Where did the 404 error message originate?

Origins of the 404 error message: Fox News gets to the bottom of that pesky error message.

We’ve all been there. The caffeine is flowing. Your brain is fired up, and it is miraculous, because all week you have been a zombie. But then ... something happens…something terrible…that horrific 404 Error Message appears. After nearly drowning in frustration, we brushed ourselves off and consulted an expert to learn about that pesky message.

Former Silicon Valley software engineer Adrian Gradinaru, who is now CEO of boat rental company Sailo, told Fox News that the 404 message, “occurs when we try to find pages that don't exist and the server that's trying to find them tell us ‘sorry, can't find the page you are looking for.’”


In simple terms, this means when we type ‘www.FoxNews.com/tech’ into our browser, we are actually asking the FoxNews.com server to give us the ‘tech’ page. We can see that the page exists, and the server returns the requested page that is then displayed on our browser.

Now, however, let’s say we make a mistake and type ‘www.FoxNews.com/tek.’ Try it, and you will see the server unsuccessfully looks for the page and returns a 404 error. We should note, however, that this error is different from a DNS error where the server address itself is not found.

Gradinaru explains: “There are over 60 different status codes that a server could return to a query. They all have 3 digits, and they all tell the browser something about the page requested by the query. One example is a 500 error that sometimes shows up on people's screens: and it means ‘Internal server error’ - basically you didn't do anything wrong but I (the server) screwed up.”