Browser Error Messages – What do they mean?

We’ve all run into error messages while trying to load a web page. Though the wording of the errors may vary depending on the browser you use, they mean essentially the same thing. This handy guide will take you through what each one means and how you can get around them.

404 Not Found

Perhaps the most popular error message we see is the “404 Not Found” error. The error pops up when you’re trying to access a page that doesn’t exist – this could either be because the page has been removed from the website, or because you mistyped the web address. Check to make sure that you’ve typed the address properly – if you have, then the page has probably been removed and is no longer accessible.

Websites can customise their 404 Not Found pages if they choose, be it to suit their branding or for comedy effect, but they always mean the same thing.


Server Not Found/Could Not Find

This is an example of an error message that varies in wording depending on your browser. Usually the message will say “Server not found” (for Firefox) or “Could not find [website]” (for Chrome). Essentially, it means that your browser could not find the website you’re looking for, indicating that your browser could not find the website you’re trying to access.

Just like with the 404 message, the website may not exist, or you may have mistyped the address. Alternatively, you could have trouble with your firewall or proxy settings, or the DNS server (that tells your browser where the website is located) could be down.


Unable To Connect

Receiving this message means that the browser hasn’t received a response from the website’s server. This could mean that the website is down or that your firewall or proxy settings could be causing issues.


SSL Certificate Error

This error occurs when you’re connecting to a website with ‘https‘ at the beginning. Websites use certificates to prove that they are legitimate, so that they can be verified when you try to access them. This prevents servers from pretending to be legitimate websites.

An SSL Certificate Error indicates that you may not be accessing a legitimate website. It could also mean that the website hasn’t renewed their certificate. Whatever the reason, you should avoid accessing the website if you see this error message.


Now that you understand the most common forms of browser error messages, you should be more in-the-know about why they appear!

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