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How to Fix 401 Status Code Error (5 Solutions)

Picture this: You’re trying to access a valuable resource on a website, but the dreaded 401 status code error appears, blocking your way. Frustrating, right? In today’s digital world, understanding and fixing…

Estimated Read Time:  10 minutes


A person troubleshooting a 401 unauthorized error on their computer

Picture this: You’re trying to access a valuable resource on a website, but the dreaded 401 status code error appears, blocking your way. Frustrating, right? In today’s digital world, understanding and fixing these errors is crucial for both website visitors and owners alike. So, how does one tackle this issue and ensure a seamless browsing experience? In this blog post, we’ll unravel the mystery behind the 401 error, discuss its common causes, and provide actionable solutions from both visitor’s and website owner’s perspectives. Let’s dive in and get you back on track!

Short Summary

  • Understand the 401 status code and its role in authentication credentials.

  • Troubleshoot from a visitor’s perspective by verifying login credentials and clearing browser cache/cookies, or from an owner’s perspective by analyzing server logs & adjusting authentication settings.

  • Advanced solutions such as working with WWW-Authenticate headers & updating access control rules can be used to identify causes of errors, plus additional tips like testing from different locations & seeking help are recommended for resolving issues.

Understanding the 401 Status Code

A person typing valid authentication credentials into a computer

A 401 status code is commonly referred to as the “401 Unauthorized Error.” It indicates that the client does not possess valid authentication credentials required to access the requested resource. In other words, you’re not authorized to access the content you’re trying to reach. This HTTP status code is a client-side error, indicating that your request is missing the necessary permissions to view the target resource. Understanding various http status codes can help in diagnosing and resolving such issues.

But what exactly are authentication credentials, and how do they come into play here?

The Role of Authentication Credentials

Authentication credentials typically consist of a username and password, which are essential in granting access to protected resources. When a client request lacks valid authentication credentials, the server responds with a 401 status code, denying access to the requested resource. To resolve this issue, users must provide valid authentication credentials.

So, if you’re facing a 401 error, it’s crucial to double-check your login details to ensure they’re accurate and up-to-date.

Common Causes for 401 Errors

An image showing a computer screen displaying a 401 status code error message, which is a common cause for 401 errors.

Several factors can contribute to a 401 error, including incorrect URLs, outdated browser cache, and client-side issues. Sometimes, the server generating the 401 error may include a “WWW-Authenticate” header field, indicating the required authentication method. Therefore, it’s essential to examine the error message closely and identify the underlying cause before attempting to resolve it.

Incorrect URLs can result from typographical errors or broken links pointing to the wrong address. An outdated browser cache and cookies can also affect authorization, causing a 401 error. In some cases, plugin conflicts, especially on WordPress sites, can trigger 401 errors. To address these issues, it’s crucial to verify the incorrect URL, clear browser cache and cookies, and ensure compatibility with installed plugins.

Troubleshooting the 401 Error: Visitor’s Perspective

A person troubleshooting a 401 unauthorized error on their computer

If you’re a website visitor experiencing a 401 error, there are two primary steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue: verifying your login credentials and clearing your browser cache and cookies. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you have accurate access information and a clean slate for your browser to work with, increasing the likelihood of successful authorization.

Verify Login Credentials

As mentioned earlier, valid login credentials are essential for preventing 401 errors. To verify your login details, double-check your username and password, ensuring that they’re accurate and correctly entered. Keep in mind that passwords are usually case-sensitive, so be cautious of any typos or formatting errors.

If you’re still having trouble, consider resetting your password or reaching out to the website’s support team for assistance.

Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

Clearing your browser’s cache and cookies can help resolve 401 errors caused by outdated information. Cache and cookies store temporary data from websites you visit, which can sometimes become outdated or corrupt, interfering with proper authentication. By clearing this data, you’ll allow your browser to fetch fresh information from the server, potentially resolving the 401 error.

The process of clearing cache and cookies may vary depending on your browser. For example, Google Chrome users can click the three-dot menu in the top-right corner, navigate to “Settings,” and then click “Privacy and security.” Under “Privacy and security,” select “Clear browsing data” and ensure that both “Cached images and files” and “Cookies and other site data” options are checked. Click “Clear data” to complete the process.

For other browsers, consult the browser’s documentation or help center for specific instructions.

Troubleshooting the 401 Error: Website Owner’s Perspective

As a website owner, encountering a 401 error on your site can be concerning. However, there are practical steps you can take to rectify the issue, such as analyzing server logs and adjusting authentication settings. By doing so, you’ll ensure a seamless experience for your website visitors and maintain a secure environment for your site’s content.

Analyzing Server Logs

Server logs are a valuable source of information when troubleshooting 401 errors. They can help identify potential causes of the error and reveal failed login attempts. By examining these logs, you can gain insights into any underlying issues and take appropriate action to resolve them.

Depending on your server configuration, you may need to consult your hosting provider or IT department for access to the logs.

Adjusting Authentication Settings

Ensuring proper configuration of authentication settings, permissions, and access control is crucial in preventing 401 errors. Review and adjust these settings to make sure they’re correctly set up and up-to-date. This may involve updating passwords, modifying user roles and permissions, or resolving any conflicts with installed plugins, especially on WordPress sites.

In some cases, you may need to disable password protection for specific sections of your website. To do so, follow the instructions outlined in your server’s.htaccess and.htpasswd files, or use a user-friendly feature in your hosting provider’s control panel. By making these adjustments, you can ensure that your website visitors have the appropriate level of access, avoiding unnecessary 401 errors.

Advanced Solutions for 401 Errors

If you’ve tried the basic troubleshooting steps mentioned earlier and are still facing 401 errors, it’s time to explore some advanced solutions. These may include working with WWW-Authenticate headers and updating access control rules.

By diving deeper into these technical aspects, you can identify and resolve issues that may be causing persistent 401 errors on your website.

Working with WWW-Authenticate Headers

WWW-Authenticate headers can be instrumental in identifying the required authentication methods and addressing server-side 401 errors. To determine the authentication method employed by the server, examine the WWW-Authenticate entry within the Response Headers section of your server logs.

By understanding the expected authentication method, you can make necessary adjustments and resolve any server-side authentication issues contributing to the 401 error.

Updating Access Control Rules

Reviewing and updating access control rules is essential for maintaining appropriate access levels and avoiding 401 errors. Ensure that your access control system is properly configured and up-to-date, granting the correct access permissions to authorized users.

Depending on your authentication and authorization methods, the specific steps to review and update these rules may vary. After making changes, test your website to ensure the desired functionality and access levels are achieved.

Additional Tips for Resolving 401 Errors

Beyond the previously mentioned steps, there are some additional tips and best practices to consider when addressing 401 errors. These include testing your website from different locations and contacting your hosting provider or IT department for assistance.

By exploring these options, you can gain valuable insights into potential network-related causes and other issues that might be contributing to the error.

Testing from Different Locations

Testing your website from various locations can help identify potential network-related causes of 401 errors. Tools like GeoPeeker, Browserstack, and Testsigma enable you to assess your website from distinct geographic areas. To use these tools, simply enter the URL of the website you want to test and select the desired geographic location.

By testing from different locations, you can determine if the issue is related to a specific location or network, allowing you to narrow down the potential causes and take appropriate action.

Contacting Hosting Providers or IT Departments

If you’ve exhausted all other troubleshooting methods and are still experiencing 401 errors, it may be time to seek assistance from your hosting provider or IT department. They can help you identify any server or network-related issues that might be contributing to the error.

By working with these experts, you can ensure that your website is functioning optimally and providing a seamless experience for all users.


In conclusion, understanding and addressing 401 status code errors is essential for both website visitors and owners. By following the guidance and troubleshooting steps provided in this blog post, you can effectively tackle these errors, ensuring a smooth and seamless browsing experience.

Remember, the key to resolving 401 errors lies in understanding their causes, verifying authentication credentials, and adjusting settings from both visitor’s and website owner’s perspectives. Don’t forget to explore advanced solutions and additional tips if the basic troubleshooting methods don’t resolve the issue.

With the right knowledge and tools, you can tackle 401 errors head-on, ensuring that your website remains accessible and secure for all users. So, keep these tips in mind, and confidently conquer any 401 error that comes your way!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix unauthorized 401 error?

To resolve the “401 Unauthorized Error”, it’s important to first ensure that the URL you are attempting to access is accurate, then clear your browser’s cache and cookies.

Additionally, double-check authentication credentials, disable any password protection, and troubleshoot the code if needed.

What is the reason for 401 unauthorized error?

A 401 Unauthorized error is an HTTP status code that appears when a user attempts to access a webpage without having the correct authorization credentials. This error typically appears when the authentication credentials provided are either incorrect or missing.

The reason for a 401 Unauthorized error is that the server received an unauthenticated request and was unable to provide access to the requested resource as valid authentication credentials were not provided. This could occur if incorrect or missing credentials are given for the application.

What is 401 status code in rest API?

The 401 status code in a REST API indicates an authorization problem; the request failed because authentication was not successful or provided in the correct format.

This generally occurs when there is an attempt to access a protected resource without proper credentials.

What is unauthorized 401 ): invalid credentials provided?

Unauthorized 401. Error occurs when a web browser requests access to a restricted resource from the server, yet fails to provide valid authentication credentials. This is an indication that the user has not been granted access and will need to authenticate in order to be able to view the requested resource.

How do I fix a 401 error?

To fix a 401 error, first make sure that the URL you are attempting to access is correct. Additionally, clear your browser’s cache and cookies, check authentication credentials, disable any password protection, and troubleshoot any code related issues.

If these efforts don’t solve the problem, further assistance may be necessary from an experienced web developer or system administrator.

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