401 Error code

Whether the website is yours or someone else’s, visiting it and being met with an error page is most annoying. Like with many HTTP response, Codes the deficiency of information provided by a 401 error in identifying and fixing the problem contributes to its aggravating nature.

The 401 error is a typical problem that individuals encounter since it can occur in any browser. Most of the time, solving this issue is relatively easy and uncomplicated.

We’ll define 401 error messages and discuss their causes in this article. After that, we’ll take you through five ways to address them.To boost efficiency and production, you should go with a leased line connection if your company’s operations rely on the internet. 

What Error Code is 401?

The error code 401 Unauthorized is defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as follows:

The request has not been applied because it does not contain appropriate authentication credentials for the target resource, as shown by the 401 (Unauthorized) status code. The server must send a WWW-Authenticate header field containing at least one challenge relevant to the target resource, producing a 401 response.

When you attempt to access restricted resources, such as a password-protected web page, without first signing in or providing the proper authentication credentials, the 401 Error message may appear.

While client-side problems appear to be the most frequent causes of this error, the web server may occasionally be to blame. Either the server’s authentication procedure is flawed, or the server is purposely preventing the client from accessing the requested resource.

The browser will display an error number or message in place of directing you to the webpage when a 401 Error occurs.

  • HTTP Error 401
  • Access Denied 
  • 401 Unauthorized Error 
  • 401 Authorization Needed

The many 401 error variants are shown below, along with an explanation of each:

  • 401.1:The attempt to log in has failed 401.1
  • 401.2: The server configuration is the reason the login attempt failed.
  • 401.3: The Access Control List (ACL) is why the login attempt failed.
  • 401.522: The client has made too many requests or has exceeded the allowable number of requests.
  • 401.502: This error arises when a single web server receives several requests from a particular client (same IP), exceeding the dynamic IP Restriction Concurrent request rate limit.
  • 401.503: The client’s IP address is in the server’s refuse list.
  • 401.504: The client’s hostname is on the server’s refuse list. 

Causes of "401 Error Unauthorized Access"?

Even though the limitation on the URL may be purposeful, it occasionally happens accidentally or as a result of visitor-generated local problems. Below, we’ll look at the most typical causes.

Cookies Or The Browser's Expired Cache

Modern browsers store Cookies and local cache on your device to speed up loading times. However, you might not be able to view the website correctly and get the message “401 Unauthorized Access” if your browser’s cache is damaged or out-of-date.

Invalid URL

An erroneous webpage URL is another reason why the error page appears. It can be a misspelled URL or an out-of-date website address.

Secure URL Provided By The Server

Implementing password security directly on the server with many hosting companies is possible. The hosting panel’s chosen protection may be the source of the login prompt.

Misconfigured Plugin

Plugin functionality is a typical cause of limited access. For instance, many WordPress security plugins offer various ways to restrict or limit access. A misconfigured plugin might unintentionally block access or mistakenly flag a genuine visit as suspicious.


Limitations inside the Websites.Htaccess File

The.htaccess file on the website may contain Apache directives that provide password security. It’s possible that the website owner put them earlier and forgot to take them down. It’s also possible that a plugin adds the directives automatically.

How to Resolve the Unauthorized 401 Error?

We’ll go over five ways to fix the 401 Unauthorized Error in this section.

1. Verify That The URL Is Accurate:

If the user types the incorrect URL into the browser’s address bar, the 401 error code may appear. 

Make sure the URL you entered is correct before attempting the other approaches. Check to see if you overlooked any special characters or digits.

Ensure the URL you’re following has no mistakes if it came from another website or online application. Occasionally, a typographical error or obsolete links might cause the 401 error.

Access the restricted resources by visiting the website’s homepage and manually traveling to the affected page to obtain the correct URL. You may also try searching Google for the page.

2.Resolve Issues at the User End:

Now, we’ll discuss a few typical user-end problems and their fixes that might be causing the 401 error. 

Others can try the troubleshooting procedures listed below if you cannot view a particular webpage. Nevertheless, go to procedure three if you are sure everyone else attempting to access the website is likewise seeing the 401 error.

Check to see whether refreshing the page resolves the problem before attempting further troubleshooting steps. A misloaded page may occasionally be the source of the 401 error code. 

Delete Cookies and Cache from Your Browser

Cookies and cache in the browser enhance the online experience, especially in customization and loading times. They could, nonetheless, occasionally result in the 401 error.

The internal storage of your device stores your browser’s cache and cookies. The “static assets” on a website—data that often doesn’t change on subsequent visits are saved in the cache. This reduces loading times by enabling the browser to preload some assets from the website’s live version.

Conversely, cookies are little data files that store details about the device and the actions of its users. Cookies are widely used on websites to store user login information. 

For instance, cookies enable you to remain signed in on a particular website.

Sadly, a web server authentication failure might result from damaged cookies and cache in the browser. It’s also conceivable that the cookies and cache currently in use must be manually refreshed since they are old.

Navigate to your browser’s settings and look for the option to erase the cache and cookies. Use Google Chrome and do the following:

  • In the upper-right corner, click the three-dotted menu symbol.
  • Navigate to Settings -> Security and privacy -> Delete browsing history.
  • Choose All Time from the Time range drop-down option. Next, review the site’s cookies, other data, and cached files and pictures. Choose “Clear data.” 
  • Clearing The DNS Cache

DNS records are kept locally on your device in addition to the browser’s cache and cookies. 

Your device can match URLs to IP addresses more quickly and load pages more quickly thanks to the information stored in the DNS cache. On the other hand, the DNS cache functions at the system level, in contrast to the browser’s cache and cookies.

An uncommon but possible cause of the 401 HTTP status code is a DNS issue. It’s possible that the DNS cache is out of current and contains inaccurate IP and URL information.

By clearing your device’s current DNS records, flushing your DNS will make it necessary for it to perform a fresh request and reauthenticate the URLs.

Here’s how to clear your Windows DNS cache:

  1. Go to the desktop’s search box and enter “Command Prompt.”

2. Get the Command Prompt open.

3. Enter “ipconfig/flushdns” as the command and press Enter. The message “Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache” will appear if everything goes well.

3. Examine The Credentials For Authentication

When you attempt to access a password-protected website or other restricted resource using improper authentication credentials, you may see the 401 Unauthorized Error code. You will thus be unable to access the page.

Verify again that you are logged in using a legitimate login name and password. Try altering the password if you are confident that you have entered the information accurately.

Try changing your WordPress password if you’re experiencing problems getting onto a site that requires a password.

4. Turn Off the Password Protection

It may be worthwhile for webmasters to temporarily remove password security from the troublesome area of their website to address the 401 issue.

To disable password security that you have implemented using the.htaccess and.htpasswd files, take the following actions:

  • Go to the File Manager on your hosting account.
  • Access the website directory that is password-protected.
  • Locate the.htaccess file you first made when you used password security. Its content needs to resemble this:
  • AuthType Basic
  • AuthName means “Your authorization required message.”
  • Path/to/.htpasswd as the AuthUserFile
  • need a legitimate user
  • If you decide to re-enable password security in the future, make a backup of the contents of the.htaccess file.
  • Remove the directory’s.htaccess file.
  • Locate the.htpasswd file’s hidden location, make a backup, and remove it.Users of Hostinger may easily administer password-protected website directories with a feature of hPanel.

5. Examine And Fix the Code

There may occasionally be a web server issue instead of a client-side issue causing the 401 error.

Try the following techniques, mainly if you are the page’s website administrator, to confirm whether the problem is from a server fault.

WWW-Verified Heading.

Start by looking for mistakes in the WWW-Authenticate header of the website.The IETF requires a server that generates a 401 (Unauthorized) answer to transmit a WWW-Authenticate header field containing at least one challenge relevant to the target resource.

The authentication mechanism that the web browser should use to access a certain website is specified in this response header. Determining the issue will be made easier if you know what answer the header delivers and what authentication mechanism is being utilized.

Take the following actions to examine a WWW-Authenticate header for the reason behind the 401 Unauthorized Error:

  • Go to the webpage where the 401 error code is generated. To access the developer console in Chrome, either right-click on it and choose Inspect or press Ctrl+Shift+J.
  • Reload the page after selecting the Network tab. Select the record that has a status of 401 error.

3. Click the Headers tab to open. Look beneath the Response Headers section for the WWW-Authenticate item. It will display the authentication mechanism the content server uses to provide access.

Use the HTTP Authentication Scheme Registry to determine the page’s authentication mechanism. Since the page here employs the basic authentication technique, regular login credentials are all that are needed.

Turn off the themes, modules, and plugins:

As the website administrator, you may determine the reason behind the 401 error code by turning off the plugins, modules, and themes that are installed on your website. 

Regretfully, these extra lines of code might lead to problems with your website, such as the 401 Unauthorized Error, regardless of the content management system (CMS) you use, such as WordPress, Prestashop, or Magento.

WordPress will be used as an example. It’s simple to disable all of your plugins at once and switch to the default theme if you have a WordPress website and can still access its admin panel. 

Navigate to Appearance -> Themes and select “Activate” to bring back the default theme.

Go to Plugins -> Installed Plugins to turn off every WordPress plugin simultaneously. Click Apply after selecting all of the plugins in bulk and selecting Deactivate from the drop-down option.

Modifying your design template and turning off the modules should be accomplished in a manner akin to that of any other CMS dashboard.

On the other hand, you may turn off your WordPress plugins without access to the admin dashboard by opening the File Manager on your hosting account and renaming the Plugins folder. Users of Hostinger can directly manage their plugins from hPanel.Similarly, you may use File Manager and phpMyAdmin to make file changes to modify your WordPress theme without ever accessing the admin interface. 

Final Thoughts: 401 Error Code

Errors like the 401 error might occasionally occur when there is a communication breakdown between your browser and the server, preventing requests from being authenticated. Although this is a bothersome issue, the message is typically transient and quickly resolved.

The investigation may be necessary to fix the 401 unauthorized error, but it’s crucial to remember that the website’s security and protection settings cause the problem. This article looked at the typical reasons for the “401 Access Denied” problem and how to resolve it.


Q1. What does the error code 401 represent?

Unauthorized access is indicated by the 401 error code, usually due to missing or faulty login credentials.

Q2. How can users diagnose and fix 401 errors?

Rechecking login credentials, cleaning the browser's cache, and making sure the session is still active are some ways users might troubleshoot a 401 error.

Q3. What frequently results in 401 errors?

Expired sessions, invalid login credentials, and problems with authentication tokens are common reasons.

Q4. How may developers avoid 401 errors?

By using safe authentication techniques, such as multi-factor authentication and strict password rules, developers may avoid 401 errors.

Q5. Are there any platform-specific factors to take into account while managing 401 errors?

Yes, various web platforms may handle 401 errors differently, and developers should adjust their approach accordingly.

Q6. Does a 401 error code necessarily indicate a problem logging in?

No, although misconfigured servers, expired sessions, and difficulties with authentication tokens are the most frequent causes of 401 errors, they are not the only ones.

Q7. What distinguishes a 401 error from other typical HTTP problems for users?

A 401 error mainly indicates unauthorized access. It may be differentiated by users from other failures, such as 500 (internal server problem) or 404 (not found), by looking at the accompanying message, which usually refers to authorization or authentication difficulties.


Zayne Z

Meet Zayne VoIP Blog's dedicated Content Researcher with 5+ Years Experience. Passionate about VoIP technology, he delivers accurate, engaging articles, keeping readers informed on industry trends with excellence.