What Are External Server Errors?

External server errors can be a puzzling and frustrating for both website owners and visitors. These errors occur on the web server, and while we might not have control over the external site causing the issue, we can certainly learn how to deal with them effectively. In this article, we will dive into what external server errors are, their two primary categories (5xx and 4xx), and how they can impact SEO. We’ll also provide practical solutions for addressing these errors to improve the user experience.

What Are External Server Errors?

External server errors, as the name suggests, originate from the web server hosting the external website or resource you are trying to access. This can be caused by several things, including but not limited to:

  • A misconfiguration on the server
  • The server being down or unresponsive
  • A problem with the website’s code

External server errors can be classified into two main categories: 5xx and 4xx errors.

External Server Errors 5xx and 4xx

5xx errors: These are server-side errors, meaning that the problem is with the website’s server. They are the most common type of server-side error and usually indicate that the website’s code is causing the problem.
This could be because the website’s code is buggy or because the server is overloaded and can’t keep up with the demand. These are the 5xx errors you might run into:

500 – Internal Server Error
501 – Not Implemented
502 – Bad Gateway
503 – Service Unavailable
504 – Gateway Timeout

4xx Errors: These errors mean that the webmaster has either deleted or moved the page to a different URL. They are less common, but they still impact the user experience on your website. Because this can happen on somebody else’s website, and you’re unaware of these changes, you can leave that 4xx links on your page, leading customers to pages that don’t exist. Common 4xx errors include:

400 – Bad Request
401 – Unauthorized
402 – Payment Required
403 – Forbidden
404 – Not Found

Can External Server Errors Impact SEO?

Yes, external server errors can indeed have a negative impact on a website’s SEO. Search engines consider a website’s uptime and response time as ranking factors, and external server errors can lead to downtime and slower response times. These errors can also increase a website’s bounce rate, as users encountering errors are more likely to leave the site immediately. Additionally, trust and confidence in the website may erode if users repeatedly encounter nonexistent pages.
So, ideally, you want to keep the number of external server errors to a minimum to avoid these issues affecting the user’s experience.

How to Fix External Server Errors 5xx and 4xx

Dealing with external server errors involves taking important steps to maintain a positive user experience and safeguard your website’s SEO performance. Here’s what you can do:

  • Refresh your website.
  • Clear the cookies and browser cache.
  • Replace these URLs with valid links (2xx URLs) and update all incoming references to link to the new URL.
  • If you don’t have relevant links to replace the links leading to pages with external server errors, simply remove these URLs.

If you cannot solve some errors, contact the hosting company, and they will help you solve them.

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