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What is a Status Code?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is the protocol used to transfer data over the web. If a webpage fails to load, it will render an HTTP status code.

When talking about HTTP status codes, we are referring to those responses given by website servers that are considered standard. Their primary purpose is to identify the cause of a problem when a webpage or other resource does not load correctly. They are sometimes called browser error codes or internet error codes.

So, how can we read these status codes?

HTTP response status codes are divided into five categories. The first digit of the code defines the class of response. The last two digits don’t pertain to any type or categorization role. There are five values for the first digit:

  –  1.These are informational and mean that the request was received.

  –  2.These are counted as successful. Here, the request was received, understood, and accepted.

  –  3.These fall into the redirection category. A search engine needs to take further action to complete the request.

  –  4.Also known as client errors, these contain requests that have the wrong syntax and cannot be completed.

  –  5.Lastly, these are known as server errors. As the name suggests, the server has failed to fulfill a (seemingly) valid request.

Although there are five categories of HTTP status code errors; there are two that tend to stand out. These are the most common ones, and they are responsible for most SEO professionals’ headaches. These are client and server errors.

Some standard client-error HTTP status codes include:

  –  404 (Not Found). Here, the browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the latter couldn’t find what was requested.

  –  403 (Forbidden). As the name suggests, this code means that accessing that particular site is completely forbidden. It doesn’t provide a reason for the restriction.

Some universal server-error HTTP status codes include:

  –  The ever-popular500 (Internal Server Error). Here, the server was unable to process the request. You could restart your browser after clearing its cache and deleting cookies to try to fix the problem.

  –  502 (Bad Gateway). It means that the response one server on the web received from another one is invalid.

  –  503 (Service Unavailable). This code tells you that the server couldn’t handle the request due to overloading or maintenance.