Handling WordPress Error 404 Pages (Tips and Tools)

Sometimes a slight tweak can make your website inaccessible. You’re trying to open your blog post, but to your disappointment, the page can’t be found because the link is broken. You get a 404 Not found error. Don’t panic, most of the time your posts are completely safe. 

However, it can be really frustrating for users when the content they’re looking for disappears into a puff of smoke. Luckily, fixing the WordPress 404 error is pretty straightforward. 

What is the Error 404 Not Found?

When you visit a website, your browser sends a request to the web server and receives back data including an HTTP header that explains what happened with the request. If something goes wrong, the HTTP status code which will indicate the exact problem will be displayed. 

There are 2 paths that visitors take to land at a 404 on your website: 

  1. By following an internal link between pages on your site.
  2. By following an external link.

Error 404 Not Found means that the content you were trying to load could not be found on the server (e.g. a specific URL). This is a client-side error meaning that the page has been deleted or moved and the address was not updated. Some common causes of 404 errors are: 

  • A mistyped URL.
  • Caching problems.
  • An issue with your Domain Name Server (DNS) settings.
  • WordPress compatibility issues.

Error Error 404 Not Found variations

Browsers display error messages differently, and you might see one of these messages: 

  • “HTTP Error 404”
  • “Not Found”
  • “Page Not Found”
  • “The requested URL was not found on this server.”
  • “The page cannot be found”

How to monitor 404 errors

Paying attention to which requests are causing 404 errors at your site can help you to find broken links, see which pages Google is having trouble crawling, and troubleshoot performance-related issues with 404 errors. 

You can use these five tools to check for broken links on your website. 

  • If you use Google Analytics, you can set up a custom report to track 404 errors from external links.
  • WordPress Redirection plugin can help you monitor for 404 errors from your WordPress dashboard.
  • A third-party audit tool like Ahrefs can be employed to monitor for 404 errors.
  • You can track 404 errors that Google’s crawlers encounter in Google Search Console.
  • WP Broken Link Status Checker will check all of the links on your site looking for broken links.

How to fix error 404 pages on WordPress 

Finding a solution for any WordPress problem is extremely easy. WordPress 404 redirect plugins can help you handle all your 404 errors without having to manually change them. 

It can automatically redirect visitors to another relevant page and log all your 404 errors. Also, it allows you to easily create a customized 404 page. 

How to build a better 404 page

It’s impossible to completely eliminate 404 errors. However, it’s an opportunity to show some personality. The best 404 pages are humorous and make a play on the content of the company behind the website. You can get some inspiration from Hubspot and Time, Inc

The WordPress.org Plugin Repository has plenty of options for you to choose from to create your own custom Error 404 page and redirect it back to where you need it to be. 

You can add a variety of elements to your 404 pages including FAQ sections to answer customer questions, CTA buttons, etc. 

Brilliant examples of 404 pages to inspire you

You can view your error 404 pages as a chance to strengthen your relationship with your audience 

But how exactly? By having fun. 

Hopefully, your creative juices will start flowing after reviewing these examples. 

  • Hillary Clinton mocks her NYC subway struggles with fantastic 404 page

Hillary Clinton’s 404 website error page makes fun of her subway struggle. 

How to do it: Not only accept your mistake but ensure that the user has a delightful time on your website. 

  • Lego’s friendly 404 page

Lego’s 404 page is 100% on-brand, fun, and easy to understand. 

How to do it: Replace the techy stuff with normal human language. Your brand needs a human voice. 

  • IMDB – Funny 404 Page

IMDB shows visitors a movie quote on their 404 pages. 

How to do it: Make sure to maintain brand familiarity. 

  • 9gag – 404 Page Text With Call-to-Action

9gag’s 404 page has one purpose: to get you to download their app.

How to do it: Stick to a single call to action.

Parting thoughts

404 errors will happen on your site whether you like it or not. Try to make the most of a bad situation by fixing broken links, crafting an effective 404 page, and using redirects to permanently fix URLs that regularly generate 404s.

One of the most important things you can do is to give a home-page redirect so that the user doesn’t bounce from your site. Use your custom error page to convert. You can also consult some web design company in Dubai if needed.

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