What is 406 Status Code? Issues, and How to Fix It In 2024?

We often run into errors while browsing the web. One common error is HTTP 406: Not Acceptable Error.

This means the server can’t provide a response that matches what the client’s request specifies. It usually happens when the server can’t deliver content that fits the criteria set in the client’s Accept header.

What is HTTP Error Code 406?

The β€œ406 Not Acceptable” error happens during content negotiation between a web browser and a server. The browser tells the server what types of content it can handle using HTTP headers, especially the β€˜Accept’ headers.

HTTP 406

These headers specify the preferred formats, languages, encodings, and character sets. If the server can’t provide the content in any of the preferred formats listed in the Accept headers, it throws a 406 error.

This means the server can’t deliver the response in the way the browser requested.

Issues Due to HTTP Error Code 406

Users and website administrators can face various issues when they receive an HTTP 406 error. The error, commonly known as “not acceptable,” results in many problems.

1. Content Display Problems: Users may have trouble viewing content because the server can’t provide it in an accepted format.

2. User Frustration: Frequent 406 errors can be annoying, causing issues with accessing certain pages.

3. Reduced User Engagement: Regular 406 errors can lead users to lose interest in the site, decreasing engagement.

4. SEO Impact: Ongoing 406 errors may signal poor user experience to search engines, potentially lowering the site’s search ranking.

Causes of HTTP Error Code 406

HTTP Error 406

1. Mismatched Content Types

A 406 error occurs when the types of content your browser requests (like specific image formats or text) don’t match what the server can provide.

This mismatch means the server can’t create a response that fits the browser’s requirements.

2. Encodings or character sets that are not supported

An error 406 is triggered if the server cannot provide content in a particular character set or encoding requested by the client.

3. Incomplete or incorrect headers

A breakdown in communication can be caused by inaccurate or incomplete headers in the client’s request. There may be a problem interpreting the client’s expectations, which results in the server returning a 406 error.

4. Insufficient server configuration

A 406 error happens when the server can’t handle the content types requested by the browser. This occurs because the server isn’t set up to provide the specific formats needed.

To fix this, the server settings must be adjusted to match the expected content types, ensuring smooth communication between the browser and the server.

5. MIME Type Mismatch

Sometimes, your browser asks the server for specific types of files, like JPEG images, certain video formats, or plain text.

If the server can’t provide the type of file requested, such as a JPEG image, you’ll see a 406 error. This happens because the server can’t deliver the exact content type the browser is asking for.

How to Fix HTTP Error Code 406?

Here are some ways to fix HTTP Error Code 406.

1. Adjust Request Headers

When a browser requests information, it tells the server what format it wants (like HTML, XML, or JSON) through an ‘Accept’ header. If you get a 406 error, you can fix it by changing this header.

  • Modify the ‘Accept’ header to include more formats the server can provide.
  • Ensure the browser is flexible in accepting different types of responses.

This helps the server send a response that matches the browser’s request.

2. Server Configuration

If you’re getting a 406 error, it might be due to the server not being able to generate responses in the requested formats. You can fix this by:

  • Ensuring the server can handle the types of responses you need.
  • Changing server settings or installing necessary components to support the required formats.

This helps the server provide the content in the format requested by the client.

3. Content Negotiation

Content negotiation is like a conversation between the client and server to decide the best format for sharing information. The 406 error can be fixed by:

  • Using ‘Accept’ and ‘Content-Type’ headers to specify and understand the types of information being sent and received.
  • Ensuring the server can understand these headers so it can send and receive information in a way that matches what the client wants.

This helps both sides agree on a compatible format for the response.

4. Error Handling

Improving error messages can help developers understand and fix issues more efficiently. To resolve a 406 error, you can:

  • Enhance server-side error handling to provide detailed explanations about why the 406 error occurred.
  • This helps developers identify and fix problems related to response formats more quickly.

Providing clear and informative error messages makes troubleshooting easier and speeds up the resolution process.

5. Update Client Libraries Or Frameworks

Outdated libraries or old frameworks in the client-side code can cause it to fail to handle various response formats. To fix this:

  • Ensure the tools or programs on the client side can handle different response types. If not, update them to newer versions that support a wider variety of formats.
  • Verify that the client-side capabilities match what the server can provide. They need to be compatible to work together smoothly.

Updating and ensuring compatibility between client and server helps resolve these issues.

6. Provide a Default Response Format

Whenever the client’s preferred response format is unavailable, the server can provide a default response format, such as JSON or HTML. Here’s how to do it:

  • Configure the server to always send a default response type (like JSON or HTML) if it can’t provide the requested format.
  • Using this method, the server can still provide a meaningful response in the default format when the client’s preferred format is unavailable.

This ensures the client receives a usable response, even if it’s not in the initially requested format.


🧐 What does HTTP Error Code 406 mean?

HTTP Error Code 406, or β€œNot Acceptable,” indicates that the server cannot provide the content in the format requested by the client.

πŸ€” Why do users and website admins face issues with HTTP 406 errors?

Users may struggle to view content, leading to frustration and reduced engagement. For admins, continuous errors can negatively impact SEO rankings.

πŸ™„ What causes HTTP Error Code 406?

This error can occur when there is a mismatch between the content type and the character set, incomplete headers, incorrect configuration of the server, or mismatched MIME types.

🫀 How can HTTP Error Code 406 be fixed?

Fixes include adjusting request headers, configuring the server, content negotiation, improving error handling, updating client libraries, and providing a default response format.

🀨 Why does HTTP Error Code 406 impact user engagement?

It disrupts content delivery, making it hard for users to view content. Repeated errors can frustrate users, reducing their interest and engagement with the website.

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Conclusion: Resolve 406 Status Code

To resolve HTTP 406 errors and improve user experience, adjust request headers, ensure server compatibility, and implement content negotiation.

Improve error handling, update client-side libraries, and provide a default response format like JSON or HTML.

These steps help prevent 406 errors and ensure smooth interaction between clients and servers.

Kashish Babber
This author is verified on BloggersIdeas.com

Kashish is a B.Com graduate, who is currently follower her passion to learn and write about SEO and blogging. With every new Google algorithm update she dives in the details. She's always eager to learn and loves to explore every twist and turn of Google's algorithm updates, getting into the nitty-gritty to understand how they work. Her enthusiasm for these topics' can be seen through in her writing, making her insights both informative and engaging for anyone interested in the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimization and the art of blogging.

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