401 Unauthorized: What Does the 401 Status Code Mean?

Are you trying to access a page but all you can see is 401 Unauthorized? This error may mean you’ve provided a wrong login or password. But sometimes it’s more than that. In this blog post, we will explain the 401 status code. Read on!
401 Status Code

What Does the 401 Unauthorized Error Code Mean?

The 401 Unauthorized error code means that the request you made has not been authenticated by the server. This can happen for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • You have not provided the correct credentials (username and password).
  • The credentials you provided are not recognized by the server.
  • Your browser is not configured to send the proper authentication headers. 
  • The server does not support the authentication method you are using (for example, basic HTTP authentication or digest authentication).

When to Use 401 Error Code

The 401 status code indicates that the request has not been applied because it lacks valid authentication credentials for the target resource. In order to use the 401 status code, the client must first authenticate with the server. Once the client has been authenticated, it will be able to access the resources that it is authorized to access. If the client attempts to access a resource without first authenticating, then the server will respond with a 401 status code.

In addition to authentication, the 401 status code can also be used for authorization. If a client is not authorized to access a particular resource, then the server can respond with a 401 Authorization Required. This status code can be used in conjunction with other status codes, such as 403 and 404, in order to provide more information about why the client is not authorized to access the resource.

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5 Methods to Fix 401 Status Code

If the 401 HTTP error is bugging you a lot, there are a few ways you can fix it:

  • Clear Your Browser’s Cache: If you are encountering the 401 status code when trying to access a website, it could be due to an issue with the cache in your browser. Try clearing your cookies and cache or contacting the browser’s support team for help. 
  • Check your URL: Another common reason for encountering a 401 status code is because of an incorrect URL. Make sure that you are entering the correct URL for the website you are trying to access. If you’re not sure of the URL, try visiting the website’s homepage and look for links to the specific page or resource you’re trying to reach. 
  • Flush Your DNS: You can try flushing your DNS cache. This will clear any outdated DNS records that might be causing the problem. To do this, open the Command Prompt and type “ipconfig /flushdns”. 
  • Disable WordPress Plugins: If the previous methods fix the 401 status code problem, the next step is to deactivate all of your WordPress plugins. This will rule out any plugins that might be causing a conflict. To do this, simply go to your plugin page and select “Deactivate” for each plugin. 
  • Check the WWW-Authenticate Header Response: Finally, if neither of those solutions works, it’s possible that the website you’re trying to access is sending a www-authenticate header response that’s causing the problem. To fix this, you’ll need to contact the website’s administrator and ask them to update their configuration. 
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Error 401 HTTP Status Code FAQs

In case you’ve got some more questions about the 401 status code, we’ve prepared some frequently asked questions.

Q: What does the 401 error message mean?

A: The 401 error message means that the request has not been applied because it lacks valid authentication credentials for the target resource.

Q: How do I fix a 401 error?

A: In order to fix a 401 error, you first need to authenticate with the server. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to access the resources that you’re authorized to access. If the problem persists, try flushing your DNS cache or contacting the browser’s support team for help.

Q: What is the difference between 401 and 403?

A: The main difference between 401 and 403 is that 401 is used for authentication, and 403 means the client is forbidden from accessing.

Q: How do I fix a 401 error on WordPress?

A: If you’re encountering a 401 error while trying to access a WordPress site, the first thing you should do is deactivate all of your plugins. This will rule out any plugins that might be causing a conflict. If that doesn’t work, try flushing your DNS cache or contacting the website’s administrator for help.



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