When a web browser requests a service from a web server, there is always a possibility that an error might occur. When an error does occur, the webs server returns a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Status Code to the user. These status codes are commonly known as server error codes. The codes are standard and will appear regardless of the web browser being used (i.e. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.).
Private investigators who conduct computer forensic investigations may need to understand or interpret these types of codes during the course of an investigation case. This information will help serve as a reference for decoding the information.
What are Server Error Codes used for?
The information provided can be helpful to the user, but it is especially helpful to the site’s webmaster or owner. The site’s webmaster can use the error code to troubleshoot and hopefully fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again. A website that is free of error codes offers a better experience for the end user.
Server Error Code Categories
Hypertext Transfer Status Codes are three digit codes that fall into five major categories:
- 1xx: Informational – Request received, continuing process
- 2xx: Success – The action was successfully received, understood, and accepted
- 3xx: Redirection – Further action must be taken in order to complete the request
- 4xx: Client Error – The request contains bad syntax or cannot be fulfilled
- 5xx: Server Error – The server failed to fulfill an apparently valid request
Typically, status codes that begin with 1, 2, or 3 are not seen by the web browser or the user. Users typically see HTTP error codes beginning with 4 or 5.
List of Server Error Code Messages
A list of HTTP status messages that may be returned in the event of an error can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes.
- HTTP status codes are also known browser error codes, and internet error codes.
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