What is a 404 error and why is it showing up?

404 error

What is a 404 error and why is it showing up on my screen?

A 404 error is an HTTP status code that means that the page you were trying to reach on a website couldn’t be found on their server. 404 errors are often caused by broken links or misconfigured servers, and they can be frustrating for website visitors because there’s usually nothing they can do but reload the page and hope it works.

For website owners, it can be very problematic because they often mean that potential customers are leaving your site without finding what they’re looking for. If you’re seeing a lot of it, it’s important to figure out why and fix the problem as soon as possible.

404 error
Image by storyset on Freepik

What causes 404 errors?

This error is an HTTP status code that means that the page you were trying to reach on a website couldn’t be found on their server. It can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • The user entered the wrong URL for a page.
  • The page has been removed or moved to a different URL.
  • The page never existed on the website’s server.

404 errors are not simply caused by “fat-fingered” typing mistakes. It can occur when you link to a page that no longer exists on your site, and it can also be caused by malware or other malicious code.

How can you fix a 404 error?

When you see a 404 error on your screen, it means that the page you were trying to reach could not be found.

There are a few different ways to fix this error, but the most common is to implement a 301 redirect.

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. When you set up a 301 redirect, any visitors who try to access the old URL will be automatically redirected to the new URL.

This is useful if you have recently moved your website to a new domain or changed the structure of your site and want to make sure that users can still find what they’re looking for.

To implement a 301 redirect, you will need to edit your .htaccess file. This file is located in the root directory of your website. If you’re not sure how to edit this file, you may need to contact your web host for assistance.

Add this syntax in the .htaccess file to implement 301 Redirect:

Redirect 301 /old-page.html http://www.example.com/new-page.html

This will tell the search engine to direct traffic from the old page to the new page.

Redirect syntax
Image by Clayton Nichols

The benefits of having a custom 404 error page

This error is a response code from a server that indicates that the page you are trying to reach cannot be found. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including when a page has been deleted or moved. While it can be frustrating to see a 404 error, there are actually some benefits to having a custom 404 error page.

For one, a custom 404 error page can help improve your website’s usability. If a user gets a 404 error, they may not know what to do next. A custom 404 error page can provide instructions on what to do or where to find the information they are looking for. This can help reduce frustration and keep users on your site longer.

Another benefit of having a custom 404 error page is that you can use it as an opportunity to promote other areas of your website.

404 Error
Image by Unblast

How to create a custom 404 error page

When you see this error on your screen, it means that the page you were trying to reach couldn’t be found. It’s important to have a custom 404 error page so that visitors know they’ve landed on the wrong page, and can find what they’re looking for elsewhere on your site.

Creating a custom 404 error page is easy to do, and only takes a few minutes. First, you’ll need to create a new file called “404.html” (or whatever you want to call it). Next, open up this file in your text editor and insert the following code:

<head><title>404 Error</title></head>
<h1>Oops! That page doesn't exist.</h1>

Use WordPress to create a 404 error page automatically

If you’re using WordPress, there’s even a plugin that will do it for you automatically.

Custom 404 pro plugin is a way to add a unique and personal touch to your site while still providing visitors with the information they need.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your custom 404 page. First, make sure that it’s user-friendly and informative. Second, consider adding a link to your home page or other popular pages on your site. And finally, don’t forget to test your page to make sure it works correctly!

Custom 404 pro
Image by Custom 404


When you type a web address into your browser, your computer sends a request to the server where that website is hosted. The server then sends back the website’s information. However, if the server can’t find the website (or web page) you requested, it will send back a 404 error.

Don’t worry, by following the tips in this article, you can easily fix it. Hope this helps you. If you found something useful, please help me share it with others. Please leave me a comment if you have an opinion. Thank you for reading.

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