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.
2. All 404 Redirect to Homepage
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.
3. Google 404 Plugin
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.
4. Custom 404 Pro
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
5. AskApache Google 404
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?
Hi Atish bro,
404 pages are not only annoying but also bad for SEO.
I had so many broken pages created because of some of the posts I deleted months ago. I use redirection plugin to send my traffic from broken links to any page that I decide. This plugin is very handy and offers tons of other features too.
I would like to try out the google plugin you mentioned. As search box can get users search what they want when a page is missing.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and views on this post. I am glad that you are going to use one of these tools on your blog. Share your experience here as well.
Thank you, and have a nice day.
Hello Atish Sir,
As you know my blog is just a month old and am a newbie into blogging. One day I Published my post without any title and to get it indexed in google I just added the URL into webmaster.
Later after the submission on the next day when I checked the post is Indexed or not say just a strange number instead of Post URL (.com/179?2)
I changed the URL pattern but thats when google started showing after few days error 404, after 2 days of research and guidance from few blogger friends I have installed Redirection plugin, as it show all other 404 as well and together with that even we can 301 redirect to other post, Seems to be a awesome plugin. You are more experienced as compare to me still do check once is it perfect as per your thought?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Bhai.
Merry Christmas and a very happy new year in Advance.
Thanks for sharing the problem with me here.
Yes, if it is coming as 404 error then simply redirect the old post to new one, and if you cannot do it then wait for the new URL to get indexed. You can deindex the not found link from Google using its URL remover tool which is present in the Google Webmaster tool.
Let me know if you need any help.
The New URL already got indexed but somehow into the webmaster there was a section I think crawl error their it was showing.
So de index is Safe right or we should wait after the redirect that it will be automatically dropped?
Yes, but you can deindex the old link using Removal tool as I said in the last comment.
404 error is something that start appearing on my newly under construction website
and over the the time within 15 days the number of 404 errors dramatically increased from 34 to 8978 now
and the kind of 404 URL are really unknown to me with /sleep/12345 type of format URL.
we doesn’t have any folder file or URL with sleep name even in our database or backend .
99 % of 404 URL contain sleep name in URL any help on this will really appreciated .
Thanks and Regards
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Manoj. You should keep an eye over such not found pages to keep your site healthy.
A 404 Not Found Error can mean big trouble for an online store and it’s customers. Sales and customer satisfaction will drop. It is lose-lose situation in Ecommerce.Thanks for sharing these plugins Atish!
Thank you George.
I am getting notifications from Google console about 404 page not found error for some pages which I don’t have, adding these plugin may help me to not getting these notifications?, if we redirect the 404 error to home page then we may gain visitor without losing, thanks for sharing information about these plugins which I don’t know.
I love backlink checker!! GoDaddy does not allow you to use it though, but Bluehost does.
I use 404 to 301 plugin to keep my link juice.
Happy New Year Atish,
Another useful and informative post and it its really helpful for me to comprehend and work with it.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Atish, thanks for these good ideas.
I used the broken link checker for a while; it worked well. However, I learned it was a resource hog, so I stopped using it. I have grown to depend on Google Webmaster for helping determine which links need fixing. I have also used online broken link checker. I don’t think an automated solution is good for me or for my clients. I try to tell one my clients that when she changes a link, she needs to add a redirect. So the Redirect Plugin is one that I use a lot.
I like coding 404 pages myself. It can be fun, if you have a fun idea. This one is my favorite (Lost in Space):
Thanks for the worthy set of tools to manage from 404 error.
Thanks for providing valuable information and set so some very important tools , these tools can help us up to great extend with never ending battle with 404 ghost.
I am victim of spam attack creating thousand of 404 backlinks to my website on daily basis and because of that i lost my ranking as well as traffic i got penalized by google .
What some how i regained my traffic and ranking by email outreach and google disavow tool..
Very nice and informative article. I am also facing some 404 for my site and this article really helps me to sort out this problem. Thanks again for this.
Good read. As a developer, 404 pages often go under the radar both as far as design and development goes. You’d be surprised how many times it comes to the day of ‘site launch’ and there is no 404 page!