Top Website Errors and How to Fix Them

Have you ever clicked on a link only to be greeted by a cryptic error message and a dead end? Website errors are the gremlins of the digital world, frustrating users and sabotaging your SEO performance. Identifying and fixing these errors quickly can transform your website from an error-ridden maze to a user-friendly paradise.

Even the slickest websites encounter errors. But fear not! Identifying and fixing them quickly keeps users happy and your SEO humming. Here’s the lowdown on the top website errors and how to fix them:

Slow Load Times

If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, visitors vanish. Several factors can contribute to slow website loading times. Here’s a breakdown of the culprits and solutions:


Large, Unoptimized Images: High-resolution images are beautiful, but they can bloat your website’s file size, making it take longer to load.

Unminified Code: Code can include unnecessary characters, spaces, and comments. This “extra baggage” slows down the website’s interpretation and rendering.

Too Many HTTP Requests: Every element on your website, from images to stylesheets, requires a separate request from the user’s browser. An excessive number of requests can overwhelm the server and slow things down.

Inadequate Server Resources: Your web hosting plan might not have enough processing power or bandwidth to handle your website’s traffic demands.

Plugins and Third-Party Scripts: While plugins add functionality, they can also add extra code and requests that slow down your site.


Optimize Images: Resize images for your website’s layout and use appropriate file formats (like JPEG for photos, PNG for graphics). Utilize image compression tools to further reduce file size without sacrificing quality.

Minify Code: There are tools and techniques to remove unnecessary characters, spaces, and comments from your website’s code (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). This reduces file size and improves loading speed.

Reduce HTTP Requests: Combine multiple CSS and JavaScript files into fewer, larger ones. Consider using techniques like lazy loading for images, which only loads them when they come into view on the screen.

Upgrade Your Hosting Plan: If your website is experiencing high traffic or has complex features, consider upgrading your web hosting plan to one with more resources.

Optimize Plugins and Scripts: Not all plugins are created equal. Choose lightweight plugins and keep them updated. Evaluate third-party scripts to see if they’re essential and if there are more efficient alternatives.

Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN stores copies of your website’s static content (images, scripts) on servers around the world. This allows users to access content from the nearest server, significantly improving loading times.

404 Not Found

The 404 Not Found error will appear if a user attempts to access a non-existent web page. If the user closes the browser, hits the stop button, or clicks on a link too quickly, the message may also appear if the file is too large or if the server is running too slowly. Broken links or restructured sites can also be culprits.

You have probably encountered the 404 error when browsing the web. If the server is unable to find the requested location, you will see the 404 message. Reducing the number of 404s on your website will most certainly improve your bounce rate.

Creating a user-friendly 404 page with site search and consider redirects for old URLs. Tools like Screaming Frog SEO website crawler can help identify old pages that need to be redirected.

500 Internal Server Error

A generic error indicating a server-side issue. Contact your web host for diagnosis.

Without a doubt, the most frequently encountered error message for web users is this general-purpose one that can arise when a web server encounters an internal issue. Typically, this type of error, known as Error 500, arises due to server overload. If you come across this message, attempting to fix it by reloading the page, clearing your browser cache and cookies, and restarting your browser may help. If this problem occurs on your website, reach out to your hosting provider for assistance. For WordPress sites, it’s also worth testing third-party plug-ins individually to identify any potential culprits.

401 Unauthorized

Users lack permission to access a page. Double-check login credentials and user access controls.

This error message usually appears after the user tries to access an unauthorized site or fails to log in. In your cPanel account, you can add password protection to your site. It can be a great additional security layer to restrict access to your admin area, such as the wp-admin folder on your WordPress site.

403 Forbidden

Access denied due to user permissions. Similar to 401, but restricted by server configuration.

When trying to access a restricted directory on a website, an error message will appear. This typically means that the page does not allow users to view the directory’s file structure, or the specific requested file is not allowed. To enhance security on your own site, you can enable 403 protection which hides sensitive information from potential hackers. While many web hosts provide this service automatically, you can add an extra layer of protection by accessing your cPanel account and selecting Index Manager under the Advanced menu box. From there, you can choose to prevent indexing of a particular directory to safeguard its contents from unauthorized access.

400 Bad Request

The user’s request is invalid. This can be caused by typos or malformed URLs.

Upon encountering this error message, it is likely that your request has been corrupted. This indicates that an issue has arisen within your web browser in regard to the request. Typically, this signifies that the data transmitted by the browser does not adhere to the guidelines of the HTTP protocol. As a result, the server is unable to properly handle a request with incorrect syntax. This may suggest instability on the user’s end, such as an unreliable internet connection, a security vulnerability within the operating system, a caching complication, or a malfunctioning browser.

Broken Links

A broken link, also sometimes referred to as a dead link, is a hyperlink that doesn’t lead to the intended webpage or resource. Imagine it like a road leading to a closed bridge – you might see the familiar signs, but you can’t get where you were hoping to go.

There are a few reasons why links become broken:

Deleted or Moved Content: The most common reason is that the webpage the link pointed to has been deleted or moved to a new location without the link itself being updated.

Incorrect URL: A typo or mistake when creating the link in the first place can lead it to be broken from the start.

Website Issues: Sometimes, the website itself might experience technical difficulties or be permanently offline, causing all its links to be broken.

Broken links are frustrating for users and can hurt your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Luckily, there are ways to identify and fix them:

Use Online Tools: There are free and paid online tools that can scan your website for broken links.

Manual Testing: You can also manually test your links by clicking on them and seeing if they lead to the expected webpage.

Check Regularly: Websites change over time, so it’s a good practice to check for broken links regularly.

Mobile Optimization

Website mobile optimization is the process of tailoring your website to deliver a smooth and user-friendly experience for visitors using smartphones and other mobile devices.

Here’s a breakdown of what it involves:

Responsive Design: This ensures your website adjusts its layout and content to fit the screen size of the device, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or laptop.

Prioritizing User Experience (UX) for Mobile: Mobile users typically have different browsing habits than desktop users. An optimized site features clear and easy navigation, larger buttons for easy tapping, and faster loading times to accommodate these behaviors.

Content Optimization: Text, images, and videos are all optimized for mobile viewing. This might involve using larger fonts, compressing images, and ensuring videos play well on different devices.

In short, mobile optimization makes your website accessible and enjoyable for the growing number of people who browse the web primarily on their phones. This can lead to better engagement, higher conversion rates, and a positive impact on your search engine ranking (SEO).

Image Optimization Issues

Website image optimization is about reducing the file size of your images without sacrificing quality. This makes your webpages load faster, improving user experience and potentially boosting SEO. Large, unoptimized images slow download times.

Security Certificate Errors

Unsecure websites can scare visitors away. Ensure you have a valid SSL certificate for a secure connection.

Security certificate errors happen when your web browser can’t verify the legitimacy of a website’s security certificate. This certificate acts like a digital ID, ensuring a secure connection between your browser and the site. These errors are important because they can indicate a website that’s not secure. Insecure connections could put your data at risk, so browsers warn you to be careful. If you see an error and it’s not a trusted site, it’s best to avoid entering any personal information.

By tackling these website errors, you’ll create a frustration-free user experience and boost your website’s ranking in search results. For ongoing website maintenance and to avoid these errors altogether, consider partnering with a qualified web design company. Their expertise can keep your website running smoothly and efficiently.