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How To Troubleshoot an Error in a URL

Getting an Error When Clicking on a Link? Check the URL for Errors


Few things are more frustrating than when you click a link or type in a lengthy web site address and the page doesn't load, sometimes resulting in a 404 error, a 400 error, or another similar error.

While there are a number of reasons this might happen, often times the URL is simply incorrect.

If there's a problem with a URL, these easy-to-follow steps will help you find it:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Closely inspecting the URL you're working with shouldn't take more than a few minutes.

Here's How:

  1. If you're using the http: portion of the URL, did you include the forward slashes after the colon?

  2. Did you remember the www? Some websites require this to load properly.

  3. Did you remember the .com, .net, or other top level domain?

  4. Did you type the actual page name if necessary?

    For example, most web pages have specific names like bakedapplerecipe.html or man-saves-life-on-hwy-10.aspx, etc.

  5. Are you using back slashes \\ instead of the correct forward slashes // after the http: portion of the URL and throughout the rest of the URL as necessary?

  6. Check the www. Did you forget a w or add an extra by mistake - wwww?

  7. Did you type the correct file extension for the page?

    For example, there's a world of difference in .html and .htm.

  8. Are you using the correct capitalization? Everything after the third slash in a URL, including folders and file names, is case sensitive.

    For example, http://pcsupport.about.com/od/termsu/g/termurl.htm will get you to my URL definition page, but http://pcsupport.about.com/od/termsu/g/TERMURL.htm and http://pcsupport.about.com/od/TERMSU/g/termurl.htm will not.

  9. If the website is a common one that you're familiar with then double check the spelling.

    For example, www.googgle.com is very close to www.google.com, but it won't get you to the popular search engine.

  10. If you copied the URL from outside the browser and pasted it in the address bar, check to see that the entire URL was copied properly.

    For example, often times a long URL in an email message will span two or more lines but only the first line will be copied correctly, resulting in a too-short URL in the clipboard.

  11. Another copy/paste mistake is extra punctuation. Your browser is pretty forgiving with spaces but watch out for extra periods, semicolons, and other punctuation that might have been present around the URL when you copied it.

    In most cases, a URL should end with either a file extension (like html, htm, etc.) or a single forward slash.

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