HTTP Status Codes. Internet users often find that instead of a page they are shown a message such as “404 Not Found”, “500 Internal Server Error”, “502 Bad Gateway” or “504 Gateway Timeout”. Such messages are HTTP status codes, which are part of the first line of the server’s response to requests over the HTTP protocol. What are HTTP status codes and how can they affect the site?
All so-called HTTP status code is divided into five classes. These are information codes, success codes, redirection codes, client error codes, and server error codes. Among these codes, the most interesting for site owners are redirection codes, as well as client and server error codes.
The class of redirection codes is intended to inform the client (user’s browser) that in order to successfully complete the operation, another request must be made, usually at a different URL. Redirection codes are designated 3xx.
When the site is working, redirection to new URLs of pages for both live visitors and search robots may be necessary if there has been a change of domain or change of CMS. For redirection to be successful, you need to specify the new address of the required page in the appropriate manner for each HTTP server.
HTTP status codes are often called HTTP error codes because it is often when there are any errors on the part of the client or server that it becomes necessary to consider certain codes to determine what happened.
To indicate errors on the part of the client, a class of HTTP 4xx status codes is intended. The famous error 404 (“page not found”) just belongs to this class. The HTTP status code for errors on the client-side has values from 400 to 456 and may indicate incorrect requests to the server, unauthorized access, the need to pay for access, denied access, unsupported request method, etc.
Codes 500 to 511 are for reporting server errors. Receiving one of these status codes may mean an internal server error, an erroneous gateway, a lack of a response from the gateway, or service unavailability. Also, HTTP 5xx codes can indicate exhausted bandwidth, data storage overflow, loop detection, and some other errors.
It is important for site owners and administrators to remember that if a regular user or a search robot does not gain access to the site’s pages while using the site, but instead receives one of the errors with the corresponding HTTP status code, this will negatively affect both the site’s reputation and its ranking in search engines. Therefore, you must try to ensure that there are no errors when working with the site.
Technical support and Proper administration.
Competent technical support of the site and proper administration of the site itself will help to cope with this task. In particular, to prevent the appearance of the “404 Not Found” error, you must always carefully monitor the spelling of URLs in the internal links of the site and regularly check the site for “broken” links. And to minimize the risk of errors like “504 Gateway Timeout”, you should choose a reliable hosting with good customer service.