Nothing can cement your business’ online presence better than a user-friendly website. However, website error pages create a mess and a confusing buyer journey that makes your customers abandon your site. A 404 message is one of the most common e-commerce website errors that appear when the website content has been removed or transferred to another URL.
The best way to convert your website to an attractive storefront for your business is to ensure that it provides the information that your clients require. Most online customers expect your website to load within two to five seconds. So, you can imagine what will happen if the website doesn’t load at all.
What Are Website Error Pages?
A website error page is a response that website visitors get when they don’t find the content they require. Sometimes, a new web developer might not know if the linked content has been deleted.
Many web pages appear in the search engine results pages (SERP) even if they aren’t available on the internet anymore. If the webpage is now available in another URL, it’s essential to delete the old page.
Website operators can help you to address the issues that hurt your SEO marketing campaign. All website errors cause immense frustration because the site visitors don’t find the content that they need. One of the easiest ways to fix the webpage errors is to create links that redirect the site visitors to the new webpages.
How Website Errors Impact Your SEO
How well you optimize your website will determine your clients’ ability to find the target keywords. Besides improving your rankings, a user-friendly site can grow your customer base and improve your revenue significantly. Website errors can severely damage your SEO since your customers don’t have the patience to search for unavailable sites.
Even if the site redirects to another webpage, you’re likely to lose a huge number of customers to your competitors.
The most common website errors will contribute to a high bounce rate as the visitors will leave your site if they cannot find the content they require. If the website traffic has begun to dip, your revenue will follow suit.
While every business experiences highs and lows, there is a reason for concern if your customers are jumping ship. Once you pinpoint the website errors that cause the drop, you are a step closer to getting your site back on track.
Most Common Website Errors - What they Mean and How to Fix Them
If you encounter an HTTP error message when visiting a website, you could have made a mistake. However, you might be trying to access a non-existent site. Following are some of the most common website errors that site visitors encounter whenever they surf the web.
1. 500 Internal Server Error
A 500 Internal Server Error is an indication that something went wrong whenever a user tries to access a webpage. It’s difficult to establish where the error lies as this is a collective code for various errors. You will encounter such mishaps if:
- You are trying to access a webpage when the application is shutting down
- The application is restarting
- The server doesn’t recognize the module
- You are using invalid configuration data
- The page exceeds the available PHP memory limit and it cannot load correctly
Website developers should set the permissions on the main folders correctly to enable users to access the authorized files easily. An error in the syntax codes can lead to incorrect scripts and misaligned paths. To prevent a 500 internal server error, website developers should double check every detail while writing the code.
You cannot access a link that begins with (.) such as the .htaccess in your browser since you won’t get a complete web address. However, authorized site visitors can reach out to the admin on social media and request for passwords.
2. 401 Unauthorized
If you’re trying to access unauthorized files, this error message will appear. This error is a security protocol that restricts users from accessing your admin area. The web developer allows you to add password protection so you can access the restricted pages via your cPanel account. If you get this error, it means that:
- The credentials you’ve entered are invalid
- The administrator has changed the user ID and password
- You can only access the self-service portal
- The error comes from the internet information services (IIS)
When you restrict your site visitors from accessing certain websites, you create a frustrating user experience. Most users think that either the signal is poor or their mobile devices aren’t up to the task. The best way to avoid this frustration is to remove the unauthorized files so that only the authorized people can see them.
3. 400 Bad Request
If you send a request with invalid syntax, you get this error since the server cannot process it. The best way to fix such an error is to clear your browser cookies. It can also result from the outdated files stored in your computer, so clearing the cache can fix the problem.
If a 400 bad request is returned, it means that:
- You’ve made an incorrect request that the server cannot understand
- There’s a problem in the server
- Your URLs have errors
- The characters in your link exceed the configuration limit
If you’ve recently made some modifications on your website, you might notice that some features are no longer working as they should. Check whether you’ve deleted something in the syntax code. Most importantly, create several backups so that you can return to the factory settings if something goes wrong. Test all potential fixes and confirm that the website is user-friendly before it’s available to the public.
4. 403 Forbidden
A 403 forbidden error indicates that there’s no logging opportunity on the web page since it occurs when you attempt to access a restricted file or directory. If the admin has not permitted the users to access a specific file, you’ll get this error message if you click on it. Hiding the directory structure of some files can protect your website from being hacked. If you want to get rid of a 403 forbidden error, you need to double-check your address and clear your browser cache.
Also, check if you’re authorized to access the URL and contact the admin. If you’ve modified the .htaccess file, your website will display a 403 forbidden error. You need to resolve the problem or create a new file. If your website has lots of WordPress plugins, one of them could be corrupt.
The ideal way to pinpoint the corrupt plugin is to disable them all and enable them one by one. Since the corrupt plugin that’s causing the error won’t respond, you should uninstall it and install a new one.
5. 404 Not Found
You get 404 errors once you request pages that don’t exist on the server. Some of the applications on your computer can correct the mistakes, especially once you mistype a URL. If the server doesn’t figure out whether the page exists, it displays a 404 (page not found) error.
You can get such an error if the page has been deleted from the website or transferred to another URL but the redirection was done improperly. If you’re authorized to access the page, your antivirus could be blocking the signature and all you need is to click “allow anyway”. You can also check the security plugins that you’ve installed in your computer as they can restrict access to sites that contain malware.
Check whether you’ve mistyped the URL or ask the admin whether the domain name has been changed. Some websites have IP deny rules as the restrict access to some countries. For example, if Netflix is not available in your country, you cannot watch movies from their website.
These errors occur when the broken links have not been addressed after making changes to a website. The best way to fix 404 errors is to perform regular website maintenance and repair the broken links.
6. 501 Not Implemented
This response could mean that your server doesn’t recognize the request methods or support the functionality required to grant access. This error comes from the server side, so you cannot fix it without help from the website management.
The 501 error helps the admin to detect when something is not working on the client’s side and the pages aren’t loading completely. The web developer ought to evaluate the possible causes of failure and rectify the problem so the website can work perfectly again.
Deleting the cache data can troubleshoot the problems, improve your computer’s performance and reduce the loading time of web pages. Cache acts like junk files as it piles up and slows down your computer. Clearing your cache frequently helps to clean things up and make new space.
7. 502 Service Temporarily Overloaded
The 502 (bad gateway) error indicates that the request has been accepted but the server has prevented the fulfillment of that request. It means that while acting as a proxy or gateway, the server has received an invalid response from the inbound server.
Such errors are common in social media sites such as Twitter when billions of users log in at once and cause a temporary overload. In most cases, it displays an error message and notifies you to try again later.
Developers need to find clever ways to handle more traffic without sacrificing the speed. Facebook has a virtual PHP machine that enables it to handle 500 percent more traffic at one time on its servers to allow the pages to load fast and reduce the data fees for their customers.
The PHP machine contains twice the number of servers required to function efficiently. Having five active servers and five idle servers helps to prevent overloads when the network traffic increases. This load-balancing strategy helps to increase server speed and reroute traffic whenever a server fails.
The common website design errors can be a nuisance to your customers as they affect the shopping experience negatively. Even though your site needs some downtime while you update the plugins or fix things, it’s essential to undertake maintenance fast and provide an alternative when the site is down. If you make mistakes during maintenance, you might end up losing the gains you’ve consolidated so far, especially if some web pages fail to load.
The simplest way to troubleshoot the website errors is to analyze and solve the problems that your site visitors encounter. The first step entails identifying the errors and redirecting the inactive pages to the active ones using a 301 redirect. While this strategy will signal that the content has been moved to a different URL, it will still hurt the user experience. Consider the redirect as a temporary solution as you undertake comprehensive maintenance to remove the dead pages.
Your clients don’t need to see your administrator’s pages as they aren’t authorized to access them. Ask your developer to optimize your website to hide the pages that contain confidential information so you don’t antagonize your clients with 403 forbidden errors once they click on them.
As your business grows, so does your traffic. If you don’t improve your server’s capacity to host the increasing traffic, the overloaded website will frustrate your visitors. Invest in another server so your website can function effectively during the peak hours.
Website developers send a 503 Service unavailable message to notify Google that they have embarked on maintenance. By doing so, they help you to maintain your rankings whenever your site is back in operation. Getting rid of all website errors is critical if you want your website to work effectively.
Improve Your Website with an Expert SEO Team
Considering that you’ve spared no effort when promoting your products, you don’t want to respond with a 404 error message once your customers make the decision to buy. At Wave, we provide SEO services that take your business to the top of Google and undertake thorough tests to ensure that your website complies with the industry’s standards. Our capable team understands that even the best website can slow down over time and that’s why we eliminate the common e-commerce website errors for the ultimate user experience.
Are website errors affecting your business’ credibility and driving your customers away? Contact us today, and we’ll fix the problems to improve the user experience.