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The Ultimate Guide to Understanding HTTP Status Codes

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Having a functional and appealing website is something every business owner should view as a priority. There are a variety of factors that go into keeping a website in good shape. Failing to provide a website with the care it needs can lead to it getting slow and unresponsive.

A recent study found that nearly 73 percent of online consumers have encountered a website that was too slow to load. Often times, this problem will lead to a website visitor leaving before you are able to provide them with information about your products or services.

One of the best tools you have when trying to diagnose underlying issues with your website is HTTP status codes. Generally, these codes pop up when there are website configuration errors present. Read below for more information about HTTP status codes.

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Some Background Information on HTTP Status Codes

Each time a person types in a URL address online, their browser sends a request to the corresponding web server. Once the server has received and processed this request, it will send back the HTTP header for the website in question.

For the most part, HTTP status codes will be found in the header section. Each time a server returns a request from a URL, HTTP status codes are generated. Most people don’t realize this because they don’t see these codes unless something has gone wrong. If you do see these codes displayed in your browser, there is a definite issue with the site.

Usually, there will be a brief explanation of the code in question. Some website developers retool their browsers to show the HTTP codes their computer normally hides. This allows them to get a better understanding of how a website works and what can be done to make it more reliable.

 

The 200 and 300 HTTP Status Codes

Now that you have an idea of what an HTTP code is, we can dive into more specific information about the codes you may see. The 200 series of HTTP codes are really nothing to worry about. These codes are generated just to show a user that they have been delivered to the website they requested successfully.

The 300 series of HTTP codes usually can alert a user to problems with a website. Developers will use the 301 as a way to permanently redirect traffic from an old URL to a new one they have set up.

The 302 code is typically used to temporarily redirect traffic from a particular URL. The 304 code is one that you probably won’t see displayed on your browser. In essence, this code is generated when previously downloaded resources are used to make the loading of a particular website faster.

Troubleshooting these codes will be easy if you learn all about log4net logging. This software creates an aggregate list of error logs so you can find and fix them with ease.

 

Understanding the 400 and 500 HTTP Status Codes

If you have ever entered in an incorrect URL, you have probably seen the 401 HTTP status code. This code will also be generated if the website in question is no longer functional. The 403 code is generated when a user is attempting to access a site they are not authorized for. Some businesses have password protected sites, which will generate this code if an unknown user tries to gain access.

A 500 HTTP status code will be seen when the server that hosts a website is unable to find and deliver it. Often times, this error code will be caused by conflicting third-party plugins. The 502 code signifies that a server has received an invalid response from the user. If a particular website is slow to load, the server may also produce this code.

 

How to Keep Your Website Error-Free

Now that you know more about HTTP codes and what they mean, we can move onto how to avoid these errors and keep your website running like a well-oiled machine. Often times, business owners and tech entrepreneurs abide by the “set it and forget it” philosophy when it comes to their website. In most cases, this will lead to a number of dire consequences as time goes by. Taking the time to correctly build and maintain your website can serve you well in the future. The following are some of the things you can do to keep your website running error-free.

 

Depending Solely on Website Builder Tools is a Recipe For Disaster

Most business owners see the convenience of drag and drop website builders and think they have found the answers to all of their web design problems. While these tools make website building a breeze they can also present a lot of problems. The biggest problem you will experience with these drag and drop website builders is the backend construction.

Each time you add new design elements with these website builder tools, it creates adds multiple lines of code. Over time, this increased amount of code will slow down the website and may lead to error messages and HTTP codes popping up. Avoiding this issue is easy when allowing an actual programmer and web designer to construct your site from scratch.

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The Use of Outdated HTML Can Be Problematic

Hiring an experienced developer to build a website is something most business owners view as a priority. When choosing a developer, you need to get a feel for whether or not they are too “old school” for their own good. If a developer insists on using outdated HTML to develop your website, it may lead to it crashing in the future.

Developers who use outdated HTML often fill their code with too many spans. Not only does this practice make the line of code longer; it can also cause layout issues. When websites with outdated HTML are pulled up on updated browsers like Microsoft Edge, they may look distorted.

Choosing a developer that is using the latest HTML techniques and markup elements is vital. You will also need to make sure they use CSS3 to properly layout the content on your new site.

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Dealing With Cross-Browser Compatibility Issues

Long gone are the days when Internet Explorer reigned as the supreme browser on the market. These days, consumers use Google Chrome, Firefox and even Safari to access websites online. If your website was constructed years ago, updating it is important when attempting to avoid cross-browser compatibility issues.

The best way to find and solve these issues before they lead to errors or HTTP warnings is by using analytic tools. Testing your website on a variety of different browsers can help you figure out what issues need to be addressed immediately.

If your website is generating a number of problematic HTTP status codes, then you will need to work on getting it fixed. The longer these issues persist, the harder it will be to avoid losing potential sales leads.

 

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