One thing to keep in mind is that the 404 could be a generic message. In other words, the server may not want to reveal the exact reason why the request has been refused. A good way to test this would be to use command-line-based URL retrieval tools like Wget or PHP cURL options. The advantages to this approach would be that they are fully configurable, allowing you to mimic multiple browsers. Wget and cURL can be run on any *nix-based system. When learning how to use Wget commands, a typical CLI that might be run to retrieve a page would be:
wget -U Mozilla http://
Basically this mimics a Mozilla User-Agent and tries to retrieve a.txt.
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