HTTP 304, also referred to as "304 Not Modified," is a status code used to inform your browser that the requested resource has remained unchanged since the last time it was accessed.
In simple terms, when your browser sends a request to the server, it receives a response indicating that the resource has not been modified since your previous visit. Consequently, your browser retrieves a cached version of the web page, stored locally, rather than downloading the same information again. This process aims to enhance page speed and delivery by avoiding unnecessary duplication of content.
What Causes the 304 Not Modified Status Code?
The occurrence of 304 Not Modified status codes can arise either on the client or the server side. However, if a user faces a 304 Not Modified status code on your site, the error likely occurred on their end, and there might not be much you can do to resolve it.
Below are some potential causes that may lead to a user receiving a 304 Not Modified status code:
Virus or malware: The user's browser might be infected with viruses or malware, which can interfere with its ability to communicate with web servers and cache web pages.
Recent software installation: If a user has recently installed or uninstalled software on their computer, it can sometimes result in registry corruption. This corruption can affect the browser's communication and caching functionality.
Corrupt application: If the user has any application on their system that contains corrupt files related to their browser, it can impair the browser's ability to store web pages and update information.
Please note that these causes are potential factors that could lead to a 304 Not Modified status code, but the specific reason for the error can vary depending on the user's system and configuration.
6 Methods to Fix the 304 Status Code
While the 304 Not Modified status code typically cannot be resolved directly on the client-side, there are several recommendations to address related issues. Consider the following potential solutions:
1. Clear Your Browser Cache
To begin, you can initiate the process by deleting your browsing data, cookies, and other cached information.
By clearing your browser's cache, you effectively eliminate all data stored temporarily, leading to increased disk space and improved browser performance.
Furthermore, outdated resources residing in your cache might prevent you from viewing the most up-to-date website content. Clearing the cache ensures you obtain fresh information from the respective site's web server.
If you are using Google Chrome, follow these steps to clear your browser's cache:
Step 1: Click on the three horizontal dots at the top-right corner of your window to access the Customize and Control Google Chrome menu.
Step 2: Navigate to History -> History.
Step 3: Locate and click on the "Clear Browsing Data" option.
Step 4: A new window will appear. Choose the desired time range for clearing the cache. If you want to remove all cache data, select "All Time."
Step 5: Select the specific types of data you wish to clear, such as browsing history, cookies and other site data, files, and cached images.
Step 6: Finally, click the "Clear Data" button to begin clearing.
By following these steps, you can clear your browser's cache, allowing for a refreshed browsing experience.
2. Flush the DNS
Just like web browsers, operating systems also store cache files, specifically in the Domain Name System (DNS) cache. This cache holds information about your browsing data, including hostnames, IP addresses, and resource records.
DNS caching plays a role in speeding up the loading of web pages when you revisit them, reducing the load on DNS servers during high traffic periods.
However, these cache files have a validity period determined by the TTL (Time to Live) value. While valid DNS caches can quickly respond to content requests without involving a DNS server, outdated or corrupted caches can lead to errors or security issues.
Regularly flushing your DNS cache offers several benefits, including enhancing the security of your operating system and preventing tracking of your search behavior, making it difficult for hackers to predict your browsing history. It can also help resolve technical problems like connection issues or encountering HTTP 304 Not Modified response codes.
If you are using Google Chrome, you can flush your DNS cache by following these steps:
Enter chrome://net-inetrnals/#dns in the browser's address bar.
A menu page will open. Click on the "Clear host cache" button.
Remember that Google Chrome maintains a separate DNS cache, so it is also essential to flush the DNS cache on your computer.
Flushing the DNS cache on your operating system is a relatively straightforward process. If you are using Windows (XP, 7, Vista, 8, 8.1, or 10), follow these steps:
Step 1: Click the Start button and navigate to Windows Systems -> Command Prompt.
Step 2: The command-line interface will open. Enter the following command:
Step 3: ipconfig /flushdns
Step 4: A confirmation message will appear once the process is successful.
It's also possible to flush the DNS cache on other operating systems, such as Linux and Mac, although the specific steps may vary.
3. Check Your Redirect Instructions In .htaccess
If none of the previous troubleshooting methods have resolved the error message, it is possible that the issue lies within your server's configuration file, related explicitly to incorrect redirect instructions.
To investigate the server configuration file, determine whether your server runs on Nginx or Apache.
If your server uses Nginx, you won't have access to the .htaccess file. In this case, you should examine the error logs to identify potential areas for troubleshooting.
For servers running Apache, you can check the .htaccess file located in your site's root directory. Access your hosting account's File Manager and navigate to the public_html folder.
To disable the .htaccess file, you can rename it to .htaccess_disabled. Afterward, verify the site's availability and observe if the 304 Not Modified status code still persists while the .htaccess file is disabled. If the error code is resolved, you can revert the file name back to .htaccess to enable it again.
If this method successfully resolves the error code, it is advisable to consult with your developer to review the code within the .htaccess file. Additionally, pay attention to any incorrect redirect settings, as these can vary for each website.
By working closely with your developer and investigating the .htaccess file, you can address any potential misconfigurations that may be causing the 304 Not Modified status code.
4. Run a Malware Scan
An additional potential cause of encountering the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code is a browser that has been compromised by a virus or malware infection. These threats can disrupt various aspects of your system, including header requests. To address this issue, it is essential to identify and remove any malicious software from your system by running a malware scan.
If you are using Google Chrome on a Windows operating system, you can utilize the built-in Malware Scanner and Cleanup Tool. Here's how:
Step 1: Firstly, ensure that your Chrome browser is up to date. Click on the three vertical dots located at the top-right corner of Chrome's window,
Step 2: then navigate to Settings -> About Chrome.
Step 3: In the About Chrome window, you will see if your Chrome version is up to date. If it is not, click the Relaunch button to update it.
Step 4: After updating Chrome, open a new tab, enter chrome://settings/cleanup in the URL bar, then press Enter.
Step 5: Click the "Find" button on the page to initiate the scanning process for harmful software.
Step 6: Chrome will perform a scan on your computer and present you with a report containing the scan results.
There is no built-in malware scanner available for other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, as well as different operating systems such as Mac and Linux. In these cases, you should run a malware scan using the antivirus software installed on your computer. Ensure that the antivirus software is up to date and perform a full system scan to detect and remove any malware or viruses.
By running a malware scan using either the built-in Malware Scanner and Cleanup Tool in Chrome or antivirus software, you can identify and eliminate any threats that may be causing the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code.
5. Try Using the Google Public DNS
An incorrect DNS address is another possible cause of the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code. You can try using the Google Public DNS to address this issue, which may help resolve the problem.
On Windows, you can follow these steps:
Step 1: Press the Win + R keys simultaneously to open the Run window.
Step 2: In the Run window, type "ncpa.cpl" into the command box and click OK.
Step 3: In the Network Connections window, locate the network connection you are using and right-click on it. Then, select Properties.
Step 4: Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) in the Properties window.
Step 5: Choose "Use the following DNS server addresses".
Step 6: Enter "220.127.116.11" in the Preferred DNS server field and "18.104.22.168" in the Alternate DNS server field.
Step 7: Click OK to save the changes.
Step 8: Restart your system and try reaccessing the website.
By configuring your DNS settings to use the Google Public DNS addresses (22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199), you may be able to resolve any issues related to incorrect DNS addresses. After making these changes and restarting your system, attempt to reaccess the website to see if the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code is resolved.
6. Disable Browser Extensions
Infected browser extensions can indeed disrupt requests and server communication, resulting in the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code.
To resolve this issue, you can disable the extensions in your browser. Here's a step-by-step guide for four major browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Go to Settings -> Extensions.
Step 2: On the Extensions page, disable each extension by toggling off their respective switches.
Step 3: If you have unused or outdated extensions, click the "Remove" button to delete them.
Step 1: Navigate to Add-ons -> Extensions.
Step 2: In the Extensions section, disable each extension by clicking on the "Disable" button.
Step 3: If you wish to remove any unnecessary extensions, click on the three vertical dots next to the extension and select "Remove."
Step 1: Click on Safari in the menu bar and choose Preferences.
Step 2: Go to the Extensions tab.
Step 3: Disable each extension by unchecking the box next to it.
Step 4: If desired, you can uninstall extensions by selecting them and clicking on the "Uninstall" button.
Step 1: Click on the three horizontal dots in the top-right corner and choose Extensions from the menu.
Step 2: Disable each extension by toggling off the switch next to it.
Step 3: To remove an extension, click on the three horizontal dots next to it and select "Remove."
Step 4: You can resolve potential conflicts causing the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code by disabling infected or unnecessary browser extensions.
If you encounter the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code while accessing a website, it signifies a communication problem between your browser and the web server. This code can appear on your side or your site visitors' side and may result in restricted access to your content.
The HTTP 304 Not Modified status code indicates no need to transmit the requested resources again, as the server redirects you to cached content instead. However, this status code can also indicate incorrect configuration on either your browser or the server, causing communication issues.
To address this issue, you can follow these six methods:
-> Clearing your browser cache
-> Flushing the DNS
-> Checking your redirect instructions in .htaccess
-> Running malware scan
-> Try Using the Google Public DNS
-> Disabling the browser extensions
After implementing each method, it is essential to relaunch your browser and verify if the issue has been resolved. While you cannot directly solve the HTTP 304 Not Modified status code on your site visitors' side, you can provide them with resources or guidance to help them troubleshoot and fix the error codes they may encounter.