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We’ve all been there. You’re in the zone, creating amazing content, coding like a pro, or crafting a compelling blog post, when suddenly you’re met with the dreaded error page. Website errors can be frustrating, but don’t let them get you down. In fact, error pages can be your friends if you know how to interpret them.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common website error codes, and shed some light on what they really mean. Understanding these error pages can empower you to diagnose and troubleshoot the issue with confidence.

401: Unauthorized access

Uh-oh! We’ve encountered a hiccup. The mysterious 401 error, commonly termed as “Unauthorized Access”, means that you don’t have the required permissions to view the resource you’re after. The server’s given the ol’ “no-entry sign”.

Feeling lost? Don’t fret! Here are some pointers to find your way:

  1. Log in and Out: Sometimes, the issue is as simple as needing to re-login. Ensure you’re using the right credentials, and give it another go.
  2. Check User Permissions: If you manage the site, ensure the user roles and permissions are set correctly. You might be trying to access an area that’s off-limits to your user level.
  3. Inspect HTTP Headers: A wrong configuration in your HTTP headers can lead to this error. Dive into your website settings or get your developer to do a once-over.

404: Page Not Found

Oops! It looks like we’ve hit a bump on the road. The elusive 404 error, also known as “Page Not Found”, indicates that the resource you’re trying to access, be it a link, picture, post, or file, is currently unavailable. The server’s search for the specified file has come up empty-handed.

So, what can you do to troubleshoot this hiccup? Here are a few tips to get you back on track:

  1. Mind your URL’s casing: URL’s are case-sensitive, so double-check that you’ve entered the correct casing for your URL. Small differences can make a big impact.
  2. Double-check your domain: Make sure you’ve entered the domain name correctly, including any subdomains or subfolders that may be necessary. Common mistakes include adding unnecessary elements to the URL or omitting the correct subdomain.
  3. Verify file locations: Check that your files are uploaded to the correct directories. Sometimes files end up in the home directory instead of the public_html directory, rendering them inaccessible on the web. You can easily check this using your cPanel’s File Manager or your preferred FTP program.

500: Internal Server Error

Uh-oh! It seems like we’ve encountered a glitch in the matrix. The dreaded 500 Internal Server Error is the server’s way of saying that something went awry while processing your request. But fear not, as a seasoned web developer, I’ve got some tips to help you troubleshoot this hiccup:

  1. Check your .htaccess files: The .htaccess file is a powerful tool that allows you to control various aspects of your Apache web server. However, even a tiny error in this file can cause a 500 error. Your Error Log is your best friend here, as it will point out any issues and the corresponding line number.
  2. Validate file permissions: Security is our top priority, which means that sometimes certain files may have permissions that restrict their access. Files or folders with permissions set to “777”, “666”, or any combination where “write” permissions are granted to “group” or “world” can trigger a 500 error as a security measure. Double-check your file permissions to ensure they are set correctly.
  3. Review your scripts: Invalid characters or erroneous code in your index.html, index.php, or dependent scripts can also cause 500 errors. Carefully review these files and refer to your error logs to pinpoint the exact location of any issues. If in doubt, you can replace a suspect file with a known working version to see if it resolves the problem.

502: Service temporarily overloaded

Yikes! We’ve found ourselves in a jam. The 502 error, coined as “Service Temporarily Overloaded”, pops up when one server gets an invalid response from another.

Lost at what your next move should be? Here’s a lifeline:

  1. Reload the Webpage: It might be a temporary glitch. A quick refresh can do the trick.
  2. Clear Browser Cache: Outdated or corrupt cache might be misleading your browser. Clear it out and try again.
  3. Investigate DNS Issues: Ensure your domain’s DNS settings are on point. A misconfigured DNS can lead to this error.

504: Gateway timeout

Whoa there! We’ve met a small snag. This tricky 504 error, labeled as “Gateway Timeout”, signifies that one server did not receive a timely response from another, preventing it from fulfilling your request.

Stumped on what to do next? Here’s a couple of suggestions:

  1. Refresh the Page: Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. Give the page a moment and then try refreshing.
  2. Inspect your Internet Connection: Slow or unstable internet can be the culprit. Double-check your connection, perhaps run a speed test.
  3. Reach out to Hosting Provider: If you’re the website owner, your hosting provider may have insights into server-side issues causing the timeout.

WordPress White Screen of Death

Oh dear! Looks like we’re in a bit of a pickle. This ghostly phenomenon known as the “WordPress White Screen of Death” is when your WordPress site loads a blank white screen, giving away no clues.

Feeling a tad overwhelmed? Here’s how to combat this phantom:

  1. Deactivate Plugins: Sometimes, plugins can clash. Try deactivating them one by one to identify the rogue element.
  2. Switch to Default Theme: Themes can be the villain too. Reverting to a default theme can help pinpoint the issue.
  3. Increase Memory Limit: Memory exhaustion can be the root. Try increasing the PHP memory limit for your site.

How to Manually Troubleshoot Errors

Unlock the power of extensive logs to effortlessly diagnose and resolve Internal Server Errors. Accessing them is a breeze through your cPanel’s Error Logs section or by using the “CTRL” + “F” keyboard shortcut to search for specific information using the IP address listed. Stay calm, stay focused, and let’s dive deep into the issue!

With just a few minutes of your time, you can now troubleshoot your site errors like a pro. But rest assured, our world-class support department is always here for you, 24/7, to assist with any questions you may have. We take pride in providing top-notch assistance to ensure your website runs smoothly and flawlessly.

Don’t let pesky Internal Server Errors hold you back. Empower yourself with the right tools and support to overcome any challenges that come your way. Together, we’ll conquer the web development realm and keep your online presence shining bright.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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