A Brief History of the 404 Error

Everyone who uses the internet has experienced the disappointment of reaching a 404 error, the page that explains that the page you are looking for it "not found." As internet use grew, so did the popularity of the common error we all made -or at least encountered. The code 404 became shorthand for anything that was missing, from car keys to prison escapees.

Not long after it appeared, the error code began to enjoy, or endure, its share of lore. In the early 2000s, the idea bubbled up that the 404 came from, well, room 404; that this room housed the web’s first servers, at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland); that World Wide Web inventor Tim ­Berners-Lee had his office there; that he frequently could not be found.

“Sigh,” wrote Robert Cailliau, a pioneer, with Berners-Lee, of the hypertext structure that led to the web. When asked for comment on the 404 error, he seemed less than thrilled to be approached with what he called “trivia.” Cailliau was adamant that the mythology is hogwash.

The truth is much more mundane, but we latched onto the magic of the 404 error anyway. An article at Wired explains, although it's more of a love letter to the page that both disappoints and fascinates us. -via Digg

(Image credit: Flickr user Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta)


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