Cloud Computing, Cyber Security

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Understanding the Language of HTTP Status Codes

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HTTP status codes are three-digit numbers a server generates in response to a browser’s request. These codes, like the commonly seen 404, serve as a communication tool between the server and the browser, indicating the success or failure of the request.


When you open a webpage, your browser engages in a silent conversation with the server, exchanging a series of three-digit codes known as HTTP status codes. These codes, like the familiar 404, are the server’s way of communicating with your browser, indicating whether everything is running smoothly or if there’s a hiccup. In this guide, we will explore these codes, explore their categories, and decipher their meanings.

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How does HTTP Status Codes Work?

Whenever you visit a website, your browser sends a request to the server, which responds with an HTTP status code. This interaction is crucial for understanding whether everything is working correctly or if there’s an issue.

The first digit of each status code categorizes it, ranging from one to five. The subsequent two digits provide specific information within that category. For example, the 404 code falls under the 4xx category, signifying a client error indicating that the server couldn’t find the requested resource.

The List of HTTP Status Codes

1XX — Informational

  • 100 Continue: The server received the initial request, and the client should continue.
  • 101 Switching Protocols: Response to an Upgrade header field request, indicating the protocol the server will switch to.
  • 102 Processing: The server received and is processing the request, but no response is available.
  • 103 Hints: Used with the Link header to preload resources while the server gets ready to respond.


Source – Fig 1

2XX — Success

  • 200 OK: Standard response for successful HTTP requests, with the meaning varying based on the request method.
  • 201 Created: Your request was successful, and a new resource has been created.
  • 202 Accepted: Request accepted but still in progress, often used for batch processing.
  • 203 Non-Authoritative Information: Data returned isn’t from the origin server but a modified version from a third party.
  • 204 No Content: The request was successfully processed, but there is no content.
  • 205 Reset Content: We fulfilled your request but need you to reset the document.
  • 206 Partial Content: You asked for part of the resource, and we’re delivering exactly that! This happens when you use a Range header to request only a portion of a resource.
  • 207 Multi-Status: We’re giving you the statuses of multiple resources based on how many sub-requests you made.
  • 208 Already Reported: We’ve listed the members you’re looking for in a DAV:propstat element. No need to include them again.
  • 226 IM Used: We’ve already listed the members you’re looking for in a DAV:propstat element. No need to include them again.


Source – Fig 2

3XX — Redirection

  • 300 Multiple Choices: We have more than one possible response, and you can choose which one you prefer.
  • 301 Moved Permanently: The requested resource has shifted to a new URL permanently.
  • 302 Found: The requested resource has temporarily shifted to a new URL.
  • 303 See Other: We’re redirecting you to the requested resource with a GET request at a different URL.
  • 304 Not Modified: We’re letting you know that the response hasn’t changed for caching reasons.


Source – Fig 3

4XX — Client Error

  • 400 Bad Request: Due to a client error, the server can’t or won’t process the request.
  • 401 Unauthorized: User lacks valid authentication credentials.
  • 402 Payment Required: digital payment systems are reserved for future use.
  • 403 Forbidden: The client doesn’t have access rights to the content.
  • 404 Not Found: The server cannot locate the requested resource.


Source – Fig 4

5XX — Server Error

  • 500 Internal Server Error: This encounter indicates an unforeseen issue on our server’s side. Regrettably, we are unable to fulfill your request at this moment.
  • 501 Not Implemented: The server can’t fulfill the request or doesn’t recognize the request method.
  • 502 Bad Gateway: Acting as a gateway, we got an invalid response from an inbound host.
  • 503 Service Unavailable: We can’t process your request now because we’re overloaded or undergoing maintenance.
  • 504 Gateway Timeout: Acting as a gateway or proxy, we timed out, awaiting a response.
  • 505 HTTP Version Not Supported: Sorry, but we don’t support the HTTP version in your request.
  • 506 Variant Also Negotiates: We have an internal configuration error. Oops!
  • 507 Insufficient Storage: We don’t have enough space to process your request successfully.
  • 508 Loop Detected: We caught an infinite loop while processing your request.
  • 511 Network Authentication Required: To access the network, you must be authenticated. The error will include a link where you can submit your credentials.


Source – Fig 5

Checking HTTP Status Codes

To check a page’s HTTP status code, use your browser’s developer tools or tools like Google Search Console or SEO tools. Understanding these codes is vital for SEO, as search engines use them to evaluate a site’s health.

Key HTTP Status Codes

  • 200 OK: Indicates the page functions properly for both bots and visitors.
  • 301 Moved Permanently: Used for permanent redirects, passing link equity to the new URL.
  • 404 Page Not Found: This can harm SEO; fix immediately by creating a relevant redirect or a custom 404 page.
  • 5XX Server Errors: Can impact rankings and user experience; address promptly to avoid deindexing.


HTTP status codes play a vital role, narrating the story of every online interaction. Each code carries a unique tale, from the reassuring 200 OK to the cautionary 404 Not Found. Understanding this language empowers website owners and developers to navigate the digital landscape, troubleshoot issues, and contribute to a resilient online experience.

Behind these seemingly mundane numbers lies the dynamic narrative of the ever-evolving World Wide Web.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding HTTP status codes and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. Why do HTTP status codes matter?

ANS: – HTTP status codes are crucial for communication between browsers and servers. They indicate whether a request was successful, encountered an error, or requires further action. For website owners and developers, understanding these codes is vital for diagnosing issues, ensuring a smooth user experience, and maintaining a healthy site for SEO purposes.

2. How can I check the HTTP status code of a page?

ANS: – You can check the HTTP status code of a page using your browser’s developer tools. Right-click anywhere on the page, select “Inspect,” go to the “Network” tab, and look for the “Status” column. Alternatively, tools like Google Search Console or SEO tools can provide detailed information about the status codes of your website pages.

3. What is the significance of the 404 status code?

ANS: – The 404 status code indicates that the server couldn’t find the requested resource. This can negatively impact SEO, as search engines won’t index pages returning a 404 error. It’s crucial to address 404 errors promptly by creating relevant redirects or custom 404 pages to maintain a positive user experience and preserve link value.

WRITTEN BY Navneet Nirmal Toppo

Navneet is a Research Associate at CloudThat. He is a Microsoft Certified Solution Professional and a Certified Network Security Specialist and who has experience in AWS, Azure, GCP & vSphere. He is passionate about cloud computing, cybersecurity, and learning new cloud-native technologies who strives to provide the best cloud experience to clients through transparency.



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