What are the most common HTTP codes you will encounter and what do they mean?

You can spend your whole life on the internet and never know anything about HTTP codes. (Spoiler alert: most people don’t). But it’s useful to have a basic understanding of the most common HTTP codes and what they mean.

Before we delve into the specific codes, it is important to know that these codes are divided into categories. The first digit of a particular code points to the category it belongs to. The other two digits determine what kind of code it is.

Below are the 5 HTTP code categories:

  • 1## (Informational response): The request/action was received and processed.
  • 2## (Successful): The request/action was successfully received, understood, and accepted.
  • 3## (Redirection): The request/action needs further action/s to complete the process.
  • 4## (Client Error): The request/action cannot be fulfilled or contains an erroneous syntax.
  • 5## (Server Error): The server failed to successfully complete a valid request.

With that understanding, let’s move on to the most common HTTP codes that you may encounter, and what they mean.

1. 1##

  • 100 Continue
    The server has received the request, and the user can continue with the process.

  • 101 Switching Protocols
    The server has agreed to switch protocols when the user requested such action.

  • 102 Processing
    The server is processing the user’s request. However, the response is not yet available.

  • 103 Early Hints
    Some response headers are returned prior to the final HTTP message.

2. 2##

  • 200 OK
    A typical response for successful HTTP requests.

  • 201 Created
    The request was fulfilled, which created a new resource.

  • 202 Accepted
    The server has accepted the request, but the processing has not been completed.

  • 204 No Content
    The request has been successfully processed, but the server does not return any content.

3. 3##

  • 301 Moved Permanently
    Moving forward, all requests should be directed to a given, updated URL.

  • 303 See Other
    The response to the user’s request is found in another URL.

  • 307 Temporary Redirect
    The user should repeat the request with a new URL. But future requests can still be done using the original URL.

  • 308 Permanent Redirect
    All requests should be repeated using a new URL.

4. 4##

  • 400 Bad Request
    The request has an invalid syntax. This may happen due to several factors: the cookie associated with the website the user is trying to access is corrupt, or there was an error when the user manually inputted the request (i.e., typing the URL incorrectly).

  • 401 Unauthorized
    The user needs authentication or has not been authenticated properly. For the server to complete the request, the user must provide credentials to view the protected resource.

  • 403 Forbidden
    The user made a valid request. However, the server refuses to serve or process the request due to a lack of access permission.

  • 404 Not Found
    The server cannot locate the file or resource even though the user was able to successfully communicate with the server. This is typically the most common type of error message that you will see when browsing the web.

    5. 5##

  • 500 Internal Server Error
    The server cannot process the user’s request for some unknown reason.

  • 502 Bad Gateway
    The server where the request was sent is a proxy or a gateway. That means it did not receive a response from the actual back-end servers that are supposed to fulfill such a request.

  • 503 Service Unavailable
    The server is either under maintenance or overloaded. This is usually temporary, and the server should be available at another point in time.

  • 504 Gateway Timeout
    The server is a proxy or gateway. The back-end servers that actually process the request have not sent a response within a certain allowed period of time.


There you have it. We hope you found these useful. Have you ever encountered any of these codes?

If so, don’t be alarmed; these are normal and once you understand them, you can make the necessary adjustments If you’re not familiar with working with codes, you can ask a professional web designer to help you resolve these issues or sign up with Folio Websites where HTTP is definitely not required.