404: Not Found

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Not Found
not found.png

Explanation[edit]

[...] I have always been of the opinion that http://xkcd.com/404/ is an actual comic, if a slightly avant-garde one. I actually went out of my way to modify the 'random' button to include it, but that annoyed too many people—most of whom reasonably assumed it was a bug—and I eventually undid it.

This was the first April fools' comic released by Randall. The next became 880: Headache, released on Friday April 1, 2011. The previous comic was released on Monday March 31, 2008, and the next comic was released on Wednesday April 2, 2008. This comic was released between the two, on Tuesday April 1st 2008.

The "404 Not Found" error message is a HTTP standard response code to indicate that the browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested. The error may also be used when a server does not wish to disclose whether it has the requested information. The website hosting server will typically generate a "404 Not Found" web page when a user attempts to follow a broken or dead link; hence the 404 error is one of the most recognizable errors encountered on the internet. Randall deliberately skipped the comic number 404, so when people try to view it, they get a "404 Not Found" error instead. He has said that he considers 404 an "actual comic" and that for a time he made it possible to find it using the "random" button on xkcd.com.

It might initially appear coincidental that the comic 403 was published just a day before April 1, 2008. However, Randall likely became aware of this possible correlation prior to that specific date, so he had an opportunity to influence the comic's release date. In May 2007 and in November 2007, Randall published the Choices series and the 1337 series respectively, each over five consecutive days, less than six months before April Fool's Day. This deliberate action shifted the release date of comic 403 from April 10, 2008, to March 31, 2008, when it was actually published. This alteration allowed for comic 404 to be posted on the April Fool's Day without abruptly disrupting the normal comic release schedule.

This comic was featured in 1975: Right Click (in File > Open > C:\ > Bookmarks/ > Comics > comic num 404). Interestingly, the next comic, 405: Journal 3, includes the line "So, you found me after all." In 1969: Not Available, the error message 404 is referenced in the caption.

Transcript[edit]

[Instead of the regular xkcd site layout, just a white page that states on top center:]
404 Not Found
[Page-wide divider line]
[Below that in a smaller font:]
nginx

Trivia[edit]

The web comic Comic JK made a spoof of this comic in xkcd style.


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Discussion

Maybe it was skipped because he had to. In some, if not all websites, there's the 404.html file that is displayed when there's a 404 error (example: /var/www/404.html/), so it would have shown the '404' page that existed the whole time, because xkcd.com/404 would have shown 404.html.173.245.55.73 22:58, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

But there's a 401, a 402, a 403, 405, a 451. If it was done because an error code got in the way, he would have had to skip these too (and going to them manually would show the respective error pages). Also, comic 404's page appears to be the server's default 404 page, which probably isn't even stored in the same directory as the comics. Hppavilion1 (talk) 21:28, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
"404.html" is merely the default name for a 404 page in several web server configurations. It can be easily changed or disabled and most definitely did not factor into the comic's creation. Zekesonxx (talk) 02:17, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Old discussion, but if a 404 page is directly requested, the server returns a 200 code, not 404. https://xkcd.com/404 returns 404. There really is nothing there. Usb-rave (talk) 00:01, 15 May 2023 (UTC)

April 1st, 2008 was a Tuesday, so no xkcd comic would have normally come out then. For that week, xkcd 403 was Monday, March 31st, 2008, xkcd 405 was Wednesday, April 2nd, and xkcd 406 was Friday, April 4th. 404 was just skipped. It is also skipped in the "previous comic"/"next comic" links on his site. I don't think it was an April Fools gag. Blaisepascal (talk) 19:03, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, I'd say that it certainy might be. In any case, it's an interesting observation! St.nerol (talk) 11:22, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Then again, his skipping from 403 to 405 (making 404 come up "404: Not Found") may have been his April Fool joke that year. The timing may have been coincidental, but I don't blame him for taking advantage of it. --Aaron of Mpls (talk) 23:16, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
No, because there was already another April's Fool joke in 2008: xkcd, Questionable Content and Dinosaur Comics rotated their content ([1]). However the timing does seem quite suspicious. -- Xorg (talk) 21:52, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

This entry isn't on the list of all comics 1-500, and I made the mistake of adding this comic to the list. I was about to add an explanation, with a link to a webcomic about it, when I found this page. I think that this page should be liked in the all comics 1-500 list so that others don't make the same mistake and so that curious people can easily get to it. Rylon (talk) 18:10, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

The link is changed.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:55, 17 July 2013 (UTC)


The hidden link

Nobody did find that hidden link? A shame. Just a simple test on this http://www.xkcd.com/test/ gives me a link to this comic: 1335: Now. And this page still appears like it was on the original release date on February 26 this year. I'm pretty sure there is still a link, some avant-garde, and Randall still giggles about that nobody did find this within six years. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:12, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Actually, you may be interested to note that xkcd.com/test now links to the Lorenz comic (#1350). 108.162.219.73 15:16, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
It keeps changing then... Today it was 1367: Installing. It was 12, then 15 and now 19 days between the test and the day the link pointed at it. Kynde (talk) 15:00, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Now it's 1446: Landing. --199.27.128.182 22:56, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
1485: Friendship now --Kynde (talk) 07:52, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
And now it links to 1664: Mycology Zorlax the Mighty would like to connect on Linkedin (talk) 21:52, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
Today almost two years after last post it was 1812: Onboarding. Wrote here because of today's comic 1969: Not Available which references 404 error message --Kynde (talk) 20:33, 20 March 2018 (UTC)
Today, it is this own comic, 404. 162.158.122.120 22:30, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

I’m getting rid of the Internet Explorer stuff and taking a picture of it on Edge. IE is hardly even used anymore. SilverTheTerribleMathematician (talk) 05:43, 8 February 2023 (UTC)

I went ahead and straight-up removed the image and tried recreated the HTML for the page. The comic doesn't have an image, so why should we create one ourselves? --FaviFake (talk) 15:26, 11 November 2023 (UTC)