The Biggest Website Content Screw Ups of All Times

Websites take ages to design. They are tested and retested, proofread as well on and run as a demo. With all this testing and checking, sometimes mistakes still manage to get through. Luckily for us, there are then websites whose sole content is to enlighten us with these fantastic screw ups. After all, there is nothing funnier than laughing at someone else’s misfortune right? We might think these stories are funny, but when they happen to you, you will probably be ready to throw your laptop or computer out of the window and never look at the internet again. One simple mistake can quite literally cost you months of work, if the work can be recovered at all.

Woeful Web Design

One great story about web design going completely wrong has been offered by someone who decided to make a brand new website that would help professionals in scheduling an appointment. Basically, he was offering a huge calendar to users, where they could pick appointments. The concept is simple and now exists through internet giants such as ShiftPlanning. Then, however, it was in its infancy. The man who wrote the website was not entirely familiar with JavaScript. Because he didn’t know how to use this or queries, he had to spend every day writing a new PHP script. This caused 3mb of JavaScript, which meant that people who were on dialup would spend at least 10 minutes loading the page.

Email Problems

Back in the days when the internet and email was only just becoming popular, the technology we now know as out of office messages wasn’t that advanced yet. Nowadays, your email server will only send an out of office reply once to each email address. Back in the days, however, it would send an out of office message to each email address. In those days, and this is still the same now, websites have “do not reply” email addresses. If someone does send an email to that address, they get a message back saying that it is a do not reply. Can you guess what started happening? There were a number of occasions where email accounts had to be completely shut down, because they ended up in a continuous loop. An email was received from a website, the email server would send an out of office, the website would send a do not reply email, the email server would send an out of office, the website would send a do not reply email, and so on and so on. One person came back from a long weekend and had over one million messages and they kept coming in.


One theme that comes back over and over again in web design screw ups is deleting live files. It is so easily done whenever your cat decides to accidentally paw your delete key. Poof, months of work is gone. But it can happen without the aid of cats as well. For instance, it has happened regularly that a full stop was accidentally replaced with a comma. One very good example was of a consultant collecting data on real estate agencies. He had collected data from over 2,000 real estate agencies and entered them in one data file called “real”. He used to some sample data from the file and wanted to call it real.test but accidentally called it real,test, which became a parameter rather than the file name. The original data was deleted and lost forever, meaning he had to start all over again. Oops!

Web content design is a complicated field that is performed mainly by humans and humans make errors. It is unfortunate, but there is little that can be done about it other than report it and have a sneaky giggle here and there.

  • Added Aug 12, 2019

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