errors on your nonprofit website

Whether it’s a website for your nonprofit or that of a huge conglomerate, there’s no website that can boast of giving error-free experience to its visitors all the time. Thus, website errors are common. The only thing is to know how to fix these errors on your nonprofit website.

Be it a broken link, an insecure connection to the internet, or an outdated web page, these errors come as a result of different reasons. In this guide, we take you through the ins and outs of some of the most common errors on your nonprofit website and how you can go about fixing them. Let’s get started.

Common errors we’ll cover:

  • 500 Internal Server Error
  • 404 Not Found
  • 404 Forbidden Error
  • 401 – Unauthorized
  • 403 – Forbidden
  • 502 – Bad Gateway
  • 504 – Gateway Timeout

500 Internal Server Error

This is one of the most common errors on your nonprofit website that users may come across. As a general purpose error, the 500 internal server error usually occurs mostly when there is an issue with your server internally – mostly when it’s overloaded.

Your tech team has to guide your users through when they report encountering this issue. To resolve this, you should guide them to clear their browser’s cache, reloading the page, restarting the browser, delete cookies, or forcefully reloading the browser.

If this problem occurs frequently on your nonprofit website, please contact your hosting provider for further support. There are also many plugins to help you diagnose this issue if you are running a WordPress site.

404 Not Found

When a user tries to access a web page that doesn’t exist, a 404 Not Found error message pops up. But this is not just about a page not existing entirely. Common causes include:

A user may hit the stop button just before a web page loads – and this message may appear

When a user clicks on a link too quickly

This error message could also be as a result of that fact that the file a user is trying to access is too large

Also, if the server from which the particular web page is being requested is running too slow, a 404 Not Found message may appear.

It could also be as a result of a mistyped URL, server not finding anything on the requested location


Ask visitors to refresh their pages, make sure their URL is spelled correctly, etc.

Reach out to your web host to see if there are any server issues, especially if 404 Not Found becomes frequent.

404 Forbidden Error

As the name suggests, a user gets this message on your nonprofit’s website when they are trying to access a web page or file that they don’t have the permission to. Thus, this is a way of telling a visitor that they don’t have the permission to proceed.

While it may generally appear as a “404 Forbidden Error”, there are different ways it could be shown to the user, but directing to the same thing, including “HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden” or “Forbidden: You don’t have permission to access [directory] on this server.

Fixing 404 Forbiden errors

On the visitor’s side, they are advised to reload pages, double check if the spelling of the web page or URL is correct, etc.

On your side as a nonprofit web master, you need to check for .httaccess File in your project directory. (Seek technical knowledge if possible), especially if this error persists.

Reset file and directory permissions

Test your plugins and make sure none of them is interfering with your users’ web page visits (For nonprofits running their websites on WordPress).

401 – Unauthorised

This is one of the most common errors on your nonprofit website that users would come across. A 401 error means that a user is trying to access a web page or resource that needs login credentials such as a username and password. This is your website’s way of telling the user that without these credentials, they cannot access the requested page or content or resource.

Here’s how to solve the 401 error:

Make sure users have the required username and password to access a webpage or document

For users who already have usernames and passwords, ask them to check and make sure their credentials are accurate.

Ask users to clear their browsers’ cache to remove any corrupted processes that occurred as a result of a previously attempted logins.

If after all these users are still experiencing this issue or if things become frequent, do check with your hosting provider for backend solutions.

403 – Forbidden

While this is also about issues with credentials, the 403 – Forbidden error is a little different. It occurs when a user makes a valid request to view an online page or resource, but denied access. This usually happens when the user is not given the permission from the website’s administrator. This could be done deliberately from the admin side or it could be an issue with IP addressing.

Here’s how to solve 403 – Forbidden error:

Check with the user to make sure that they’re accessing the website or resource with the right URL, web page name or login credentials.

Also make sure that from your side, you have given this user the required administrator permission to access the website or webpage.

From the backend, also remember to check your .htaccess file to ensure that it’s not denying access to a specific IP address.

502 – Bad Gateway

If a user receives this message, it means they have made a request to a URL or resource, but the internal server couldn’t fulfil the request. This largely occurs as a result of a malfunction in the server or an issue with your hosting provider.

Fixing a 502 – Bad Gateway error:

Your first point of call is to check your website visitors because the possible cause may be as a result of too many visitors above the normal visits. This overloads the server and consequently crashes it if immediate steps aren’t taken.

You can also ask users to delete their cookies and clear caches – which may be too much and could prevent future requests.

504 – Gateway Timeout

This occurs when the server doing the request does not receive a timely response from the server providing the request. In simple terms, it becomes a delayed request. While this may be out of your control sometimes as a web master (for instance, a user’s internet may be too slow), there are still precautions you can take to save users from going through the pain.

Do check your .htaccess file to ensure it isn’t blocking some requests without your knowledge.

Check to ensure that your database is not corrupted, especially for nonprofit websites running on WordPress.

Also check with your hosting provider to make sure that there aren’t any issues at their end.

What to do with these errors as a nonprofit website manager

Whether you have an in-house web team handling your nonprofit website or you’re doing it with a freelancer, these errors occur all the time and you need a way to work on them.

What to do when it comes to errors on your nonprofit website

For nonprofits looking for a comprehensive solution and all-time updates to their platforms to ensure that these errors don’t turn users away, IndieTech Solutions is ever ready to help you out.