How to Troubleshoot an Error in a URL

12 URL Errors You Might be Making

Few things are more frustrating than when you click a link or type in a lengthy website 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:

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

How to Troubleshoot an Error in a URL

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

    HTTPS in browser address bar

    skylarvision / Pixabay 

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

    See What Is a Hostname? for more on why this is the case.

  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 backslashes \\ instead of the correct forward slashes // after the https: portion of the URL and throughout the rest of the URL as necessary?

    Here's an example of a properly formatted URL:
  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. They aren't interchangeable because the first points to a file that ends in .HTML while the other is to a file with the .HTM suffix—they're entirely different files, and it's unlikely that they both exist as duplicates on the same web server.

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

    For example, this will get you to a valid page:

    But this won't:

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

  9. 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.

    Similarly, some browsers let you paste over the existing URL, replacing it to make room for the one you're pasting. But if this isn't done correctly, you could be adding your new URL to the old one, making a really long URL that simply won't work to load anything.

  10. 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 in the URL when you copied it.

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

  11. Your browser may autocomplete the URL, making it appear as though you can't reach the page you want. This isn't a URL problem itself, but more of a misunderstanding of how the browser works.

    For example, if you start typing youtube in your browser because you want to search Google for YouTube's website, it may suggest a video you've recently watched. It will do this by automatically loading that URL into the address bar. So, if you press enter after "youtube", that video will load instead of starting a web search for the word you typed.

    You can avoid this by editing the URL in the address bar to take you to the home page. Sometimes, using the Backspace key will halt the autocomplete wherever you stopped typing. Or, you can clear out the search bar history or the browser's entire history so that it will forget which pages you've already visited.

  12. If the website is a common one that you're familiar with, then double-check the spelling. For example, is very close to, but it won't quite get you where you're wanting to go.

    This site can't be reached error in Chrome
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