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The Dreaded 404 Page and Its Little Understood Cousin: The 402 Error

Did you know that back in the earliest days of the Internet, there were a list of error codes created for situations that the web’s first designers thought would be highly possible in the future? Of course, the dreaded 404-error is the one that most of us know well: page not found. It was ubiquitous among websites of the 90s and continues to be part of our online lives. For some, it has even offered a canvas for creativity as web designers have fun with it.

Far less known is the 402-error code, which was originally created for a potential web that never actually happened. This was the code meant to be returned if you visited a page that required a micropayment to access the content. Sadly, a dominant micro currency never really emerged, which made the idea that anyone might pay a fraction of a cent to read an article impossible. So, the 404-error become a pop icon and the 402 was forgotten. Not enough geeking out on internet protocols for you? Here’s the full list of all the http codes for your reading pleasure. And before you ask me if I included this story simply because this happens to be edition #404 of this newsletter, I’ll just say 444.

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