What is 304 Not Modified Status Code and How to Fix It?

Staff Writer
Last Updated
June 12, 2024
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An HTTP status code is a response code received by your browser every time it requests the web server. There are many different HTTP server codes, each one having its corresponding meaning, and one of these is the 304 not modified status code.

What is the 304 Status Code?

The 304 Not Modified status code means that the website or resource you’re trying to access hasn’t been changed, modified, or revised by the owner since the last time you visited it. 

For context, when you visit a website for the first time, your browser will save or cache the current version of the website so that, in the future, it will no longer have to download the same resources again. Not only does this optimize future loading speeds, but it also improves performance, and reduces bandwidth consumption, especially for resources like images and scripts.

Then, when you try to access the same resource, the server will compare this cached version to the current version of the website using the If-Modified-Since tag to see whether both versions are the same. If the values of both versions match, this means that the page content hasn’t been changed. The server will then send the 304 status code to your browser, and the cached version will be loaded for the user.

What are the Reasons for the 304 Status Code?

The 304 status code is one of the many ways that browsers aim to operate more efficiently, but it can become a problem when this code is being sent to users despite there being a new version of the website or resource. There are a few reasons why this may happen:

  • Virus or Malware: When a virus or malware has infiltrated your browser, it could interfere with your browser’s ability to properly communicate with and receive response codes from the web servers you’re trying to access.
  • Corrupted Files: Any corrupted files that are related or connected to your internet browser could compromise its ability to cache web pages and update information. 
  • DNS Issues: If your DNS is misconfigured, your browser may not be able to access the correct IP address of web servers, leading to connectivity issues and unexpected behavior. Among other things, this can cause your browser to be directed to the wrong server, which could lead to a wrongful 304 status code in some cases.
  • Corrupted Registry: A corrupted registry may occur when you install or uninstall software on your computer, which can indirectly impact your browser and trigger a 304 status code.

How to Fix 304 Status Code

Any issue with the 304 status code is most likely due to the user’s browser rather than the website itself, which means that the owners of the website can’t really do anything to resolve this. However, there are a few things that affected users can do on their end:

Clearing Your Browser Cache and Data

By clearing all your browsing data, you’re also clearing your cache, which means that any website you visit will have to be saved all over again, regardless of whether or not you’ve accessed it before. This will give your browser a chance to refresh the saved version of this website and store the current version instead. There’s also a chance that your browsing data contains outdated resources that could be stopping you from accessing updated content.

Check Your Computer for Viruses or Malware

As mentioned above, a wrongful 304 status code could be occurring due to a virus or malware on your computer, so it’s always a good idea to check your device regularly. You can do this by running cleaners or malware scans that will analyze and eliminate them from your computer.

Disable Any Extensions

If you have any extensions connected to your browser, then try disabling them to see whether they’ve been causing the issue. These extensions may have been corrupted, which could mess with the way your browser receives information from servers.

Clear DNS

Just like web browsers, your computer’s operating system also stores cached files in the DNS cache to reduce the burden placed on the DNS server. However, some of these files may be outdated or corrupted, which is why you must flush your DNS regularly.

Aside from being one of the many responses that a website’s server can send to your browser, the 304 not modified status code is also your browser’s way of improving its loading speed and overall performance. While issues regarding this status code may be concerning for users, they can be easily resolved and prevented with these simple but effective tips and tricks.

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