HTTP 404

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What Does HTTP 404 Mean?

HTTP 404 is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) standard error message response code that simply means "not found," indicating that a Web server is unable to locate the resource requested by a client, usually a Web browser. This is often because of a dead or broken link that has not updated removed or transferred contents to point to the new location. The server then generates a 404 Not Found Web page, which is sent as a notification to the client for the user.

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Techopedia Explains HTTP 404

The HTTP standard requires a server response to all requests, like a Web browser’s request for a specific Web page. This response is in the form of a numeric code and a message indicating mandatory, optional or disallowed. The three-digit code that the server returns when it cannot find the requested resource is 404. The first digit indicates that there is a client error, like a mistyped URL, and the last two digits indicate the specific error encountered.

When the error code is sent by the server as a response, it is accompanied by a human readable "reason phrase," indicating the error type, which in this case is "Not Found." Another error is 410, which means "Gone," while 301 means "Moved Permanently." Both require server configuration, so by default, the majority of websites simply use 404 in their place.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.