Error 404! Annoying right?
Error 404 simply means that the requested page or URL is not found on the server. Whether you are a site owner or a just visitor, error 404 always annoys you.
A visitor doesn’t like it because the page or content he is looking is not found, and a site owner doesn’t like it because 404 error pages affect the website health. It also affects the search ranking to some extent as well.
Let’s explore technically, what is Error 404?
404 is an HTTP response code that indicates that a user was able to communicate with the server, but server fails to find out the specific page or URL that was requested.
For example, if you are looking for a page example.com/example.php by typing into your web browser, and if that particular page is not available on example.com. Then, you will be able to connect to example.com as the server is working fine, but server gives you an error 404 not found page because /example.php is not in any directory of example.com.
Basically, you see the default 404 page offered by the server or custom one that the site developer has made for showing when Not found error happens.
The server displays this 404 status code to you because the server is required to respond to each request made using a web browser. It shows different status codes depending upon the result it gets.
If you are a WordPress user and want to keep an eye on the error 404 not found pages, you can use Broken Link Checker Plugin, which lists all the pages that are broken, and also gives you options to quickly fix them.
Now you aware of what is error 404, and as you read above that these 404 not found pages are good for nothing. But, you can make use of them in a different manner to redirect your visitors to other pages, or offer them different resources present on your site so that they can view them as well. It is good to do something of this sort because when a visitor gets a plain 404 not found page then most probably he will close the tab, and move to some other site for looking the information he is trying to find. But, if you offer them something whenever their requested content is not found on your site, then there are chances that they may not close the site, and continue browsing different stuff.
There are many ways you can customize your 404 error page, but for WordPress users, I am listing 6 best 404 plugins that can help you get most out of your not found pages.
Without much ado, below is the list of 6 best 404 plugins for WordPress
404 Page is a WordPress plugin to create a custom design for your error 404 page. It is quite a good plugin because it creates a redirect that lets the 404 error page be in the search index as 404 status code tells search engines that this page doesn’t exist, and thus, they deindex the not found page. But, as this plugin creates a redirect, search engines don’t get 404 code. Thus, the page remains the search index.
404 plugin doesn’t create any additional server request, so there is no extra load on the server as well.
If you want a quick solution to get rid of error pages, then do use “All 404 Redirect to Homepage” plugin because it uses 301 redirections to redirect all not found pages to a home page of the site.
Many a time when a user reaches to a not found error page, then giving him a search bar is good because when he doesn’t find the content that he was looking for, then he may search for something else using the search bar.
Google 404 Plugin offers you add a search box to your site’s 404 not found pages.
This WordPress plugin allows you to choose any page and show it in place of not found error page. You can even enter a URL for 404 page. It offers good set of features such as:
- Full 404 Page Control
- Record 404 Page Data
- Custom URL Redirect
- Custom Page Redirect
- Capture Visitor Keywords that led to 404
- Clean code
- Custom Log Filters
This plugin is a very simple one that handles the 404 error pages. You can offer information on the error pages using this quickly.
6. Smart 404
This is an intelligent plugin as instead of displaying an error page to the visitors when they reach to a non-existent page, it takes them to some similar content on the site.
I love this plugin, but sad that the developer of the plugin has not updated it for more than 2 years.
Now, you know what is error 404, and how you can display something useful and valuable to your site visitors in order to hold on the site for longer.
These 6 WordPress plugins are the ones that I have used for my different projects, and found them useful.
I would like to hear from you that which plugin you are using for handling error pages?