Sometimes when you click on a link, you’re not brought to the page you wanted to see.
Instead, you arrive at a page that says 404 Not Found.
When this happens, you’re faced with a 404 error.
On the face of it, an unavailable web page is no big deal. However, if the page contains content that is unavailable elsewhere, you would want to find ways to access the page.
This post provides you with some proven ways that may help you find pages that are seemingly unavailable.
Why Does a 404 Error Happen?
Web Page Moved or Deleted
A 404 error happens when a web page has been deleted or moved to another address (URL).
Moving pages to other locations if done without redirecting them to the new locations results in a 404 error.
Sometimes during the redesigning of a web page or a recreation of it, the page URL is not written correctly.
In other words, it doesn’t match the URL available in the search engines.
From the user’s point of view, the URL is incorrectly typed into the browser.
The server where the website is hosted is not functioning or the connection to it is broken.
This is usually temporary. Once the problem has been rectified by the web hosting company, the web page becomes available again.
Domain Name Issue
A 404 error may also occur when the domain name you’re trying to access can’t be converted to an IP by the Domain Name System (DNS).
Domain Name Not Available
The domain name associated with the web page is no longer available. This could be because the domain name has expired. This usually happens when the owner hasn’t renewed the domain name.
Sometimes the domain is active but doesn’t contain any content. It may be a parked domain.
A 404 Error is a Dead Link
Although sometimes a page with content may appear with a 404 error, it’s essentially considered a dead link.
Dead links in a website aren’t sometimes removed from search engine results.
If you’ve arrived at a third-party website from another blog, the dead link hasn’t been removed from it or updated.
This is not surprising. Most websites or blog don’t check their external links to see f they’re functioning.
How to Fix a 404 Not Found Error
A 404 Error doesn’t mean that a web page is permanently unavailable.
The actual page may be residing somewhere else, moved by the website owner. The thing is, as mentioned earlier, the old link is not redirected to the new one.
That said, here are some ways to fix a 404 Not Found Error.
Try Reloading the Web Page
Sometimes a 404 Not Found error could be a false negative. In other words, the error pops up because the page fails to properly load.
All you have to do is click the refresh icon on your web browser. You may also try hitting the F5 key on your keyboard.
Check the Web Address
Sometimes the page is available, but its URL may be misspelled, especially when entered manually.
This could also be the case of links from third-party websites.
Sometimes it could be a matter of a forward slash or a dash being left out.
Check Directory Levels
Some URLs may comprise different directories. For example abcd.com/technology/computer/security/adware.html
If say this page is unavailable, you may go one level down and try abcd.com/technology/computer to see if the page you’re looking for is listed there.
All you have to do is hit the backspace key to remove a directory level.
If this too doesn’t work, go another level down to abcd.com/technology/.
Search the Site
Enter the page keyword in the website’s search box and see what you get. If the page is still available, it should appear in the results.
Search the Web
Say you can’t find the page you’re looking for through a direct link, try Googling it.
For example, you may want to try abcd.com adware.
If the page link has been changed, you should be able to reach the page’s new link through this method.
Try Using Another Browser
It’s always advisable to have an additional web browser on your computer. In case one acts up, you can always fall back on the other.
For example, if you can’t access the web page with Google Chrome, try it with Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox.
Clear Browser Cache and Cookies
If you can access the web page through another browser, then you should try clearing the cache and cookies of the browser which prevents access.
Usually, this action should allow you to access the page which returns a 404 Not Found error.
Contact Website Owner
If the page you’re trying to access is really important to you, you may try contacting the website owner.
Check the website’s Contact page for details. The website owner may not be aware that the page is unavailable. That’s excusable if the site contains hundreds or thousands of pages.
The website owner may take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. He may provide you with an alternative link or redirect the unavailable page to the new link (if available).