a common HTTP status code that indicates a problem with the request sent by the client to the server. It typically occurs when the server cannot understand or process the request due to apparent client error (e.g., malformed request syntax). 

For instance, if a user attempts to access a website and mistypes a URL, or submits a form with invalid data, the server might respond with a “400 Bad Request” error. This error serves as a general catch-all response for situations where the server cannot or will not process the request due to something that is perceived to be a client error.

Common causes of the “400 Bad Request” error include:

  • Incorrectly Typed URL: Entering a URL with a typo or a format that the server does not recognize can trigger this error.
  • Invalid Input Data: When filling out forms on a website, entering data in an incorrect format can cause a “400” error.
  • Corrupted Browser Cache and Cookies: Stored cache or cookies that have become corrupted might send invalid request data to the server.
  • Oversized or Malformed File Uploads: Trying to upload a file that exceeds the server’s size limits or is in an incompatible format can result in this error.

To troubleshoot “400 Bad Request” errors, the following steps can be taken:

  • Check the URL: Ensure that the URL entered is correct and follows the proper format.
  • Validate Input Data: Double-check any data entered in forms to ensure it adheres to the expected format.
  • Clear Browser Cache and Cookies: Sometimes, clearing the browser’s cache and cookies can resolve issues causing “400” errors.
  • Check File Uploads: If the error occurs during a file upload, verify that the file size and format meet the server’s requirements.

Understanding and resolving “400 Bad Request” errors is important for maintaining a smooth user experience and ensuring that users can interact with your website without unnecessary interruptions. Addressing these errors promptly helps in keeping your website efficient and user-friendly.

404 Page Not Found

404 Page Not Found

The dreaded 404 error is another very common website error that can significantly impact your business. This client error appears when users attempt to access pages or content that no longer exists on your site.

Some common causes of 404 errors include:

  • Broken links from other sites pointing users to deleted content
  • Old bookmarks still leading to removed or relocated pages
  • Typos putting in the wrong URL
  • Attempts to access rich media that has expired

A high volume of 404s is detrimental because each error represents a failed content access that increases bounce rate. Search engines also get 404 pages rather than being able to properly crawl and index the now missing content when following links to your site.

Fixing steps for 404 errors involve:

  • Adding redirects for any major altered content
  • Correcting linking site sources still pointing users awry
  • Notifying users of removed pages or content expiration
  • Using custom 404 error pages with menus/search etc

While some 404s from typos will happen despite best efforts, technical checks like redirect implementation, removing outdated backlinks, and monitoring site analytics can lessen both their quantity and impact.

For content you have intentionally removed or altered, replacing it with custom 404 pages providing visitors site orientation and navigation assistance turns user experience into a positive. Configure your backend CMS or server rules to display these supporter 404 pages complete with menus and site search etc whenever invalid page requests occur.

Prevent dead links from draining away business. Stay on top of 404 errors and site changes so customers always have access and search engines index to your live pages.

500 Internal Server Error

Seeing the 500 Internal Server Error can be worrying, but this common error simply indicates a general technical problem that has prevented the server from fulfilling a request.

Some potential causes include:

  • Excessive load causing server overload
  • Software bugs or flaws in code execution
  • Server configuration issues
  • Conflicts with hosting environment

The wide range of contributing factors makes quickly resolving 500 errors difficult in some cases. However, actions to try when facing this error include:

  • Checking site traffic levels before/during errors
  • Testing site performance using tools like Pingdom
  • Inspecting access and error logs closer
  • Reaching out to your hosting provider

Troubleshooting will likely require IT skills to review logs and server settings. Consider support, updates, or migration if the site infrastructure struggles with traffic.

For sites built on platforms like WordPress, also:

  • Check file/folder permissions
  • Test disabling plugins one-by-one
  • Switch themes to see if that impacts errors

Removing site elements and testing their effect helps isolate potential conflicts.

Allowing 500 errors to remain create barriers between your business and prospective customers. Frustrated site visitors bounce away while search engine crawlers fetch error notifications rather than new pages to index, slowly eroding online visibility further.

Be proactive about enhancing site architecture to prevent downtime and errors from sudden surges in traffic as your company grows. Invest in robust hosting that can scale, introduce optimizations like caching, keep software updated, and leverage performance monitoring.

503 Service Unavailable

Another common error is the 503 Service Unavailable server error. This means the server is currently unable to handle requests due to overloading or maintenance downtime.

Causes behind 503 errors include:

  • Hardware or software failures
  • Resource exhaustion from high traffic
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates
  • Hosting infrastructure issues
  • Domain registrar problems

Visitors trying to access pages on a site displaying 503 errors will simply get a message that the site is temporarily unavailable or busy. Search engines likewise have trouble crawling and indexing during extended 503 errors.

Troubleshooting steps involve:

  • Checking site uptime status for notifications
  • Contacting hosting provider support
  • Monitoring site analytics for traffic spikes
  • Testing site responsiveness using uptime tools
  • Retry request after specified time in Retry-After header

For sites running on managed hosting plans and without IT expertise, you will need to open tickets for technical teams to investigate and resolve the underlying server problems or restrictions.

Be wary of hosts with recurrent infrastructure failures leading to frequent downtime and service unavailable errors. Switch providers taking reliability and customer guarantees over only low pricing in account offerings.

Stay on top of traffic as well to predict load, and introduce optimizations like caching, CDNs, and upgraded hosting plans or hardware to support past a point.

Losing even 1% of site visitors due to errors risks substantial revenue. Compound that by repeat issues hampering SEO visibility sinking you further behind competitors vying for the same audience. Prioritize stable hosting and internal capacity to prevent errors from cutting into your potential.

Other Common Errors

Other Common Errors

While the above errors make up a majority of the issues you may face, there are a few other common website errors to be aware of. Monitoring and quickly resolving these can further optimize site stability.

403 Forbidden

The 403 Forbidden client error appears when you don’t have permission to access the requested page or resource. This can occur trying to view:

  • Protected admin logins and dashboards
  • Restricted file directories
  • Password protected pages
  • Blocked IP addresses

Check login credentials, contact the host about access restrictions, or tweak file permissions to resolve.

408 Request Timeout

This error is shown when the server ends requests taking too long to complete, either from a slow connection or overloaded resources.

Speed up response times by enhancing site performance or upgrading hosting capabilities to support more simultaneous visitors.

502 Bad Gateway

A 502 error indicates a networking issue where the server got an invalid response trying to connect to internal or external services needed to fulfill requests.

Work with your hosting provider to trace and resolve gateway failures so requests can correctly proxy.

Staying on top of other common errors before they swell into larger issues further ensures your site remains stable and high-performing. Catching errors early and having a process to address them helps meet site visitor expectations.

Now that you know the most widespread website errors impacting success and visibility, you can quickly identify issues and take appropriate fixing steps when they occur. But even better is putting preventative measures in place!

Next, we will cover proactive ways to avoid having endless errors undermine your operations…

Prevent Website Errors Proactively

Prevent Website Errors Proactively

While being able to swiftly address website errors is crucial, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure when it comes to site stability.

Implementing the following proactive measures greatly reduces the chances of running into recurring issues down the road:

Optimize Site Speed

Faster site speed means faster load times and less strain on hosting infrastructure. Optimizing images, minimizing HTTP requests, leveraging browser caching, and implementing other website performance best practices enhances resilience.

Plugins like W3 Total Cache or SG Optimizer for WordPress sites also introduce caching and minification to boost speed. Upgrading hosting plans is another option for increasing site performance margins.

Use Proactive Monitoring

Rather than waiting for users or clients to report errors, automated uptime monitoring tools continually test response times and error status from multiple global locations.

Notifications alert you at the first sign of trouble so that issues can be addressed before significantly impacting visitors.

Implement a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudflare serves site content globally from edge servers nearest end visitors. This greatly reduces server strain, speeds up performance, and improves reliability.

CDNs easily scale to absorb traffic spikes and prevent overloading origin infrastructure. Enable on by default with hosting plans or third parties.

Set Up Redirects

Website changes often necessitate moving content to new URLs over time. Rather than just deleting pages and leaving broken links directing users to 404 errors, set up 301 permanent redirects to route requests to the appropriate updated locations.

This preserves SEO equity while supporting an uninterrupted visitor experience.

Review Server Configurations

Optimizing the configurations of hosting web servers and stacks to support expected traffic loads and patterns is crucial. Tweaking settings for maximum connection handling, processes, file requests and more helps minimize strain.

Consult with your managed IT team or host about ideal configurations. Monitor site analytics to predict future growth.

Building a foundation of performance best practices and preventative systems enables your website to mostly avoid common errors site visitors and search engines would otherwise encounter.

Stay vigilant about introducing optimizations to keep pace with company growth rather than waiting for decisions to be forced by frequent stability issues.

Conclusion & Next Steps

As we have covered, website errors like 500 internal server errors, 404 missing pages, and 403 forbidden access can have devastating consequences for your online business success.

Each instance represents a failed content delivery preventing user engagement or page indexing. Accumulating issues frustrate customers, increase bounce rates, undermine SEO efforts, and directly cut into revenue.

However, armed with knowledge of the most common website errors, their causes, and both troubleshooting and prevention best practices, you can avoid losing traffic and money unnecessarily.

Visitors expect a seamless, problem-free experience accessing your brand across channels and devices. Maintaining the highest standards of website performance, reliability, security and universal access should remain top priorities for your digital strategy.

  • Audit your site logs and analytics to uncover current error rates and impacted pages. Quantify areas needing the most urgent fixes.
  • Implement redirects, customize error pages, and launch other tactical improvements covered to start optimizing the visitor experience.
  • Research preventative solutions like performance optimizations, CDNs, and improved infrastructure to address root causes rather than symptoms.
  • Continue monitoring site analytics and uptime going forward to catch future errors emerging early before customers notice.

No online business is immune to the occasional hiccup. But following website error best practices separates those providing professional grade solutions from the rest. Prioritize seamless site stability and prevent errors from interfering with your success.

The ultimate downfall of once major brands often stems from failing the customer experience. Don’t join their ranks! Commit now to valuating and enhancing your website reliability.

FAQ Website Errors

What are some of the most common website errors?

Some of the most common website errors covered in the blog post include 401 Unauthorized, 400 Bad Request, 404 Page Not Found, 500 Internal Server Error, and 503 Service Unavailable. Other common errors are 403 Forbidden, 408 Request Timeout, and 502 Bad Gateway.

Why are website errors detrimental for my business?

Website errors negatively impact customer experience leading to higher bounce rates. They also prevent proper crawling and indexing by search engines, causing drops in organic traffic and visibility. Errors essentially create barriers to visitors accessing your products, services and content.

What causes 404 Page Not Found errors?

Some common causes of 404 errors are broken links from other sites pointing users to deleted content, old bookmarks leading to removed pages, typos in URLs, and attempts to access expired media files.

How can I customize error pages to improve user experience?

You can set up custom 404 error pages that include site menus, search bars, and suggestions for related content. This helps orient visitors and provides navigation options rather than showing them unhelpful technical messages when pages cannot be accessed.

What proactive measures can I take to prevent website errors?

Proactive measures covered include optimizing site speed through performance best practices, implementing monitoring systems to catch issues early, adding a CDN to boost resilience and reduce strain, setting up redirects when moving content, and reviewing server configuration settings regularly.

How often should error logs and site analytics be audited?

It’s recommended to audit site error logs and performance analytics on at least a monthly basis. More frequent checks such as weekly or even daily are ideal to catch rising error rates quickly before customers are lost.

What might cause a 500 Internal Server Error on WordPress sites?

Potential causes for 500 errors on WordPress include file permission issues, conflicting plugins, changing to an incompatible theme, exceeding server resource limits, and various software bugs and PHP code execution failures.

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