Home > Reviews

What Is 401 Error Unauthorized Access? – Fixes

Last Updated on May 5, 2023
401 Error Unauthorized Access
You can trust PC Guide: Our team of experts use a combination of independent consumer research, in-depth testing where appropriate - which will be flagged as such, and market analysis when recommending products, software and services. Find out how we test here.

Trying to access a website and being greeted with “401 error unauthorized” access can leave many people frustrated. It is an HTTP error response code that can happen for numerous reasons. The lack of clarity on the cause makes it a very inconvenient error to come across.

This guide will give a breakdown of the causes of “401 error unauthorized access” and the steps you can take to try and fix the problem.

What Is 401 Error Unauthorized Access?

Error code 401 occurs when the user request cannot be authenticated because they don’t have the required credentials and the webpage has thus denied access. If you come across error code 401 then the problem is client-side.

401 Error Unauthorized Access – Causes

Outdated browser cookies and cache

A common reason for this error to occur is due to the browser having outdated cookies and cache preventing the authorization from occurring.

Incorrect URL

An incorrect URL from an outdated link can cause an error to occur.


Sometimes browser plugins or your computer’s firewall can report legitimate access attempts as malicious and prevent them from accessing the site.

401 Error Unauthorized Access – Fixes



Outdated browser cookies and cache

Browser cookies and caches are designed to improve the user experience, but sometimes they can cause unexpected issues to occur. to fix this issue you will want to clear your browsing history, for different browsers the steps will be slightly different.

Google Chrome

  1. Click the three dots on the top right hand side
  2. Select ‘history’
  3. Then click clear browsing history and make sure cookies and cache are selected

Other browsers will have a slight variation on this procedure but will follow the basic steps.




Incorrect URL

One of the simplest fixes is to make sure that the URL is correct. Check to ensure that the URL was typed incorrectly. Additionally, the link followed may be out of date and lead to a part of the website that no longer exists. To try and fix the issue with an incorrect link you can try to access the page directly from the website.



Plugin interference

Certain plugins, especially security plugins and extensions can cause error code 401 to occur. By disabling or removing them you can usually resolve the issue.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the 401 error occurs when there is trouble authenticating the user’s credentials, although it can be frustrating the fix is usually a simple one. By following the how-to steps in this article hopefully, the issue is resolvable.

Bradley is a long time tech enthusiast and gamer, first picking up a controller at the age of 3. Nowadays, he enjoys finding the best deals and helping out fellow enthusiasts. When he's not at the co