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Bad Authentication Credentials - What Does That Mean

Mar 18, 22  |  Admin

HTTP status bad authentication credentials (code 401 Unauthorized Error) indicates that the client's request could not be authenticated. Even though this error is similar to our previous look at the bad authentication credentials error code, it indicates that even if a user's authentication credentials were entered, they would still not be allowed access to the requested resource. Another possible explanation for this error code is that the resource requested is restricted and needs authentication, which the client failed to give.

Bad authentication credentials may be difficult to identify and fix, and this is true of most HTTP response codes, especially those that signal an error. Under ideal conditions, establishing which status code is responsible for an error may be challenging since there are more than 50 possible codes that describe the complicated interaction between the client, a web application, a web server and frequently several third-party services.

To better understand the bad authentication credentials, we'll look at what can be causing it, as well as some pointers for diagnosing and troubleshooting it in your own application. We'll even look at some of the most popular content management systems (CMSs) to see if there are any flaws that may lead to bad authentication credentials on your own website without your permission. Let's get started right now!

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Server-Side Or Client-Side Bad Authentication Credentials

Client error replies are HTTP response status codes 4xx. Contrast this with problems in the 5xx category, such as the 503 Service Unavailable Error we discussed last week. However, a 4xx error does not always indicate a problem with the client, which is the web browser or device used to access the program. When diagnosing a problem with your own application, you may often overlook client-side code and components like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This isn't only for websites. Many modern-looking smartphone applications are really powered by a conventional web application concealed from the user.

However, this does not rule out the client as the source of a bad authentication credential. In many circumstances, the client sends an unauthenticated request, resulting in a bad authentication credential. Even though the bad authentication credential is a client error response, it doesn't indicate the client or server is the offender in this instance. In these cases, the server is still the network object that generates the bad authentication credential and returns it to the client as the HTTP response code, but the client may be creating the problem.

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Diagnosing A Bad Authentication Credentials

A bad authentication credential indicates that the client (in most instances, the web browser) has requested a restricted resource (such as a web page) from the server but has failed to provide sufficient authentication credentials, as mentioned in the introductory paragraphs. One of a few conceivable circumstances might lead to this:

  • The server has denied the client's authentication credentials for whatever reason that has not been revealed to the client.
  • Authentication credentials were omitted from the request since they were supplied by the client.
  • For some reason, the client has been prohibited. Server-side bans may be to blame if authentication isn't the issue, since some programs limit access to particular IP addresses using 401 bad authentication credentials.

Troubleshooting on the Customer's End

Start by investigating any possible client-side problems that might be producing the bad authentication credentials response code. Here are a few things you may do to troubleshoot your browser or device.

Examine The Requested URL

Bad authentication credentials are almost often the result of improper URL input. As previously noted, many web servers restrict access to URLs that the server isn't prepared to offer access to in order to protect the integrity of the service. Trying to get access to a URL-based file directory or a private page reserved for another user might fall under this category. This means you should examine the URL that returns a bad authentication credentials to be sure it's the one you're trying to reach for in the first place.

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Remove All Relevant Cookies

HTTP cookies are little bits of data kept on your local device that allow websites and apps to “remember” information about your browser and/or device. Most contemporary web applications employ cookies to retain user authentication status, making it easy to tell which user is active and what authorization the current client (browser) should be allowed.

So, when a bad authentication credential occurs, the first thing to look for is an issue with faulty or damaged cookies, causing improper server authentication. In most circumstances, you just need to worry about cookies related to the problematic website or application. Because cookies are saved depending on the application's domain, you may delete just those that match the domain (e.g. airbrake.io). It's quicker and safer to remove all cookies at once if you're not familiar with manually deleting cookies.

Delete The Cache

Like cookies, the bad authentication credentials might be caused by the local browser cache. So, cache is essentially a bunch of storage used to save online material locally on your device for later use. Cached data is data that a browser often accesses and stores compressed snapshots of websites, pictures, and other binary data. With a local copy of these resources on your device, your browser doesn't have to download them every time you visit the same website. For example, when you open Facebook, a big amount of the website has already been loaded and cached on your local device.

Cached versions of web information and resources may clash with the live version of your application, resulting in a bad authentication credential.

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