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Microsoft Internet Explorer IE error bug with overly short 404 error pages

A Warning about Microsoft Internet Explorer - IE
and too-short custom 404 error pages

This is a real tricky one: if you create an error page that's too small, Microsoft Internet Explorer will display its own error page that includes a link to the MSN network search engine rather than your own custom 404 error page. (here's what it looks like, if you haven't seen it already. This example was produced with a four line custom 404 error page in place) Not very cool, if you ask us!

Though Microsoft doesn't come out and say it directly, different error pages have different size limitations, as detailed in this table:

Code Description File Size
400 Bad Request > 512 bytes
403 Forbidden > 256 bytes
404 Not Found > 512 bytes
405 Method Not Allowed > 256 bytes
406 Not Acceptable > 512 bytes
408 Request Time-out > 512 bytes
409 Conflict > 512 bytes
410 Gone > 256 bytes
500 Internal Server Error > 512 bytes
501 Not Implemented > 512 bytes
505 HTTP Version Not Supported > 512 bytes

The long and short of it is that you should make sure that your error pages aren't just one or two lines long, but are actually sufficient length to be at least 512 bytes. if you're like us and have HTML code that's about half the width of an edit window, that means your error pages should be at least 12 lines of HTML in total.