A 400 Bad Request Error occurs when a request sent to the website server is incorrect or corrupt, and the server receiving the request can’t understand it. Occasionally, the problem is on the website itself, and there’s not much you can do about that. But most of the time, the problem is one you might be able to solve—maybe you typed the address wrong, or maybe your browser cache is causing problems. Here are some solutions you can try.
What Is a 400 Bad Request Error?
A 400 Bad Request error happens when a server cannot understand a request that’s been made of it. It’s called a 400 error because that’s the HTTP status code that the web server uses to describe that kind of error.
A 400 Bad Request error can happen because there’s a simple error in the request. Perhaps you’ve mistyped a URL and the server can’t return a 404 Error, for some reason. Or maybe your web browser is trying to use an expired or invalid cookie. Some servers that are not configured properly can also throw 400 errors instead of more helpful errors in some situations. For example, when you try to upload a file that’s too big to some sites, you might get a 400 error instead of an error letting you know about the maximum file size.
Just like with 404 errors and 502 errors, website designers can customize how a 400 error looks. So, you might see different looking 400 pages on different websites. Websites might also use slightly different names for this error. For example, you might see things like:
- 400 Bad Request
- 400 – Bad request. The request could not be understood by the server due to malformed syntax. The client should not repeat the request without modifications
- Bad Request – Invalid URL
- Bad Request. Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand
- HTTP Error 400. The request hostname is invalid
- Bad Request: Error 400
- HTTP Error 400 – Bad Request
Often, you can do something to fix getting a 400 error, but figuring out exactly what can be challenging because of the vague nature of the error. Here are some things you can try.
Refresh the Page
Refreshing the page is always worth a shot. Many times the 400 error is temporary, and a simple refresh might do the trick. Most browsers use the F5 key to refresh, and also provide a Refresh button somewhere on the address bar. It doesn’t fix the problem very often, but it takes just a second to try.
Double Check the Address
The most common reason for a 400 error is a mistyped URL. If you typed a URL into your address box yourself, it’s possible you mistyped. If you clicked a link on another web page and were shown a 404 error, it’s also possible that the link was mistyped on the linking page. Check the address and see if you spot any obvious errors. Also, check for special symbols in the URL, especially ones that you don’t see in URLs often.
Perform a Search
If the URL you are trying to reach is descriptive (or if you know roughly the name of the article or page you were expecting), you can use the keywords in the address to search the website. In the example below, you can’t really tell from the URL itself if anything is mistyped, but you can see some words from the name of the article.
Armed with that knowledge, you can perform a search on the website with the relevant keywords.
That should lead you to the correct page.
The same solution also works if the website you are trying to reach changed the URL for some reason and did not redirect the old address to the new one.
And if the website you’re on doesn’t have it’s own search box, you can always use Google (or whatever search engine you prefer). Just use the “site:” operator to search only the website in question for the keywords.
In the image below, we’re using Google and the search phrase “site:howtogeek.com focal length” to search just the howtogeek.com site for the keywords.
Clear Your Browser’s Cookies and Cache
Many websites (including Google and YouTube) report a 400 error because the cookies they are reading are either corrupt or too old. Some browser extensions can also change your cookies and cause 400 errors. It’s also possible that your browser has cached a corrupt version of the page you’re trying to open.
To test out this possibility, you’ll have to clear your browser cache and cookies. Clearing the cache won’t affect your browsing experience much, but some websites may a take a couple of extra seconds to load as they re-download all the previously cached data. Clearing cookies means you’ll have to sign in again to most websites.
To clear the cache in your browser, you can follow this extensive guide which will teach you how to clear your cache on all the popular desktop and mobile browsers.
RELATED: How to Clear Your History in Any Browser
Flush Your DNS
Your computer might be storing outdated DNS records that are causing the errors. A simple flushing of your DNS records might help solve the problem. It’s easy to do, and won’t cause any problems to try. We’ve got full guides on how to reset your DNS cache on both Windows and macOS.
RELATED: What Is DNS, and Should I Use Another DNS Server?
Check for File Size
If you’re uploading a file to a website and that is when you are getting a 400 error, then the chances are that the file is too big. Try to upload a smaller file to confirm if this is causing the issue.
Try Other Websites
If you’ve been trying to open a single website and getting 400 errors, you should try to open other websites to see if the problem persists. If it does, it might be a problem with your computer or networking equipment rather than the website you’re trying to open.
Restart Your Computer and Other Equipment
This solution is a hit and miss, but restarting your computer and especially your networking equipment (routers, modems) is a common way to get rid of a lot of server errors.
Contact the Website
If you’ve tried all the solutions and the error doesn’t seem to go away, then the website itself might be having a problem. Try to contact the website through a contact us page (if that works) or through social media. Chances are, they are already aware of the problem and working on fixing it.
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