This is a follow up post to our 404 design showcase. However this time we won’t be much into design. Server errors are harder to control than 404 pages, so there are not many beautifully designed 5xx error pages.
The most popular server errors we’ve met while checking the web for broken links are:
- Request/server exceeded time limit. Surprisingly this is a very common error. Perhaps too many webmsters forgot to optimize their scripts or databases? Seeking into archive too deep? We can’t guess the real problem, but the lesson is check your old pages/scritps if they are still working, can handle the current load, and if your website’s archives are available.
- Can’t connect to SQL – is a very common problem. And this type of errors are fixed very fast, because they are easy to spot since they are affecting almost the whole site.
- Error in SQL query – is a less noticeable message than SQL server errors, but it is easy to fix as well.
- CMS error pages. These are the most informative ones. Developers usually forget to turn off debug messages. These are very dangerous, because they provide so much information for possible hackers.
- Down for scheduled maintenance. Such common and simple pages like this usually show random error numbers like 404, 500 and so on.
Worst solutions to the 5xx error pages
- Trying to show site’s main page. Actually sites like this try to show their main page everywhere: it’s for a 404 page, for any 5xx page, etc. Most of the time this appears as a big mess to a site’s visitor and does not provide any valuable information about what he can do next (if he wants to stay on the same page).
- Showing return to the original page when the “original page” link points to the same page user is at.
5xx error screenshots we made for you
Clean and simple error page
Internal server error (problem description in Japanese)
WordPress maintenance mode plugin in action. Website is down for maintenance
AT&T suggests users to return to the original page, but this time button leads visitors to the same page
Talking to aliens? Are BOF or EOF the names of your mothership? And what should your website’s user do now?
Nice looking server error page
Something blew up on digg’s server. One of the shortest error pages we’ve discovered.
Django gives a very detailed (and nice looking) report of what’s happened, but on production sites do not forget to turn that thing off in order not to tease hackers.
Drupal – site is down for maintenance.
Geocities is down. Nice and useful error page from Yahoo. But the title is a bit misleading. Isn’t it?
Server error. Because some of the text is bold red – we guess that something serious has happened.
Sweet and clean. In Russian.
Maxim tries to be funny.
An error happened in mod_python. The big snake is not happy.
MSDN tries to be helpful.
Even social networks go down.
Oh, database is not accessible.
Parallels – internal server error.
jQuery – no such file in repository (why not 404 then?)
Out of operation.
Being helpful and informative.
Very nice design (actually we see this page for all errors on that site and we love how it looks)
Site offline. Gray color is back into fashion this year.
Oh, so we are the robot? And you are a brick without soul goddammit Gooogle!!!
Look! Robot’s lost its head!
Site is under construction.
Something wrong at Yahoo!
XSL file not found.