These days, surfing the internet is part of our daily schedule, much like eating is, and we like things to go smoothly while we’re at it. However, certain errors, such as 404 and 400, among others, do occur. While this is a fact, their occurrence can be really annoying, especially when you need to retrieve time-sensitive information from the problematic website.
A number of things cause these errors to occur, most of which happen on the end of the web server. However, some of the causes can be traced back to you or your computer, which is why we have put together this guide. We’re going to show you how to fix common URL problems so that you can go back to browsing anytime you encounter an error.
How to troubleshoot an error in a URL
The following tips and guides will show you how to fix a problem with a URL if the web page is available.
Refresh the page
While it rarely happens, web servers do suffer certain glitches that make some pages unavailable even when they’re actually online. Sites can suffer temporary downtimes that last for a couple of seconds to minutes, which could be an error on the path of their web hosts or configuration mishaps. Try to reload the page after a few seconds or minutes. Some browsers allow you to refresh a page by clicking F5. You can also find a refresh button somewhere close to the address bar.
Cross-check the URL
While this may seem like an obvious suggestion, there are things you might miss that could be causing the error, especially when you’re typing the URL into the address bar manually. A typical URL is made up of different components, so make sure every section is typed correctly:
- Check the protocol: Make sure the http segment is complete if that’s what you’re using. Include the colon and both forward slashes (not backward slashes) so that it looks like this: http://. Also, if the site is using an SSL certificate (which most sites use nowadays), then the protocol should look like this: https://.
- Double-check the domain name: This is the actual name of the website. Make sure every letter is included, especially those that are hyphenated. Note that some sites require the ‘www’ part to load properly and there are some with subdomains, such as the ‘drive’ in ‘drive.google.com’.
- Check the domain extension: This is a common problem as people are still used to the .COM domains despite there being close to 1,200 domain extensions today. Make sure you confirm the correct extension if it’s .COM, .SHOP, or .COOKING.
- Confirm the path: These days, the path portion of the URL is usually the page name and they are simpler than before. They’re now made up of the actual page names, separated by hyphens instead of numbers. The path (page name) follows the extension with a forward slash, and it typically looks like this: /how-to-read.html in https://example.com/how-to-read.html.
Note that certain sites will end with just another forward slash after the page and may not necessary include a file extension (.htm, .html, or .aspx).
If you copied the URL from a different web page or program on your Windows 10 computer, then double-check to confirm that everything has been copied correctly. Sometimes, copied links could be missing the colon before https or the slashes could also be missing. Make sure you add those.
Search for the page
If you can’t remember the exact URL, maybe because it contains parameters that include complex symbols and numbers, and you have an idea of the article’s title or page description, you can carry out a search on the website or via Google. Simply use the website’s search utility, which is normally located at the top.
Alternatively, you can search for the page through Google by typing “site:” (without quotes), followed by the website and your search query.
The web page could also be inaccessible because changes may have been made to the URL, in which case, searching for it will help you get there.
Clear your cache
If the actual URL has been changed by the site’s administrator and your browser cached the page earlier, you could experience issues with loading the web page. To make sure this is not what’s causing the problem, clear your browser cache. This action will not alter your browsing experience, but you may have to wait for some websites to load as re-downloading the cleared cache may take some extra seconds.
To clear your cache in Mozilla Firefox:
- Click the three horizontal lines (Menu) in the top-right corner of the browser and then select Options.
- Click Privacy and Security in the left pane, scroll down to the History section and then click the Clear History button under it.
- In the Clear Recent History window, uncheck every other option except Cache and then click Clear Now.
To clear your cache in Google Chrome:
- Click the three dotted lines in the top-right corner of the browser, hover your mouse over History and click History. You can simply press Ctrl+H to get there.
- Select Clear Browsing Data in the left pane.
- When the Clear Browsing Data window pops up, check only the Cached Images and Files option, and then click Clear Data.
To clear your cache in Microsoft Edge (formerly Internet Explorer):
- Click the three dotted lines in the top-right corner of the browser and then select Settings.
- Locate Choose What to Clear in the settings list and click it.
- Check the Cached Data and Files option and click clear.
Flush and reset your DNS cache
If you’re encountering an error when trying to connect to a website that is accessible on other devices, it’s possible that the website has been blacklisted by your ISP or that your DNS cache has a problem. Change your DNS settings or flush and reset the cache on your computer to fix the problem.
To flush and reset your DNS cache on your Windows 10 computer:
- Press the Win+X shortcut and then click Command Prompt (Admin) in the menu.
- Select Yes in the permission prompt.
- Now, type ipconfig /flushdns in the elevated Command Prompt and then hit the Enter key.
That’s it. You’ve cleared your DNS cache.
Remember that websites can run into issues sometimes, which isn’t your fault or that of your computer or browser. So, try to check if the website can be accessed by other devices (and networks) after you’ve double-checked that the URL is correct. Also, it’ll be wise to keep your system safe from malicious programs that could cause damage to your computer and spoil your browsing experience. A good program that can protect your computer is Auslogics Anti-Malware. The tool is optimized to run on Windows 10 without issues and without interfering with any antivirus.
Share your browsing experiences with us in the comments section below!