Understanding HTTP Status Codes

When you navigate the internet, you encounter various HTTP status codes.

These codes are communicated between your web browser and the server to inform you about the status of your request. While some of these codes may seem cryptic, fear not!

In this article, we'll demystify the most common HTTP status codes in plain English.

200 OK

The 200 status code is the internet's way of saying "Everything's fine!" When you see this code, it means that your request has been successful.

Whether you're trying to load a webpage, submit a form, or download a file, receiving a 200 OK status code indicates that the server has successfully processed your request and is providing you with the expected response.

301 Moved Permanently

The 301 status code is like a signpost redirecting you to a new location.

When a web page or resource has permanently moved to a different URL, the server sends a 301 code along with the new address.

Your browser understands this code and automatically redirects you to the new location, so you don't have to manually update your bookmarks or links. Essentially, the server is saying, "Hey, what you're looking for is over there now!"

It’s worth noting that search engines generally regard 301 redirects with the same value as links for SEO purposes.

302 Found (or 302 Temporary Redirect)

Similar to the 301 code, the 302 status code also indicates a redirect.

However, it implies that the redirect is temporary rather than permanent.

When you encounter a 302 status code, the server is telling your browser, "This content has temporarily moved elsewhere, but it might come back to this URL in the future."

So, your browser will follow the redirect and display the content from the new location, but it may continue to use the original URL in the future.

302 redirects are seen as equivalent to 301s by search engines.

304 Not Modified

The 304 status code is a "cache-friendly" response.

When you access a webpage or resource that you've visited before, your browser may have a stored copy of it in its cache.

If the server determines that the cached version is still valid and hasn't changed since your last visit, it sends a 304 code instead of returning the entire content.

This saves bandwidth and speeds up your browsing experience, as your browser can use the cached version without re-downloading the entire resource.

403 Forbidden

The HTTP status code 403 is the internet's way of saying, "Sorry, but you're not allowed here."

It indicates that the server understands your request, but it refuses to fulfill it.

You might encounter this code when you're trying to access a web page, a directory, or any other resource that requires authentication or specific privileges.

If you see this appear in Linkly’s destination window, it might be that the destination is preventing us from looking at the site.

404 Not Found

Ah, the infamous 404 code—the one that frustrates many internet users.

This status code indicates that the server couldn't find the resource you requested. It's like searching for a book in a library and discovering that it's not on the shelves.

The server is saying, "Sorry, but I couldn't locate the content you're looking for."

This can happen if you mistype a URL, follow a broken link, or if the requested resource has been permanently removed from the server.

500 Internal Server Error

The 500 status code is an umbrella term for server-related issues.

When something goes wrong on the server side and it cannot fulfill your request, it responds with a 500 Internal Server Error. It's similar to encountering a "technical difficulties" message.

This code doesn't provide specific details about the exact nature of the problem, but it lets you know that the server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling your request.

By understanding these plain English explanations of common HTTP status codes, you can gain insight into the interactions between your web browser and the servers you access. While encountering certain status codes might be frustrating at times, they are integral to the functioning of the internet and help ensure smooth communication between clients and servers.

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