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README.TXT last updated 28.March.2004 
by Edgar Soldin, ed AT servererror DOT net



Imagine the following scenario. User X is surfing the net 
and trying to get some files from your server by blindly typing  
the adress directly into the console of the browser software.

In the standard case the server would reply to the request with 
a 404 HTTP error code. A bit boring don't you think. 

But maybe the server configuration is modified in a way 
that User X will be redirected to an unexpected URL different 
from the expected as a result of that request. That's better, but 
I don't think server admins are responsible for other sites hits.

With this thoughts in my slightly manipulated mind(1), the idea 
of ServerError was born. 

Servererror greets you every time you request the index.html with 
a randomly chosen error. The errors are meant to provide 
meaningless instructions to solve the bogus problem, but in fact 
ask you to do stupid or funny things. Take your time to read some 
and you'll find out what is funny about Servererror.

If you want to add errors: 
 Add them yourself and/or send them to me to a_new AT servererror 
 DOT net so that I can extend the errorlist.

For bugs, suggestions or comments contact me at ed AT 
servererror DOT net or visit for updates. 
In case someone follows the servererror instructions on the screen 
I claim no responsibility for the damage caused by doing this.

Edgar Soldin, Wernigerode/Germany

And remember the web is full of bad guys ;-). 
"Trust no one!" F.Mulder X-Files

(1) As a student i am a confessional customer of the local brewery.
As you probably know Wernigerode/Germany is the source of 
Hasseroeder, a very tasty german beer. (btw. it's not true anymore. 
I don't know what they are doin' there, but if you open one of these 
half litre sized bottles the beer smells and tastes stale. Anyway 
there are other breweries in germany. But nothing replaces a local 
tasty locally brewed beer, if you know what I mean.)


ServerError consists of these files which should be shipped in one 

.htaccess           a per directory apache config file
error.ico           the fancy servererror favicon
index.html          servererror-JS, clientside javascript version
index.php           servererror-PHP, serverside php version

 CHANGES.TXT         documents changes, tells news
 CHANGES.PHP.TXT     same as above for the php version
 Errorcodes.txt      original HTTP Errorcodes
 FakeErrorCodes.txt  fake HTTP Errorcodes (used by php version)
 license.txt         the GNU GPL which covers this software
 README.TXT          this document

templates/          templates and graphics for servererror-php

All servererror does is randomly picking an errormessage from the 
database file and writing it to the page which the unsuspecting
user is reading with his/her browser. In addition and for reality 
aspects the script grabs the protocol and server name or ip and 
adds them to the bottom of the errorpage.

In case that some users have disabled Javascript they will 
get a message to turn it on to see detailed error information.

I invented a new set of HTTP-errorcodelike errormessages that are 
completely nonsens. The set begins with 600. This number is, 
depending on my knowledge, not used in the official HTTP 
errorcodes list.

Feel free to send me new errors ;-) and/or add them yourself to the 
database file. They should sound similar to the real ones, but ask 
the user to do something unnecessary or better stupid in the end. 
Please sound as serious as possible.


Unzip package into a directory of your choice. Modify the server 
configuration so that specific errors will be redirected to the 
errorpage somewhere on your server. You can choose between the 
javascript and the php version of the software. 
Whilst the php-version is more flexible it needs to be supported 
by your webserver. If you don't have or cannot enable php use the 
js-version, which works in the clients browser and therefore does not 
need any special webserver side support. 

js-version  -> index.html
 (no configuration necessary at the moment)
php-version -> index.php 
 (optional configuration steps are described in the file itself)

Read the following if you are unfamiliar with configuring a 
web server for customized error messages and try to get support 
from your ISP on how to customize error messages for your 

IIS 4.0++
 If you have access to the server, go into Properties for the 
 WWW service. Go to the Custom Errors tab. Look for the listing  
 404 and replace the default document with the ServerError page.

 If your ISP is running IIS, ask them to change this information 
 for you by sending the URL or location of the ServerError page.
APACHE 1.3++
 Most Apache webservers support per-directory config files. If 
 your webmaster has enabled this feature you can override 
 runtime directives yourself by placing a .htaccess file in the 

 Example: .htaccess
 ErrorDocument 404 /index.html
 Apache is told for a 404(document not found) error NOT to come 
 up with  the standard error message BUT to redirect the request 
 to the index.html in the webdocument root.

 Some links for the recent apache versions on configuring custom 
 error messages

 Apache 1.3
 Apache 2.0

 Very good explanation on how to customize 404 error pages for 
 many different servers


Read Errorcodes.txt if you are interested in the real HTTP ERRORCODES.