How to Fix a 401 Unauthorized Error

Methods to Fix a 401 Unauthorized Error

401 Unauthorized error in Google Chrome

The 401 Unauthorized error is an HTTP status code that means the page you were trying to access cannot be loaded until you first log in with a valid user ID and password.

If you've just logged in and received the 401 Unauthorized error, it means that the credentials you entered were invalid for some reason.

401 Unauthorized error messages are often customized by each website, especially very large ones, so keep in mind that this error may present itself in more ways than these common ones:

401 Unauthorized
Authorization Required
HTTP Error 401 - Unauthorized

The 401 Unauthorized error displays inside the web browser window, just as web pages do. Like most errors like these, you can find them in all browsers that run on any operating system.

How to Fix the 401 Unauthorized Error

  1. Check for errors in the URL. It's possible that the 401 Unauthorized error appeared because the URL was typed incorrectly or the link that was selected points to the wrong URL — one that is for authorized users only.

  2. If you're sure the URL is valid, visit the website's main page and look for a link that says Login or Secure Access. Enter your credentials here and then try the page again.

    If you don't have credentials or have forgotten yours, follow the instructions provided on the website for setting up an account or resetting your password.

    Do you usually struggle to remember your passwords? Consider keeping them in a password manager so that you only have to remember one password.

  3. Reload the page. As simple as it might seem, closing down the page and reopening it might be enough to fix the 401 error, but only if it's caused by a misloaded page.

  4. Delete your browser's cache. There might be invalid login information stored locally in your browser that's disrupting the login process and throwing the 401 error. Clearing the cache will remove any problems in those files and give the page an opportunity to download fresh files directly from the server.

  5. If you're sure the page you're trying to reach shouldn't need authorization, the 401 Unauthorized error message may be a mistake. At that point, it's probably best to contact the webmaster or other website contact and inform them of the problem.

The webmaster of some websites can be reached via email at webmaster@website.com, replacing website.com with the actual website name. Otherwise, find a Contact page for specific contact instructions.

Other Ways You Might See 401 Errors

Web servers running Microsoft IIS might give more information about the 401 Unauthorized error, such as the following:

Microsoft IIS 401 Error Codes
Error Explanation
401.1 Logon failed.
401.2 Logon failed due to server configuration.
401.3 Unauthorized due to ACL on resource.
401.4 Authorization failed by filter.
401.5 Authorization failed by ISAPI/CGI application.
401.501 Access Denied: Too many requests from the same client IP; Dynamic IP Restriction Concurrent request rate limit reached.
401.502 Forbidden: Too many requests from the same client IP; Dynamic IP Restriction Maximum request rate limit reached.
401.503 Access Denied: the IP address is included in the Deny list of IP Restriction
401.504 Access Denied: the host name is included in the Deny list of IP Restriction

You can learn more about IIS-specific codes on Microsoft's the HTTP status code in IIS 7 and later versions page.

Errors Like 401 Unauthorized

The following messages are also client-side errors and so are related to the 401 Unauthorized error: 400 Bad Request403 Forbidden404 Not Found, and 408 Request Timeout.

A number of server-side HTTP status codes also exist, like the often-seen 500 Internal Server Error. You can find many others on our List of HTTP Status Code Errors.