Website Optimization: Try to Escape from 404 – Page Not Found

Article ID : Tip-003
Article Topic : Website Optimization
Article Title : Try to Escape from 404 – Page Not Found


Preface

Wen client always creates a request for the resources referenced in the page it is rendering and if server can’t find it sends 404 – Page Not Found.

Explanation

When we create a website with a number of webpages and embedded resources like images (in HTML and CSS), JavaScript Files or Cascading Style Sheets, it is well obvious that we may skip something to include or we have referenced which is not present in the application. If this missing is visible, it can be caught and taken care. But, what if it is not visible?

Let’s talk about the favicon.ico. Microsoft started the concept of the favorite’s icon with IE 4. Since then the trend is started ad is adopted by major browsers to fetch and display the favorite’s icon in the address bar o on the tabs icon (for the bowsers supporting tabs). Earlier the concept was to fetch this icon only when the page is added to the favorite’s menu. But today if the browser has no previous visit recorded for the site the page belongs to will create a domain/favicon.ico request. Once the data is fetched it will cached by the browsers. But if the server returns 404 Error it will try to get that every time the page is requested from the domain.

Most of the cases even after the deployment is over for the site we skip this small thing favicon.ico to be included in the application root and the server is bothered again and again by the requests to provide the information which actually it doesn’t have. Every time without getting frustrated it calmly says 404 – Page Not Found.

How to Resolve

You can avoid this very common situation specifically for the icon case by

  • Using a favicon.ico file in the root of the application.
  • Specifying the page icon in the header of the page.

There a number of tools available out there in the market (freeware or paid), which can help you find out the web requests and response for your browser. Using them you can identify what is requested and what you have received in response. Fiddler is a free tool used for the same purpose.

Conclusion

Any request which cannot be fulfilled by the server is a burden to the server and to the network and to the client who is making that request. We can actually avoid them by using little cautiousness.

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Published by

Anant Anand Gupta

Microsoft Technology Professional

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