How to fix URL errors

Few things are more frustrating than clicking a link or typing a long website address and the page won’t load, sometimes resulting in a 404, 400, or other similar error.

Although there are several reasons why this can happen, often the URL is simply wrong.

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

Time Required: Thorough inspection of the URL you are working with should take no more than a few minutes.

How to fix an error in a URL

  1. If you are using the http: portion of the URL, did you include the slashes after the colon – http:// ?
  2. Do you remember the www? Some websites require this to load successfully.

    See What Is a Hostname? for more information on why this is so.

  3. Have you remembered the .com , .net , or other top level domain?
  4. Have you typed the actual name of the page 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 backslashes instead of the correct // redirect slashes after the http: portion of the URL and throughout the rest of the URL as needed?
  6. Check the www . Forgot a w or added an extra by mistake – wwww ?
  7. Have you entered the correct file extension for the page?

    For example, there are a world of differences in .html and .htm . They are not interchangeable because the first points to a file ending in .HTML while the other is to a file with the .HTM suffix – they are completely different files, and it is unlikely that they both exist as duplicates on the same web server.

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

    For example, will take you to our URL definition page, but .htm and no.

    This is only true for URLs that indicate the file name, such as those that show the .HTM or .HTML extension at the end. Others like are probably not case sensitive.

  9. If the website is one of the common ones that you are familiar with, then double check the spelling.

    For example, is very close to , but it won’t take you to the popular search engine.

  10. If you copied the URL from outside the browser and pasted it into the address bar, check that the entire URL was copied correctly.

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

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

    In most cases, a URL must end with a file extension (such as html, htm, etc.) or a single forward slash.

  12. Your browser may autocomplete the URL, making it look like you can’t get to the page you want. This is not a URL issue per se, but rather a misunderstanding of how the browser works.

For example, if you start typing “youtube” in your browser because you want to search Google for the YouTube website, it might suggest a video you recently watched. It will do this by automatically loading that URL in the address bar. So if you hit enter after “youtube”, that video will load instead of starting a web search for “youtube”.

You can avoid this by editing the URL in the address bar to access the main page. Or, you can clear your entire browser history so you forget about the pages you’ve already visited.