Web Development

HTTP 401 Unauthorized Access Error

By Bastien, on December 18, 2022 - html-errors - 3 min read

Have you ever come across a “401 Unauthorized Access Error” when trying to access a website or web application? Understanding what this error message means and how to fix it is essential for any web developer.

In this article, we will discuss the basics of HTTP 401 Unauthorized Access Errors, and give an overview of some best practices for troubleshooting them.

  • The 404 status code appears when the client can’t be identified by the server.
  • Generally this kind of issue is simply due to an incorrect password or an expired session.
  • Clearing the cache and flush the DNS can solve the problem.

What does the 401 error code mean?

When the 401 Unauthorized response status code is received by a web application, it means that the client request hasn’t been completed because it lacks valid authentication credentials for the requested resource.

In other words, the server has determined that there isn’t a valid login or password provided in order to access the requested resource.

Typically, this error occurs when an incorrect username and/or password are entered, but can also happen for other reasons…

401 error http

Why do I get a 401 error?

There are a variety of reasons why a 401 error occurs. Common causes include:

  • Incorrectly entered usernames and passwords.
  • Expired session tokens.
  • A WordPress security plugin failure
  • Unauthorized access attempts to restricted resources.
  • IP address filters that prevent certain users from accessing specific content.
  • Failed authorization checks, such as an incorrect authentication token.

How can I fix the 401 error as a visitor?

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that can help you troubleshoot 401 error status.

  • Check your request for proper authentication credentials.
  • Verify that the username and password are correct.
  • Check if there is an IP address filter in place, and make sure you’re connecting from a valid IP address.
  • If you are using an API key to access a resource, ensure that it is valid and has not expired.
  • Clear your DNS.
  • Clear your browser’s cookies.
  • Finally, verify if the server is experiencing issues and try again later.

But let’s see each of these points in detail.

Check your request for proper authentication credentials

In order to access a resource, you will need to authenticate with the server. This could mean:

  • providing valid username and password credentials,
  • an API key that is active,
  • or some other form of authentication.

Make sure you’re sending the correct information in your requests in order to proceed.

Verify that the username and password are correct

If you have entered incorrect login information, then 401 status code will occur when trying to access a protected resource. Verify that the username and password are spelled correctly, as even small typos can cause 401 Unauthorized Access Message.

Verify if there is an IP address filter in place

Certain websites might limit which user IP addresses are allowed to reach the site. If your IP address is not on the approved list, then a 401 error message will be displayed when trying to reach the resource.

Ensure that your API key is valid and has not expired

API keys often have expiration dates associated with them, and 401 Error can occur if an expired key is used. Make sure the API key being sent in your request is still valid and hasn’t expired yet.

Clear your DNS

A 401 Error could be caused by DNS issues. Clearing the cache and flushing your DNS can help resolve this type of error.

Clear the cookies of your web browser

In some cases, 401 Unauthorized Access Errors could be caused by cookies that are stored in your web browser. Try clearing the cookies and then try accessing the resource again.

Check to see if the server is experiencing issues and try again later

Sometimes 401 errors can be caused by server issues or overloads. In such cases, wait a few minutes before attempting to connect again – sometimes this can resolve the 401 Unauthorized Access Error.

How can I fix the 401 error on my website?

If you are the administrator of a website and 401 Unauthorized Access Errors are occurring, then there are a few steps that can be taken to troubleshoot the issue.

  • Check your server’s configuration settings.
  • Make sure the correct authentication credentials are being sent.
  • Check to see if IP address filters are in place, and if so, make sure you’re connecting from a valid IP address.
  • Deactivate your security plugins on WordPress.
  • If an API key is being used, verify that it is still active and has not expired.
  • Finally, contact your server administrator for assistance if needed.

401 Error in a nutshell…

Web developers should always be prepared for HTTP 401 Error. It is important to know how to recognize, diagnose and fix them.

By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can ensure that your web applications are running smoothly and securely. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified professional for help.

  • 401 Error message appears when the server denies access to the client.
  • It means that your authentication to access the website has failed.
  • It can simply be due to a typo mistake in an username or a password.
  • The easiest way to fix it is generally to correct the typo mistake.
  • Clearing your browser’s from cookies can also solve the issue.
  • The error also can be caused by a WordPress plugin.

As you are here, take a look at this video. It's our future. It concerns us all.

Bastien