Why Am I Still Seeing My Web Host's Default Page

or a File Not Found Error Page After Publishing My Website?

Why Am I Still Seeing My Web Host's Default Page or a File Not Found Error Page After I've Published My Website?

by Christopher Heng, thesitewizard.com

I occasionally have webmasters writing to tell me that they have published their web page using either their web editor or an FTP program, only to find that when they visit their website, they still see their web host's default web page or perhaps even a 404 File Not Found error page. This article discusses the causes of the problem and suggests some ways to fix it.

The Symptoms In Detail

This article may apply to you if after publishing (or uploading) your web page, you still see one of the following on your website:

Note: this article is not for those who haven't published/uploaded any web page yet. If you're reading this article because you're curious about creating a website, please see How to Make/Create Your Own Website: The Beginner's A-Z Guide instead.

Common Causes of the Problem

There are a number of possible causes for not being able to see your newly uploaded web page in your browser. Below is a checklist of the common ones. Please don't assume that an item does not apply to you because it looks obvious. Check everything.

Another Type of Error: When the "www" Subdomain Has Not Been Set Up

This section deals with another type of error, which is technically outside the scope of the article, but possibly one that has brought you here to find a solution.

If your website is at, say, "example.com", and you try to go to your website at "www.example.com" only to find that your browser says that the domain does not exist (or words to that effect), it's possible that your web host has not set up their system to answer to the name "www.example.com".

A little explanation is in order here. Where the Internet is concerned, "www.example.com" and "example.com" are two different websites, just as (say) "gmail.google.com" is a different website from "google.com". True, if you own "example.com", you can create any subdomain called "www.example.com", "whatever.example.com", "etc-etc.example.com" and so on. However, by default, these are all regarded as separate addresses.

When you sign up with a web host, most web hosts automatically set "www.example.com" to point to the same place as "example.com", since that is the way most newcomers expect things to be set up. It saves them the time answering technical support questions from puzzled new webmasters when they can't get "www.example.com" to work. However, this is not a guaranteed thing: not all web hosts do this by default. Some web hosts only set up "example.com", and you either have to go to your web hosting control panel or ask their technical support to set up "www.example.com" to point to the same place as "example.com".

Incidentally, do not assume that this is the cause of your problems. If you get a "404 File Not Found" error, or you see your web host's default page, then this section does not apply to you. Getting either of these two errors when you type "www.example.com" means that your "www" subdomain works fine. You should go back to the main section of this article for your solution.

It's only when you get a message from your browser saying that the domain cannot be found, that this situation is a possible reason. Even then, it is by no means certain that it is the cause. If you have only just bought your domain name within the last 1 or 2 days, it's also possible that your domain name hasn't propagated to the rest of the Internet yet: that is, your broadband provider's system (not your web host) still doesn't know about your new domain name. It can sometimes take around 2 days for the rest of the Internet to catch up when a domain name changes hands or is newly bought.

Anyway, if you're sure this section describes your situation, and you're not sure how to fix it, ask your web host for help.


Take heart. The problem of not seeing your web page in your web browser after you publish your website is usually a one-time problem, that is to say, it occurs because you're new to publishing your own site at that particular web host. Once you've encountered it and solved it, chances are that you won't encounter it again (unless you're careless). And even if you do, you will be able to solve it easily the next time.

Copyright © 2009-2018 by Christopher Heng. All rights reserved.
Get more free tips and articles like this, on web design, promotion, revenue and scripting, from https://www.thesitewizard.com/.

thesitewizard™ News Feed (RSS Site Feed)  Subscribe to thesitewizard.com newsfeed

Do you find this article useful? You can learn of new articles and scripts that are published on thesitewizard.com by subscribing to the RSS feed. Simply point your RSS feed reader or a browser that supports RSS feeds at https://www.thesitewizard.com/thesitewizard.xml. You can read more about how to subscribe to RSS site feeds from my RSS FAQ.

Please Do Not Reprint This Article

This article is copyrighted. Please do not reproduce or distribute this article in whole or part, in any form.

Related Pages

New Articles

Popular Articles

How to Link to This Page

It will appear on your page as:

Why Am I Still Seeing My Web Host's Default Page or a File Not Found Error Page After I've Published My Website?

Link to Us
No Spam Policy
Privacy Policy
Site Map

Getting Started
Web Design
Search Engines
Revenue Making
Web Hosting
Perl / CGI
.htaccess / Apache


Free webmasters and programmers resources, scripts and tutorials
HowtoHaven.com: Free How-To Guides
Site Design Tips at thesitewizard.com
Find this site useful?
Please link to us.