Check web page status codes

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screenshot of Check Server Headers

When you "go to a website", you know that you don't actually go there; you're probably still sitting at your desk, thank you very much. The going is actually a process of back and forth between your web browser and the web server application running on some computer out there halfway around the world.

There's a lot more to that interaction than just your computer saying "give me the Google home page" and the server saying "you bet!". As these two systems establish communication with one another and eventually negotiate back to where the information you're looking for starts moving up and down the wire, there are a series of pieces of information that go back and forth. One of the more important of these is the HTTP status code that's returned by the server to your browser. One of the more well-known of these is the dreaded 404 Not Found, the code that lets you know that the page you're looking for is no more. In addition, there are other status codes that let your browser know that something it's looking for has moved to a different location, that you haven't presented an appropriate set of authentication credentials to enter a secure area, and even another code that signifies that everything has gone smoothly and that you'll get your page directly.

Check Server Headers is a tool you can use to verify the status codes returned by pages you're interested in. In most cases, this will be important to you if you're trying to optimize your pages for the search engines. After all, Google and its brethren are interested in pages that actually exist, can be found where they say they are, and don't require jumping through any hoops to open them. To use this tool, just enter the URL of the page you want to check out, press the magic button, and quick like a bunny it will show you the status code that the web server has returned to it. Now you know if you need to tweak your site, or if you're looking at clear sailing just ahead.

Check Server Headers is a free online service. All you need to use it is a modern web browser and a web page you want to learn more about.

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