What is a 401 Error and How Do You Fix It?

What is a 401 Error and How Do You Fix It?

Imagine you’re trying to update your website, but for some reason, you can’t access the back end. Worse yet, you can’t even get to your WordPress Login page because there’s a pesky 401 error barring the way.

An HTTP error 401 means there’s a problem authenticating your browser credentials. In this article, we’ll break down what that means and what causes it. Then we’ll go over five ways you can fix the problem so that you can get back to your regular posting schedule.

Let’s dive in!

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What is the HTTP 401 Error and What Causes It?

At some point, you’ve probably tried to log into WordPress and accidentally submitted the wrong credentials. When that happens, you see an error page that lets you know you made a mistake, but you can still gain access by re-entering the correct username and password.

The 401 error is similar in that it involves you trying to access a website using the wrong credentials, but at a higher level. If your browser doesn’t authenticate properly with your site’s server, you wouldn’t even make it to the WordPress Login page.

Instead, you’ll an error page like this one:

A 401 Authorization Required error means you can try accessing the resource again using the correct credentials. In other words, it’s often a temporary problem, unlike an HTTP 403 error in which you’re expressly forbidden to access the page you’re hoping to reach.

In some cases, a 401 error will go away on its own, giving you access to your website again. However, getting locked out of your site even briefly is inconvenient. Instead of sitting around hoping your browser will resolve the issue, you can take action to reach the back end faster.

How to Fix the 401 Error in WordPress (5 Methods)

The main problem with a 401 error is that it has multiple potential causes. This makes it hard to know which one is affecting your browser. With that in mind, we’re going to discuss several possible fixes so that you can work your way through them.

1. Flush Your Domain Name System (DNS) Records

In many cases, your computer will store data about the IP addresses and URLs you access most often. That way, it can process future requests faster.

Flushing your DNS involves deleting all that temporary data from your computer. That way, the next time you try to access the problematic URL, it’ll make a completely new request and re-authenticate.

The process for flushing your DNS varies from one Operating System (OS) to another. If you’re a Windows user, it’s as simple as opening the Command Prompt and typing the ipconfig/flushdns command:

Flushing the DNS records on a Windows machine.

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This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on Elegant Themes Blog.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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